There's not a single beader I know who doesn't have a whole drawer full of little bags and boxes of leftover bits and pieces and beads from past beading projects. They just sort of accumulate when we're not paying attention, and pretty soon you find yourself staring at an entire collection of mismatched beads. Recently when I started cleaning out my upstairs bead stash (yes, my bead stash has officially become so huge that it requires two locations on different floors of our tiny little house), I discovered an entire enormous drawer full of these "oprhan" beads, and I decided that I needed to create something beautiful with them, and I looked for a cool bracelet making project that I could whip up over the weekend.
Beth Kraft's Collage Bracelet is the perfect solution for what to do with all those leftover bits and pieces that find their way into the bottom of your bead stash. Surprise yourself -- why not mix up a bunch of beads that you wouldn't usually combine, and see what happens? Art should be about play!
Collage Bracelet by Beth Kraft
- 20 g total size 11 cylinder beads in assorted colors
- Assorted size 15, 11, and 8 seed beads
- 10 size 1 (3mm) bugle beads
- Assorted accent beads, 3 - 10 mm (can be pressed glass, vintage, fire polished, small lampwork, etc.)
- 1 orange and clear 12 - 15 mm vintage glass bead
- 2 plastic 8 mm vintage hexagon donuts
- 1 sterling silver 22 mm slide lock clasp (bar-end tube clasp)
- FireLine 6 lb. beading thread
- Thread conditioner
- Size 12 beading needle
Step 1: Clasp start. Use 6' of conditioned thread and cylinder beads to peyote-stitch a strip 10 beads wide (or the width of the clasp) and 38 rows long, leaving an 8" tail and creating color patterns or working colors at random. Pass through the last two rows again to reinforce and exit from the third bead at one edge; set the working thread aside.
Step 2: Wrap the start of the strip around the bar of one half of the clasp. Use the tail thread to stitch the first row back onto the strip to create a seamless tube that fits snugly around the bar. Weave through the beads several times to reinforce. Secure the tail thread and trim.
Step 3: Small tube. Peyote-stitch a strip that is 10 cylinder beads wide and 8 rows long. Stitch the first and last rows together to form a small tube. Secure the thread and trim.
Clasp To Tube: Using the thread from the clasp strap, string about 1" of accent beads and pass through the third bead near one end of the small tube; continue passing through the same row of beads to exit the third bead at the other end of the tube. String accent beads to match the length of the first strand; pass through the last row of the clasp strap and through the first strand again (Figure 1a). Weave through the beads to exit the opposite side of the tube.
Donuts: String 10 size 15 seed beads and 1 hexagon donut; pass through the same bead you last exited from the tube to form a loop. Pass through the loop again to reinforce. Keeping within the same row, weave through the beads to the other edge and repeat for a second donut (Figure 1b). Pass through the second strand and into the clasp end to secure the thread. Trim.
Step 4: Large tube. Use 2' of thread to peyote-stitch a strip 12 cylinder beads wide and 28 rows long. Stitch the first and last rows together to form a large tube for the center of the bracelet. Secure the thread and trim. Set aside.
Step 5: Large rectangle. Work a strip 10 cylinder beads wide and 21 rows long, leaving an 8" tail. Pass through the second-to-last row to reinforce and exit from the third bead of the last row.
Donuts: String 10 size 15 seed beads, and pass through one of the donuts from Step 3; form a loop as before, then weave through the last row of the strip to connect the second donut (Figure 2a). Weave through the beads several times to reinforce; secure the thread in the strip and trim.
Rectangle To Tube: Use the tail thread to string 5 size 15 seed beads, 3/4" of accent beads, and 5 size 15 seed beads. Pass back through the first two rows of the strip to form a wide loop. Pass through the 5 size 15 seed beads and accent beads again. String 8 size 15 seed beads and enough accent beads to reach through the large tube, then string the tube to cover the beads. String 8 size 15 seed beads and pass through the first set of accent beads to form another loop (Figure 2b). Pass through both loops several times to reinforce; secure the thread in the small rectangle and trim.
Step 6: Window strip. Use 3' of thread and cylinder beads to peyote-stitch a strip 2" wide and 3 rows long. Pass the strip through the large tube and stitch the ends together to form a loop (Figure 3a). Continue working 5 rows of peyote stitch, 10 beads wide.
Window Panes: Work a column 2 cylinder beads wide and 28 rows long. Weave back through the column and to the opposite edge of the base and work a matching column. String 6 cylinder beads to connect the columns; continue working 4 rows, 10 cylinder beads wide (Figure 3b). Weave back through one third of the second column. String 6 cylinder beads and pass into the corresponding bead of the opposite column to form a bridge. Work 2 rows off the bridge, then weave down another third and repeat for a second bridge (Figure 3c).
Step 7: Clasp end. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for the other half of the clasp. At the center of the last row, ladder-stitch 7 bugle beads and attach the last one to the end of the window strip. Weave back through the beads and stitch 2 bugles on each side of the first 2 bugles. Stitch a strand of beads on each side of the bugle bead strip (Figure 4).
Step 8: Embellishments. Use assorted accent and seed beads to embellish the bracelet. Make small fringe in the center of the rectangles; create a strand of beads that incorporates the large vintage glass bead down the center of the columned section; and sew strands of beads randomly to the bracelet. Secure the thread and trim.
Looking for a new beading project to challenge your skills and maybe add a new piece to your jewelry box? If you loved the Narcis Pendant on the cover of the June/July 2014 issue of Beadwork
magazine, you can find the complete kits for this cubic right-angle weave project in two stunning color ways available now in the Beading Daily Shop
! And if you're new to cubic right-angle weave or just want a little extra guidance as you make this piece, check out the Beadwork Magazine Project Workshop
video download with Melinda Barta for this cool project!
Do you have a favorite beading project for using up those never-ending boxes and baggies of leftover beads? Leave a comment here and share it with us!