The Lazy Beader: Bracelet Making Without a Clasp

Aug 15, 2014

Yes, it's time for my first installment of The Lazy Beader. I mean, when you think about it, it's sort of a contradiction in terms, right off the start. I can't think of any beaders who are actually lazy -- beading takes a ton of time and skill, am I right? It's taken me almost fourteen years to get to the point where I am now with my bead artistry, but still...

Sometimes, I just want to be lazy.

A few weeks ago, I special ordered a couple of strands of these tiny rudraksha beads for a custom set of mala (prayer) beads. The customer decided that they were too small (and I wholeheartedly agreed), so they sat on my work table for a couple of days. On my way out to a yoga class one evening, I was looking for something pretty to put on my wrists, and my eyes fell on those two strands of rudraksha beads. They had tassels. They were already strung.

So what did this lazy beader do?

You betcha! I picked up those two strands of beads, wrapped 'em around my wrist, and headed out the door with my brand new beaded "bracelets". I got so many comments on them after class that evening, I felt that I had to 'fess up. I took them off and showed everyone that they were really just a couple of strands of beads that I had wrapped around my wrist, and nothing more. (For long-term use, I don't actually recommend wearing these kinds of pre-strung beads, since you never know what they're strung on, or how sturdy the stringing material is.)

But it made me think. It was one of those "ah-ha!" moments when I realized that if I wanted to make some cool, cute bracelet making projects, I didn't need to do a whole lot of intricate, over-the-top beading and embellishment. Want to make an easy bracelet making project that looks like it took weeks to finish?

1. Measure. To ensure a successful fit, make a fist and measure the widest part -- usually around the thumb and the knuckles. You want to make sure that your beaded bracelet fits over that part of your hand! If you want your bracelet to wrap around your wrist more than once, multiply that number by however many inches you got from your measurement, and subtract about half an inch.

2. Choose a stitch. My preferred beading stitch for this type of "lazy" bracelet making project is tubular herringbone stitch, done with a four-stack base. It's quick, it's easy, and it looks absolutely amazing when I work it up with a tube of my favorite cylinder beads. Feeling a little more adventurous? Try using smaller size 15/0 seed beads, or use another super-fast stitch like spiral rope.

3. Choose your beads. If you want a slender yet bold wrap around bracelet, try using 11/0 cylinder beads in deep, rich dark colors like black, gunmetal, or even dark jewel tones. You can use metallic finish seed beads for a more glamorous beaded bracelet, or maybe go for a more ethnic feel with Czech striped seed beads. Experiment with your colors! Be adventurous! Switch colors halfway through your beaded rope, or work stripes of colors as you stitch.

4. Secure the ends together. Depending on what stitch you're using, there are many ways to do this. If you're using tubular herringbone stitch, you can pass back and forth between the two ends several times until you've created a strong connection. If you're using something like tubular right-angle weave, you can zip up the ends using right-angle weave. Or for spiral rope, try adding a small focal bead and use that to facilitate passes back and forth between the ends of your rope.

These kinds of easy bracelet making projects are just so much fun, and really allow me to experiment with texture and color. There's no way to get them wrong! And when I just want something pretty and fun to wear on my wrist, they're just so easy. No fuss, no clasps, and they go on in just a few seconds!

Now, if you're looking for another quick and beautiful way to adorn your wrist, check out the new Princess Kate Bracelet Kit, designed by bead artist Cristie Prince. This sleek and stunning beaded bracelet making project uses Tila beads and cup chain in an innovative design, worthy of anyone's inner princess. Plus, when you order the kit, you'll also get a copy of our digital eBook, Stitching With Shaped Beads: 10 Beaded Projects to Make with Bugle Beads. You'll find the complete instructions for the Princess Kate Bracelet, plus nine more bugle bead projects from some of your favorite bead artists and designers. Get your Princess Kate Bracelet Kit today and make yourself a little something beautiful.

Do you have a favorite "lazy" bracelet making technique? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your ideas with us!

Bead Happy,


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cefocht wrote
on Aug 15, 2014 10:58 AM

Jennifer, I enjoy reading your daily blogs.  I had just done almost the exact same thing 2 nights ago. Yesterday I couldn't wait to get to beading group to share with a friend my "no clasp" superduo bracelet! Funny how we all sit and create similar things from different parts of the US and the world for that matter. Please keep on sharing.

DebZ@5 wrote
on Aug 15, 2014 9:14 PM

Jennifer, you can also connect the ends of spiral rope seamlessly by making three additional stitches using the first three core beads of your rope.  None of my spiral ropes have clasps or focal beads.

MaryH@172 wrote
on Aug 18, 2014 6:33 PM

I truely believe the magic of beading for me happens when something looks way harder than it is to make.

My favorite quick bracelet uses the backstitch spiral (I think this is the spiral rope DebZ@5 was talking about too).  If you use 8's for the center, you can use just about anything for the back stitches.  I love using crystals and daggers in the back stitches.  These are very exciting, and take less than an hour to make.  

I usually use a clasp because my wrist is much smaller than my knuckles, and the continuous bangle droops so low it makes me crazy.  However, I think the continuous is much prettier without the clasp.