I've made many pieces of beaded jewelry that dazzle my eyes, tease my brain, and test my neck strength. But I have to admit, when it comes to accessorizing, my go-to wearable these days is a humble, flat, peyote-stitched band. I love this style of bracelet for its simple elegance. They look great with just about any outfit and they're so quick and easy to make, you can to create array of colors for your jewelry box.
Stitching up a band of peyote, brick, or square stitch is often the first thing that beaders learn to do. But once the piece is made, there's often a "What now?" moment. How does one get the beadwork onto one's wrist? There are lots of ways to make a bracelet out of a beadworked strip, but here's one way that you might not have seen before that employs a ribbon crimp. What's a ribbon crimp? Here's a photo of one style:
It's a metal finding that has a bunch of little teeth along its edge which are meant to bite into ribbon or leather or, in our case, a strip of beadwork. The one in this photo is extra fancy because it's got a clasp and extender chain connected to it, but you can also purchase these findings plain.
So, to make a bracelet with one of these findings, you'll first stitch a piece of beadwork that is the exact same width as the crimp. Make it long enough to reach your desired length minus the length of the clasp.
Because we're going to be clamping the beadwork with the metal, I'd recommend reinforcing the ends with lots of thread passes, then add some acrylic floor polish to the area that will be crimped. (It doesn't hurt to do the whole strip, but do a test patch first to make sure the polish looks okay on the beads you've used; it can tend to make things a little shiny.)
Next, use flat-nose pliers to VERY GENTLY close the crimp over the end of the beadwork. Now remember, beads are glass, so you don't want to squeeze so hard that you break your beads! Just squeeze enough to cover the beads and let the teeth slightly bite into the threads between them.
If you'd like some extra security, squeeze a little bit of jeweler's glue (like GS Hypo Cement) into the fold. It's that simple!
What's your favorite way to finish off a beadworked strip? Please share your ideas here, on the Inside Beadwork blog.
Senior editor, Beadwork magazine