Fashion trends come and go, but elastic bracelets remain popular because they are versatile and easy to wear. They are also easy to make, and they can last for a long time if you follow these tips.
Start by making your stretch bead bracelets with good quality elastic cord meant for jewelry making. Do not buy an elastic cord meant for sewing or other crafts.
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Don't Use Elastic That's Too Thin
The most popular sizes of elastic cord for making bracelets is 0.7 mm or 1 mm elastic cord, but selecting one depends on the weight of the beads and the size of the hole.
For seed bead bracelets, 0.5 mm elastic cord works great. Thinner elastic cord can stretch out more quickly with heavier beads unless you use a double strand.
Cut a piece of cord the size of your bracelet, plus leave yourself at least three inches of elastic on each side to tie your knots. The cord is slippery and nothing is worse than having everything exactly like you want it, and then dropping the end during tying.
String your beads on the elastic while it is on the spool, or use a bead stopper to avoid having the beads slip off the cord.
Pre-stretch your cord by pulling on each end before stringing. This is a really important step.
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Don't Use Crimp Beads With Elastic Stretch Cord
The surgeon's knot is the most reliable knot for elastic bracelets. A surgeon's knot is a square knot (also known as a reef knot) with an extra loop through. The extra loop helps keep the knot from slipping. You can add an extra half knot on top of the surgeon's knot just in case.
Never use crimp beads with elastic.
Some people try this, but it never lasts long because metal cuts elastic, and there's no changing that. A correctly tied knot will last better in the long run.
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To make a long-lasting elastic bracelet, follow these other tips:
- Stretch your cord before stringing any beads. Your bracelet will stay the right size and won't stretch out leaving gaps between the beads.
- Make your bracelet the correct size. A seven-inch bracelet made with 12 mm beads is smaller than a seven-inch bracelet made with 4 mm beads. The larger beads will take away from the inside diameter of the bracelet. String them and then try it on your wrist to check for size.
- Tie your knot with some tension in the bracelet. In other words, pull the elastic so it is taut and just a little stretched when adding the second half of the knot. The extra tension from the inside helps keep the knot from untying.
- Tighten your knot from all sides. Pull the top two ends to tighten the knot, pull from the beaded side, pull the left loose end and the right beaded end and vice versa.
- After cutting the elastic cord, add a dab of glue to the knot. Super glue or E6000 jewelry glue are two that work well. Some people think that super glue can erode the elastic over time. E6000 stays flexible so it is probably a better choice.
- If possible, cover your knot. This makes your elastic bracelet look nicer, but also protects the knot from wear caused by rubbing between two beads.
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Don't Stretch Your Bracelet to Put It On
How you care for your elastic bracelet is just as important as how you make it. Follow these tips to make them last:
- Always put your elastic bracelet on the right way. This is one of the main factors in bracelets that don't last. Never put on your bracelet by stretching it over your hand. As much as possible, roll it over your hand without excessive pulling.
- Keep the bracelet away from soap, perfumes, hair and skin products, sunscreen, salt water, etc. Many of the products we use every day can degrade the quality of the elastic over time.