Arm Yourself in Sparkles

64 Arts

Of all the jewelry I own, bracelets are the least practical for daily wear. For the most part they’re best left for dressing up when all you have to do is pose prettily.

Think about it:

  • Bangles clatter and jangle against each other
  • Charm bracelets snag on delicate skirts and fluffy sweaters
  • and practically all of them become uncomfortable when you spend 9 hours a day typing on a computer keyboard!

Ribbon and bead cuff with daisies

Which is why I’ve lately become enamored of cuffs. Cuff bracelets tend to be low-profile, especially on the underside of the wrists, which is good for typing and they stay put perfectly. The trick, it seems, is to find ones that fit correctly but that’s easy enough to do if you make it yourself.

You know there was going to be a project, right?

Beaded Daisy Cuff

What you’ll need:

  • Cuff form
  • Ribbon
  • Straight pins
  • Needle and thread (regular and beading)
  • Beads
  • Fray check (or other seam sealer)
Starting the ribbon weaving for the cuff Draw out a long length of ribbon (a yard or a bit more) and loop it through the center of the frame. Weave one end in and out around the frame a few wraps and then secure it with a pin before continuing.
Wrapping the ends of the cuff frame At each end wrap the ribbon around the curved bit before weaving in the final stripe. Pin it secure and then stitch along the curve to keep the ends in place. Dot the knots with seal sealer as well as the cut end of the ribbon to keep things from fraying. Repeat on the other end.
Adding the beaded daisy to the cuff Now, this is a pretty enough cuff on it’s own but I wanted to make something a little more decorative so I added 4 beaded daisies scattered along the length. 

Each daisy starts with an e-bead center, 5 petals of 2 seed and 2 bugle beads each and 3 pollen clusters made of 5 very tiny beads.

With the edging and cluster beading Still not enough and not entirely happy about the shifting of the ribbons along the frame, I added a line of beads along the perimeter of the cuff, just inside the frame. Stitching every 4th bead with a backstitch helps the entire thing hold together. (Make sure to leave spaces for the daisy petals that overlap the outer edges, otherwise the petals with scrunch together.)

Finally I added a cluster of 3 beads between each flower to finish the cuff. Trim all waste threads as close as possible and dot all  knots with seam sealer to prevent losing any beads as you wear it.

Having the frame made this a quick project. Another option is to use bracelet-sized memory wire (it comes in oval, too, which is great for cuffs–I’ll be experimenting with that later) and make your own frame, either spacing the ends apart by a beaded bar or joining them in points at the end with interlocked loops. Using ribbon for the body of the cuff means this bracelet isn’t going to be scratchy against sensitive skin.

From Rings to Ropes

64 Arts

Not only did they differentiate between ear ornaments and necklaces, they didn’t even put the two one after the other. As much as I like going in order, it makes more sense (to me, at least) to go straight into the rest of the jewelry world and skip slightly ahead to…


The 19th Art: Jewelry

These are of two kinds: necklaces ornamented with jewels or ornaments worn around the hips, used mostly for the theater.

Well, I think there’s a whole lot more to jewelry than necklaces and hip belts–more than two types of necklaces even!

First there’s length: do you want to wear a snug, choker-style or one that drapes just to that delicate hollow at the base of your throat. There’s also longer lengths and what will look best depends on your own size plus the neckline of the shirt or dress you’re wearing.

Next is style: chain links or beaded (or both)? single-stranded or multi? focal bead or pendant (or neither)? There are everyday necklaces that go with everything, artsy necklaces you wear when you want to be noticed or make a statement and the fancy stuff that comes out on special occasions.

And then there’s the details like colors and materials and all sorts of other things that determine whether this necklace goes with that outfit or your mood.

I’ve got a few projects to show you over the next couple of weeks (including a hip-belt! they’re not just for the theater!) but if you just can’t wait, check out these articles I wrote during my eHow days:

How to Do Viking Chain Knitting: this method of weaving chain makes impressive necklaces and gives you something to do with all those leftover allen wrenches from your last IKEA purchase.

How to Crochet with Wire and Beads: shows you the basics of forming beaded crochet bracelets and a bonus earring pattern that I designed by accident but love to wear.

How to Bead on a Loom: you might find the loom in the kids’ crafts section of the store, but there are some amazing bracelets, necklaces and more than can be made with it that are far from child’s play.