Stretch Bracelets

When we were at the Straw Market in Nassau in December, my husband and I bought our daughter a bracelet.  It was inexpensive, strung on elastic thread, but pretty and in colors she likes.  I wore it the rest of the day so I wouldn’t lose it.  And maybe a little because I liked it.

We gave it to her when we got home.  The very first time she tried to slide it over her hand it broke.  Luckily, she had already memorized the bead pattern (she’s funny like that), so she wrote it down and stuck it in a paper cup with the beads.  I promised I’d fix it – I just didn’t say when.  Apparently a couple of months was the right amount of time to wait.

When I finally dumped it onto my worktable, I realized I didn’t have any elastic beading cord that would fit in the tiny holes of the beads.  Since I almost never go to the craft store (what is that keyboard symbol for sarcasm again?), I had to pick some up the next day.  That’s when it became clear that since I didn’t own any, I didn’t have a clue how to use elastic beading cord.

I restrung my daughter’s bracelet, but since I had so much cord left, I played around a little.  I learned a few things about working with this product that I thought I’d share.

To make a stretch bracelet, you’ll need elastic beading cord.  The brand I bought is Stretch Magic, but from what I’ve read it doesn’t seem to make a big difference.  It comes in different sizes, so be sure it will fit through your beads.  You’ll also need glue.  I read in a couple of different places not to use super glue because it doesn’t play well with the elastic cord.  I went with some E-6000.

Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 1
Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 1

Cut the elastic 4” longer than you want the finished bracelet to be.  Give the cord a few good stretches.  String the beads on, clipping the end with a binder clip so they don’t slip off.  I used 1 mm cord and found it was a little large for some of my beads.  To solve the problem I cut the end of the cord at an angle so I was able to get the pointy tip through and pull it from the other side.

Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 2
Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 2

This is where I was a little stumped.  I didn’t know how to finish the thing, and the knots I tried to tie immediately came out.  After some searching, I watched this video.  I used several square knots as instructed.  Stretching the cord between each knot makes all the difference. 

Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 3
Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 3

I added just a dab of the E-6000 glue to the knot and let it dry overnight.  I can’t say how it will hold up long term, but right now I can stretch it to my heart’s content and it doesn’t seem to want to budge.

Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 4
Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 4

I also wanted to try this with crimp beads.  If you’re not familiar with them, they’re just a small metal tube that you squish with pliers to hold jewelry cord ends in place.  I found mixed advice on whether or not to use them with Stretch Magic.  Some people feel they would gradually cut through the elastic, but others, like Fusion Beads, seem to be using them with success.

I strung the beads on as before, but fed both ends of the elastic through the crimp bead. 

Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 5
Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 5

I pulled the elastic as tight as I could through the bead, then crushed it with a pair of pliers.

Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 6
Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 6

I made two other bracelets using crimp beads, and everything seemed to be working out well until I tried to slide one of them onto my wrist to take a photo.  The crimp didn’t cut through the cord, the cord slid out of the bead.

Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 7
Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 7

Problem solved by putting it back together and adding a bit of the glue around the crimp.  In the future I’ll just stick with the knots.

Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 8
Stretch Bracelets - Crafty Staci 8

I don’t know yet how much I can trust these stretchy bracelets, but for now they’re fun to make and wear.  I’ll just hope that should a knot decide to untie or a crimp eat through the cord that I’m in a place I can retrieve my beads and start over.  Or walk away quickly.