This post was originally written for Art Jewelry Elements, but I thought I’d share it here too, in case you missed it earlier.
A few years ago I took a mini class from Erin Seigel on making knotted waxed linen earrings and I’ve been a knotty girl ever since. I love the huge range of colors and the tactile feel of the linen as I make the knots. Today I’m I sharing a tutorial for a knotted holiday bracelet.
I shared a button loop bracelet tutorial in the past, but it was made with flexible jewelry stringing wire. The purpose of this tutorial is not necessarily to help you end up with a bracelet just like this, but rather to share with you some hints or tips that will help you work with waxed linen, whether you make a bracelet like this in other colors or whether you use these techniques in earrings or necklaces. So, let’s get started.
Waxed linen comes in different thickness or plies. The linen I’m using in this bracelet is 4 ply, which is what I usually use. You can choose to use a neutral or coordinating color or try out bright contrasting colors. In this case I’m using 4 ply black.
- About 35 inches 4 ply waxed linen in the color of your choice
- 3-4 focal beads
- 1 button (in this tutorial I’m using a button with a shank).
(The ceramic flower bead is by Lesley Watt of Thea Elements. The faceted ceramic red bead is by Michelle McCarthy of Fire Fly Design Studio. All other ceramic beads are mine.
- Size 6-8 seed beads or 4 mm fire polish or round beads
- A handful of various other beads, medium and small size, with holes large enough to accommodate one pass of the linen (I only ended up choosing a few of what you see below.)
1. Thread on a dozen or so seed beads or 4 mm beads. Fold the cording in half and center the beads on the fold. Pinch the working ends of the cord together and see if the loop you’ve formed will fit around the button, You want it to fit snugly, but not tight. Adjust the number of beads in your loop, if needed, to get the right fit.
2. Tie an overhand knot at the base of the loop.
*Hint – Waxed linen is a pretty forgiving material if you go slow with it. Make your overhand knot, but tighten it slowly. You want the knot as close to the base of the loop as possible. If it is too far away, you can loosen it up and re-position it so it will be closer to the base of the loop. It’s easy to loosen and re-position a knot as long as you haven’t completely tightened it. But once it is pulled tight, it is unlikely that you will be able to loosen it. So go slowly and pay attention to where the knot will be landing.
3. Now string on the focal beads. You can knot between each one or just place a knot at the end of this grouping, as I have done.
4. Now separate the 2 cords and string 1 of your smaller beads onto each cord and tie an overhand knot after each small bead.
5. Continue to add beads to each thread. You can knot after every bead or after small groupings of beads. I’m doing a bit of both. If your bead has a large hole, like the red cube bead above, the knot may just slip inside the hole. To prevent that, you can use a smaller spacer bead next to the hole, (see below).
Another way to compensate for an over-large hole is to make a grouping of beads, with smaller beads on each end, as I did with the large-holed green tube bead, above.
6. Continue adding beads and knotting until your bracelet is the length you want. When using larger beads, as I have, you need to make a longer bracelet, as the beads stand off of your wrist, increasing the circumference. Drape the bracelet around your wrist to see how it is fitting. Remember, you can always add more beads, but once knotted, you cannot subtract beads and you would have to start all over from the beginning.
7. When you’ve reached your desired length, bring both linen cords together and tie an overhand knot.
8. Take one cord and pass it through the button shank from left to right. Pass the other cord through from right to left.
9. Pull these two cords in opposite directions until the button is close to the knot you made at the end of the bracelet. Wrap the two cords in opposite directions around the space right above the knot. Tie them in a knot and then wrap them around to the other side and make a knot there, too. Dab the knot with a touch of glue and trim the cord ends.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial. If you make something following these directions, I’d love to see it. You can tag me on Facebook. Enjoy!
I am always delighted to read your comments! Hope to hear from you.
Many Thanks Linda for this wonderful tutorial! Your instructions and images are clear and easy to understand. I was able to create a bracelet, followed by many more, using your technique. Thanks for sharing what you know.
Wishing you continued success in all you do,
LuAnn in Oregon
You can view one of the bracelets I made using your technique here: