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Loops & ladders bracelet

Have fun making an easy, two-needle bracelet

Let your creativity drive this project. Start with a focal bead and a handful of cylinders. Raid your old stashes to find complementary beads and seeds, and you’re ready to go. Line up your pieces for a preview, or thread beads on the fly. If you live on the edge, build the bracelet with asymmetric sides. This forgiving ladder-stitch design allows you to be creative and have fun. So let yourself go, but be sure to use long cylinder beads every two or three rows to stabilize the bracelet. Stop to test your seed counts as you link rows to ensure that the bracelet lies flat but doesn’t look too loose. 

SUPPLIES

8-in. (.2m) bracelet 

  • metal focal bead 
  • 4 metal accent beads 
  • 14 14 x 4mm cylindrical gemstone beads, new jade 
  • 6 8 x 5mm cylindrical gemstone beads, green turquoise 
  • 40 2 x 4mm gemstone beads, jade  
  • 6 4mm beads, moss agate  
  • 12 4mm Czech pressed-glass 3-sided beads  
  • 28 seed beads, size 80 matte, gold-lined  
  • 335 Japanese seed or cylinder beads
  • 10 spacers, 5mm 
  • Nymo D beading thread 
  • beeswax 
  • beading needles, #12 
  • button with shank, 5⁄8in. (16mm) to 7⁄8in.(23mm)  
  • clear glue or nail polish

Earrings 

  • 6 14 x 4mm cylindrical gemstone beads, new jade 
  • 2 8 x 5mm cylindrical gemstone beads, green turquoise
  • 4 4mm Czech pressed-glass 3-sided beads 
  • 8 4mm gemstone beads, moss agate 
  • 14 5mm spacers
  • 6 head pins 
  • 2 9mm jump rings 
  • 2 7mm jump rings
  • 2 4mm jump rings 
  • pair earring posts
  • Tools: round- and chainnose pliers, wire cutters

INSTRUCTIONS

Loops and ladders bracelet Photo A
Photo A

Start by stringing the center row, building first to one end, then the other. To make the uprights and rows lie flat, you’ll need to experiment with your bead counts. These directions produce an 8-in. (.2m) bracelet with 31 rows.

Stringing the bracelet 

1.
Cut a 4-ft. (1.2m) piece of Nymo, condition it with beeswax, and thread a needle on each end. String an agate, a spacer, a focal bead, a spacer, and an agate. Center the beads.

2. String three seed beads, a jade bead, and three seeds on both sides of the center row (PHOTO A). (A focal bead wider than the 11mm bead shown requires more seeds for the ladder to lie flat. Most 10-11mm centerpieces require five to seven seeds.)

Loops and ladders bracelet Photo B
Photo b
Loops and ladders bracelet Photo C
Photo c
3. String a Czech bead, a jade bead, an agate, a jade, and a Czech on either needle. Continue through the end seed (PHOTO B). Set this needle aside. With your second needle, go through the beads on the new row from the opposite direction, picking up the first seed you come to on the other side (PHOTO C). Add four to six seeds on each side. (The seed count depends on the width of your row.) 
Loops and ladders bracelet Figure 1
Figure 1

4. Repeat step 3 (FIGURE 1), using varied combinations of beads on each row.

Continue until you have 15 rows. If you’re changing the bracelet’s length, continue until you are about two rows shy of half the desired length. The beads for your end rung should be shorter than the other rows.

Loops and ladders bracelet Photo D
Photo d
Loops and ladders bracelet Figure 2
Figure 2

5. Make a loop of seed beads just big enough to fit around your button. I used 23 seeds for a 5⁄8-in. (16mm) button (PHOTO D). Run both threads through the loop beads and the last rung of your bracelet several times to strengthen this stress point (FIGURE 2). Tie the tails together and dab the knot with glue. Pull the ends through the nearest bead, then cut off the tails.

6. Cut and condition 4 ft. of Nymo,then thread one needle on each end. Center the first row on the thread, and make the second half of the bracelet a mirror image of the first.

Loops and ladders bracelet Photo E
Photo e
Loops and ladders bracelet Figure 3
Figure 3
7. String eight seed beads on either needle. Slide the button over the beads.Run the needle through the end row to close the loop (PHOTO E). Strengthen by running the thread through the loop and end row several times (FIGURE 3).  Tie the tails together and dab the knot with glue. Pull the ends through the nearest bead then cut the tails. 
 
Loops and ladders bracelet Photo F
Photo f
Loops and ladders bracelet Photo G
Photo g

Making the earrings 

1. String a Czech bead, a spacer, an 8 x 5mm cylinder, a spacer, a 14 x 4mm cylinder, a spacer, and a Czech bead onto a head pin. Make a wrapped loop. Make two shorter dangles using an agate, a spacer, a 14 x 4mm cylinder, a spacer, and an agate (PHOTO F).    

2. Connect the earring sections (PHOTO G). Open a 9mm jump ring. Slide on the three dangles, with the longest one in the middle. Add a 7mm ring and close the 9mm ring. Open a 4mm ring, slide on the 7mm ring and one of the posts, and close the rings. 

3. Make a second earring to match the first.

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