Bewitching braids

Go beyond the basics to make a collar of intertwining beaded braids. 
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Inspired by a 1940s necklace made of two interconnected flat four-strand braids, this necklace combines a round braid and flat braid that is daintier but still makes a unique impression.

SUPPLIES

Necklace 19 12 in. (49.5 cm)

  • hank or 30 g size 12/0 three-cut seed beads
  • hank or 20 g size 13/0 or 15/0 Charlottes
  • clasp
  • 2 ½-in. (1.3 cm) cones with 38-in. (1 cm) opening
  • 6 in. (15 cm) 20-gauge sterling silver wire, half-hard
  • DandyLine 15 lb. test or Power Pro 10 lb. test
  • beading needles, #12
  • G-S Hypo Cement
  • self-healing polyfoam board or work surface
  • T-pins
  • chainnose pliers
  • roundnose pliers
  • wire cutters

INSTRUCTIONS

Bewitching braids 01
Photo a

Preparing the strands

1. On 30 in. (76 cm) of DandyLine or Power Pro, attach a stop bead, leaving a 4-in. (10 cm) tail. 

 

2. Cut a strand of 12/0 three-cut seed beads near the top of the hank (where the strands are tied together), and transfer approximately 20 in. (51 cm) of beads to the thread in one of two ways:

  • Tie the working thread to the end of the strand of 12/0s with a square knot, and gently slide the beads from the hank to the thread.
  • Hold the end of the strand between your index and middle fingers, draping the strand of beads over your thumb. Insert your needle through the beads on the strand (PHOTO A), and slide them onto your working thread.

3. Attach a stop bead to the end of the strand, snug up the beads between the stop beads, and set it aside.

Bewitching braids 02
Photo b
Bewitching braids 03
Photo c

4. Repeat steps 1–3 to string a total of eight strands of 12/0s. 

5. Repeat steps 1–3 to string a 22-in. (56 cm) strand and four 18-in. (46 cm) strands of Charlottes.

 

6. Cut two 3-in. (7.6 cm) pieces of wire, and make a wrapped loop at one end of each. 

 

7. Gather one end of each of the four 18-in. (46 cm) strands of Charlottes. Without removing the stop beads, tie the strands together with a square knot, and then tie the group to one of the wrapped loops (PHOTO B) with a surgeon’s knot. Dot the knot with glue, and let it dry. Trim the tails within ¼ in. (6 mm) of the knot.

8. Repeat step 7 with the remaining strand of Charlottes and the strands of 12/0s (PHOTO C). If you wish, separate the 12/0s into two groups of four strands each before tying them.

Bewitching braids 04
Figure 1
Bewitching braids 05
Figure 2
Braiding and finishing

1. Using a T-pin, secure the wrapped loop with the attached strands to a work surface or a polyfoam board. Pin the 22-in. (56 cm) strand and the strands of 12/0s to the side. Spread out the four 18-in. (46 cm) strands. To begin the round four-strand braid, set up the strands as follows:
  • Cross the second strand over the third strand and under the fourth strand, and cross the third strand over the first strand (FIGURE 1).
  • Cross the first strand over the fourth strand (FIGURE 2).
Bewitching braids 06
Figure 3
Bewitching braids 07
Figure 4

2. To work the round braid, cross the far left strand behind the next two strands. Come out between the two right-hand strands, and cross back over the second strand from the right. It is now the inside-left strand (FIGURE 3)

3. Cross the far right strand behind the next two strands on the left. Come out between the two left-hand strands, and cross back over the second strand from the left. It is now the inside-right strand (FIGURE 4).

Bewitching braids 08
Photo d
Bewitching braids 09
Photo e
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the length of the strands. You may need to release some tension in each strand as you work by sliding the stop bead at the end away from the braid a bit. Don’t release too much tension, though, or the thread will show.

5. Test the length of the braid, and add or remove beads if necessary.

 

6. Tie the ends with a square knot and then tie them to the remaining wrapped loop with a surgeon’s knot (PHOTO D). Dot with glue, and let it dry. Trim the tails within ¼ in. (6 mm) of the knot.

 

7. So that your finished necklace will lie nicely, pin the round braid to your work surface in the shape your necklace will be, taking into consideration the length of the clasp and the cones you’ll be using (PHOTO E).

Bewitching braids 10
Photo f
Bewitching braids 11
Photo g

8. Separate the eight strands of 12/0s into two groups of four strands each. Position the 22-in. (56 cm) strand of Charlottes between the round braid and the strands of 12/0s (PHOTO F)

9. Cross the left-hand group of strands over the middle group (PHOTO G). Try to keep the groups of four strands flat as you work the braid.

Bewitching braids 12
Photo h
Bewitching braids 13

10. Pass the single strand through the nearest loop on the round braid (PHOTO H), and then cross it over the middle group (PHOTO I).

Bewitching braids 15
Photo j
Bewitching braids 14
Photo k
11. Cross the left-hand group over the single strand in the middle (PHOTO J)

12. Cross the right-hand group over the middle group (PHOTO K).
Bewitching braids 16
Photo l

13. Continue braiding for the length of the round braid. Each time the single strand of Charlottes is on the right, pass it through the nearest loop of the round braid. When you reach the end, tie each group of strands with a square knot, and then tie the groups to the wrapped loop. Dot the knots with glue, and trim.

 

14. Slide a cone onto the wire above one of the wrapped loops. Make the first half of a wrapped loop, attach one half of the clasp (PHOTO L), and finish the wraps. Repeat on the other end of the necklace. 

FIND MORE: necklaces , seed beads , stringing

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