Simple multistrand: When you don’t want to mess with a good thing

flat multistrand

I picked up a small hank of these simple and earthy mixed seed beads at one of our local bead shops. I loved the texture that the mix of sizes and colors offered, the blend of earth tones with pops of turquoise. But the hank sat around for months because I could figure out what to do. Stitch them? Make a thin simple strung necklace?

Eventually I realized that you don’t mess around with what’s already working: I loved the way these beads looked on the hank because the small strung bundle captured the best features of the mix — the variety of colors and sizes and the texture of them hanging freely together. The hank was just about the right size for a bracelet, so that’s what it became.

Multistrands aren’t quite as simple as they look: You’d think you just need to restring the beads, but you do need to make a few decisions first. What do you want the final length of the bracelet to be? Do you want it loose and dangly or neat and orderly? Should all the strands be exactly the same length, or do you want a bit of variety so they’ll layer and overlap? Should the clasps be unobtrusive or a centerpiece? Do you want the ends to gather or lay somewhat flat?

I went with a slight variation in length in a loose bracelet that was primarily flat with an unobtrusive clasp —basically, I wanted it to look like I’d just wrapped the hank around my wrist. Casual and earthy.

Casual multistrand bracelet

Materials:

  • 1 small hank mixed seed beads
  • 1 multi strand slide clasp (4 strand)
  • size 10 beading needle
  • strong but thin and flexible beading thread, such as Dandyline, silamide or Fireline

Instructions:

  1. Measure your wrist and add 1 1/2 in. (3.1 cm)—this is the length of your bracelet. Double this length and add 6 in. (10 cm) — this is the length of the thread for all your strands. If you are using sharp beads, triple the length of the thread so you can add another pass for security.
  2. Attach a stop bead to your thread and string a few beads. Go through a loop on your clasp and back through the strung beads. Continue stringing until you are 1/4 in. (.5 cm) short of your desired length, and pick up the corresponding loop on the other end of the clasp. Go through a few beads and check the length by clasping the bracelet. Adjust as needed by adding or removing beads.
  3. Continue back through the beads and the opposite clasp loop. If you are working with a shorter thread, tie of the ends using a few half-hitch knots and trim. If you are using the triple-length thread, go all the way back through the beads and the other clasp loop again (so there are two threads on each clasp loop), then secure both ends with half hitch knots and trim.
  4. Repeat steps 2 through 4 working across your clasp one loop at a time, then follow the same steps to add additional rows.

multistrand bracelet sharp fade

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