Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tutorial on How to Make a Stretchy Bracelet More Durable

By on Saturday, March 14, 2015 8 Comments

I am not really fond of stretchy bracelets. You know, the kind where you use beading elastic.  They do eventually break and have to be restrung. I inevitably change over to beading wire at first opportunity!  However, I changed my mind after seeing the tutorial by Jennifer VanBenschoten over on Beading Daily.  Her way of making a stretchy bracelet more durable as well as her tips all make sense.

She uses a doubled up length of elastic with only 2 ends to deal with. This is a good thing because if you use 2 lengths of elastic, you'd have 4 ends!

Her instructions are for a tasseled mala bracelet. If tassels are not your thing, then this tutorial still works if you substitute the tassel for a charm or a bead.

Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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  1. Wow, thanks. That is a great help. I, too, am one of those who refuses to make stretchy bracelets. However, I may give this one a go. (I still have some stretchy cord I can utilize.

    1. Me, too! Otherwise the stretchy cord I have is going to languish forever!

  2. I thought this was a fun project!

    Over on the tutorial are lots of hints and tips from readers/beaders.

    They suggest pulling the stretchy cord a number of times before starting to bead so that it doesn't stretch out later from the weight of the beads.

    One gal even suggests using a crimp cover over your glued knot. I thought that was an excellent suggestion!

    One thing I did think of is that you have to use big-holed beads for some of the size of elastic that you are going to use. Otherwise it's just not going to fit into the beads. This could be a problem....does thin elastic work just as well doubled up? Hmmmm........

    1. The size of the holes will dictate what size elastic to use. I think that even thinner elastic doubled up is a whole lot better than when it is used singularly.

  3. It looks like the tutorial is using gossamer floss - which I find always wears out and frays eventually. I prefer Stretch Magic and, unfortunately, there are very few beads that will accept a doubled length of 1 mm stretch magic. I have never had problems with a single length of cord and a surgeon's knot slipping as long as I pre-stretch the cord, keep some tension in the elastic (i.e. it is slightly pulling when the knot is done), pull the knot tight from all sides, and add a drop of glue. Most important to durability is to roll the bracelet on and not pull it up and stretch it out over your hand. It's a pretty bracelet design.

    1. I agree with you, Stretch Magic works better. I would use 0.5 mm. It is stronger if it is doubled up. Love your tips, Lisa - especially the part about rolling on the bracelet! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I tried every el cheapo brand of stretch elastic, found they're all awful, and finally tried Stretch Magic. It's the best! I went to Lacy's in Toronto on Thursday to buy more and they're on back order. So far I haven't had to double it -- I prefer 1mm but have also used the 7 mm with smaller-holed beads. You might have some reject beads, but I've been able to get that through most small-holed beads on a string. Pre-stretching is absolutely essential, along with keeping a very slight tension so the bracelet isn't floppy especially with 6mm or smaller beads and rolling the bracelet on, as Lisa says. I use a big hole metal spacer bead at the "back" of the bracelet or two of them on either side of a focal bead to hide the knots.

    1. Thanks Barbara, for confirming that Stretch Magic is a good brand. I didn't know they made the 0.7 mm version. Great tip on the large hole spacer bead.