Beads & Chains Bracelet (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.

Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

In this tutorial, the beads are strung on round metal wire instead of beading wire.

Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

If you like jewelry with structure, you’ll appreciate how the bead and wirework portion of this bracelet holds its curved shape firmly.

Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

I’ve used three strands of chain here, but you may want to make your bracelet more dramatic and edgy with lots more chain!

Supplies:

  • Multiple flat beads of any size, measuring approximately 3″ (76mm) total length.
    Make sure the holes in your beads will accommodate a piece of 18 or 20 gauge round wire.
    I’m using 3 round flat (coin-shaped) beads (acrylic with gold plating), each about 1″ (25mm) in diameter.
  • Size 6/0 seed beads – enough to place one seed bead on each side of each the larger beads.
    (The seed beads create little “joints” between the larger beads, making it easier to curve your wire around your mandrel.)
    I used 4 black 6/0 seed beads.
  • Round soft wire, 18 or 20 gauge – approximately 6″ (152mm) long.
    (I’m using 18 gauge Artistic Wire, in “Antique Brass” color.)
  • Chain of your choice.
    I’m using antiqued brass round cable chain, 4x5mm size; 3 strands, each 2.75″ (70mm) long.
  • 2 jump rings, approximately 7mm size.
  • Clasp (I used an antiqued brass lobster clasp, 15mm size).
  • Wire cutter.
  • Round nose pliers.
  • Flat nose pliers.
  • Chain nose pliers.
  • Sharpie marker.
  • Ruler.
  • Bracelet mandrel (I used a tomato sauce can; a small soup can would also work well).

How to Make a
Beads and Chains Bracelet

We’ll want to make equal-size wrapped loops at each end of the wire, so we’ll use a Sharpie marker to draw a line on one jaw of your round nose pliers, as shown below.

We’ll use this line for making our loops:

Marking pliers for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll begin by working with our wire straight from the wire roll, without cutting it first.

That way we’ll avoid wasting any wire in this project.

We’re going to make a wrapped wire loop with this end of the wire.

If you’re new to making wrapped loops, see my quick and easy video, Make a Wrapped Wire Loop.

To make the wrapped wire loop, use the tips of your round nose pliers to grasp the wire, about 2.5″ (64mm) from the end of the wire:

Using wire from the wire roll for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now bend the wire end at a nearly 90-degree angle:
Bending wire for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your wire should look like this:

Bent wire for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Grasp the short wire tail right where you just bent the wire.

The wire should be resting on the Sharpie line you drew on your pliers jaw:

Making wrapped wire loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now wrap the short wire tail around one jaw of your pliers.

Rotate your pliers as needed so you can make a full loop with the tail sticking out to one side:

Making wrapped wire loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your wire should look like this:

Making wrapped wire loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Next we’ll wrap the short wire tail around the wire stem below the loop.

Use the tips of your flat nose pliers to grasp the wire loop you just made.

Use the tips of your chain nose pliers to grasp the wire tail and wind it tightly 2 or 3 times around the long wire stem:

Making wrapped wire loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use the flat side of your wire cutter to trim off the wire end as closely as possible to the main wire stem, and use the tips of your chain nose pliers to squash down the cut wire end:

Making wrapped wire loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Next we’ll measure your total bead length.

Line up all of your flat beads next to a ruler as shown below, with a seed bead on each side of every flat bead.

You can see my total bead length is about 3.5″ (76mm):

Measuring beads for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Next we’ll figure out where to cut our wire from the wire roll.

Add 2.5″ (64mm) to your total bead length we just measured.

(In my case, 2.5″ + 3.5″ total bead length = 6″).

Cut your wire to that length (in my case, 6″):

Measuring beads for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

String your beads onto the cut wire, with the beads stacked up against the finished wrapped wire loop:

Stringing beads onto wire for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

It’s time to make a wrapped wire loop in the unfinished end of the wire.

About mid-way down your round nose pliers jaw, grasp the wire just above your last seed bead.

Bend the wire over one jaw of your pliers at a nearly 90-degree angle:

Making the second wire wrapped loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your wire should look like this:

Making the second wire wrapped loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll make a wrapped wire loop, the same way you did on the first end of the wire.

Grasp the short wire tail right where you just bent the wire.

The wire should be resting on the Sharpie line you drew on your pliers jaw:

Making the second wire wrapped loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now wrap the short wire tail around one jaw of your pliers.

Rotate your pliers as needed so you can make a full loop with the tail sticking out to one side:

Making the second wire wrapped loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your wire should look like this:

Making the second wire wrapped loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Next we’ll wrap the short wire tail around the wire stem below the loop.

Use the tips of your flat nose pliers to grasp the wire loop you just made.

Use the tips of your chain nose pliers to grasp the wire tail and wind it tightly 2 or 3 times around the long wire stem:

Making the second wire wrapped loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use the flat side of your wire cutter to trim off the wire end as closely as possible to the main wire stem, and use the tips of your chain nose pliers to squash down the cut wire end.

Your wire should look like this:

Making the second wire wrapped loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Measure your total finished wire length against a ruler – from the tip of one loop to the tip of the other loop.

You can see my total wire length is about 4.25″ (107mm):

Making the second wire wrapped loop for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now shape your finished beaded wire around your mandrel (a tomato sauce can, in my case):

Shaping beaded wire around the mandrel for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Remove the beaded wire from the mandrel:

After shaping beaded wire around the mandrel for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

It’s time to cut the chains that will finish off the bracelet.

I’m making my bracelet for a 7″ (178mm) wrist length.

Subtract your beaded wire length from your wrist length to get your chain length.

(In my case, 7″ wrist length – 4.25″ beaded wire length = 2.75″ [70mm] chain length.)

Cut 3 pieces of chain (or however many pieces of chain you want to use) in the length you calculated above:

Cutting chains for Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist open one of your jump rings.

If you’re new to using jump rings, see my quick tip, How to Open and Close a Jump Ring.

Assembling Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

String one end of one of your chain pieces onto the opened jump ring:
Assembling Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

String the rest of your chain pieces onto the jump ring:

Assembling Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now thread the jump ring onto one of your wrapped wire loops on the beaded wire you made earlier.

Then use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist the jump ring shut:

Assembling Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist open your remaining jump ring.

Move to the other ends of your chains, and thread the jump ring through the last link on each of those chains.

Then thread your clasp onto the jump ring.

Use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist the jump ring shut:

Assembling Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your beads and chains bracelet is now finished!

To close it, fasten the clasp in the remaining wire wrapped loop of your bracelet.

Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Beads and Chains Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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Comments

  1. A wonderful tutorial, as always , Rena. And just when I was looking for a new project. You never disappoint. Thank you .

  2. Your instructions are the best, the clearest of any I’ve seen on the Internet. Your designs are the nicest too. Very original and professional. Thank you so much Rena.

  3. Sheila Meador says:

    Thank you for continuing to share your expertise and encourage all of us. This is a great style and can be created with a variety of beautiful beads. We all probably have a lot to choose from in our bead stash 🙂

  4. Wow I love the beads you chose for this project. Awesome instructions too. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing as always Rena!

  5. Thank you all for your lovely comments on this project! 🙂

  6. Wrapping wire always intimadates me……you make it very understandable.

  7. Nice! You make it look so easy! Thanks for all you do for us! I appreciate it so much!

  8. Lovey! You do such a nice job with your tutorials, very easy to follow. Thanks for always being so generous and sharing your ideas.

  9. Thank you. You are always so clear in your instructions.

  10. Another great tutorial, perfect and detailed instructions, gorgeous pictures. We can only say thank you!

  11. Love, Love,Love, this tutorial, can’t wait to you my spin off.

  12. Beverly Borwick says:

    Thank you Rena. I love your precise instructions and clear illustrations. Great for a semi-beginner! Beverly

  13. I have old vintage spools of copper wire I acquired from my father-in-law, these spools weigh a few pounds each! Needless to say I want to use them for most of my projects. They are 16 gauge and 22 gauge, I also have a spool of extremely fine wire so thin it’s like hair! My question is, could I use either the 16 or 22 gauge for this project? Thank you.

  14. Hi Chris, thanks for asking about the wire gauge. Is the wire soft, half-hard, or hard? If it’s soft, then 22 gauge may be a bit flimsy for a bracelet (since bracelets tend to get a bit of wear and tear, being next to the wearer’s hand). Also, which gauge will fit through the beads you want to use for this project?

  15. Maureen Twomey says:

    I love bracelets with beads and chain, and often use large beads with structure to hold things together. Never thought of using wire to string the beads! Leave it to you, Rena, to come up with a simple and brilliant solution. You’re the best!

  16. Maureen, thank you! And I’d love to see your bead & chain bracelets. 🙂

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