Stretch Bracelets – How do you hide the knot?

by Sheila Meador.
(Georgia, USA)

question-mark-purple-on-tan-diagramOccasionally I make a few stretch bracelets, and I’d like to know a good way to hide the knot in the cord to finish it. Do you use a bead with a large hole?

I’ve seen that done. Just curious to see if my JMJ friends have used a different method.

Thanks for any feedback you may have!

Sheila Meador

FREE - Get 7 Super Jewelry Making Hacks

Get Rena's 7 Super Jewelry Making Hacks, plus the Jewelry Making Journal Newsletter - all for FREE.

We Respect Your Email Privacy

  • Well, if the hole is more or less the size that would let me hide the knot inside, then I will put some glue or clear nail polish on it, and push it in. If the beads are small in size, say 4mm, then I pick a metal crimp bead cover over the knot in the same size for a more uniform look, and just cover the knot with it. Oh, and I put some glue on the knot before doing so. If that helps.

  • Susan says:

    I do it much the same way as Shirin. I do insist on using hypo cement, just seems to be more dependable. I have experimented with Gossamer Floss instead of Stretch Magic, especially on pearls since it’s much thinner. Doesn’t really seem much stronger to me. My grandkids still manage to break them somehow.

  • Beverly Holman says:

    I have customers who like the stretch bracelets but I have the same problem getting my knot to keep. These are great ideas and plan to try it.

  • Rain says:

    I don’t use elastic/stretch material because it eventually breaks, but when I worked at a bead store, this is what we told customers:
    DO NOT use glue or nail polish. It eats away the elastic.
    Use a sterling crimp bead to cover the knot. Just string the bracelet with the crimp at one end, tie the bracelet off and then slide the crimp onto the knot and crimp it or just smash it flat. The sterling is soft enough that it won’t cut the elastic. You can cover it with a crimp cover or slide one of the other beads over it.
    With elastic, it’s not a matter of IF it will break, but WHEN, but this is the most reliable method I’ve seen of finishing a stretch bracelet.

  • Sheila Meador says:

    Thanks for the suggestions. I have not seen any crimp bead covers that looked large enough to cover the knot. I rarely make stretch bracelets because I don’t trust them to last. However, folks make comments to me about how easy it is to wear a stretch style bracelet as opposed to one with a clasp. Where do you buy larger crimp bead covers? All I have in my area is Hobby Lobby, Joann, and Michael’s. I have only seen tiny crimp bead covers there.

  • Sandra M. says:

    Sheila – when using crimp beads, you don’t have to knot. You just make sure to keep the cords to either side and then crimp. I go over and give each side and extra squeeze flat, then fold my crimp over before trimming the cord. I used to knot all the time, but was told by many different jewelry designers, that the crimp is what holds the cords, and when done properly, it’s all the security you need. you don;t even have to leave a tail to tuck into neighboring beads, just trim them to the crimp. Some crimps once finished, can slide inside a bead to be hidden, but most either leave the crimp as is, or hide inside a crimp cover.

  • Beth says:

    I try to incorporate at least one bead in my design that has slightly larger holes – large enough for the elastic thread to go through them twice. When stringing, this bead will be the final one placed, and I will bring the ends of the elastic through from each direction. Next I tie a double overhand knot as tightly as possible at each side of the bead. A dot of GS Hypo Cement on each knot helps hold the knot. After the glue dries for a few seconds, a gentle tug will bury it inside the bead (assuming I got it REALLY tight against the bead when forming the knot. If the beads to each side allow, I’ll run my elastic through a few in each direction, possibly even burying another knot under an adjacent bead. My eight-year-old niece has a bracelet I’ve made this way (four knots total, all glued and “buried”) and it’s held up for several years without problems.

  • nirado says:

    I really appreciate the opportunity to ask questions Rena. Your journal is so helpful and interesting. I’ve been reading it for years and gotten many good pieces of information. I now have a question I’d like to ask. I make stretch bracelets with, if I remember correctly, Beadalon stretch cord and I really would love to find something a whole lot better. I notice it stretches out, or will break when someone tries to put the bracelet on with open fingers. I give warnings and such but doing that seems so negative, like you’re trying to try to sell something you know will eventually give problems. I like to think the quality of my work is better than that. Some beads have really small holes and you have to use a smaller stretch cord and that scares me even worse. I have purchased stretch bracelets myself and the cord is so much better than what I use. Any suggestions or ideas from anyone on a really good stretch cord for stretch bracelets? I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much!
    Nirado

  • nirado says:

    oops, forgot to reply to Sheila. I too tie my knot very tight with a large hole bead on the end. I glue my knot and while wet, pull it into the large whole bead immediately. It hardens and the large hole bead gets glued to it at the same time. You can never see the knot that way.

  • Leslie Schmidt says:

    I have only read this one place (a booklet sent to me by Fire Mountain Gems called Secrets to Beading Success) but it says to pre-stretch your stretchy cord. So I teach everyone to firmly grasp each end of the stretchy cord and pull it ten, yes 10, times to pre-stretch it, then you don’t have problems of it stretching out. I also ALWAYS use the surgeon’s knot (you can either bring the cord over twice the first time or the last time of the knot but must be done or a regular knot will come undone) and then one more regular knot, pulling it very tight each time. I also tried using clear fingernail polish but prefer using jewelry glue. I also cut my cord at an angle so it acts like a needle and goes through the beads more easily, usually cut 12 inches as that gives room to tie for most wrist sizes. I use 1 MM size as the thinner sizes break more easily. If the bead is too small to go over 1 MM, I try to use a bead reamer carefully to enlarge the hole (NEVER turn your bead reamer back and forth, only in one direction to not dull the reamer, and carefully so you don’t break the bead). I haven’t tried the crimping method (will try it now) as I thought it would cut into the cord. I wear my bracelets often as examples for teaching and selling and haven’t had any issues yet. I was really surprised to see high-end bracelets and necklaces selling at a store made with stretchy cord but they sold really well and looked gorgeous.

  • Ani says:

    I make a lot of stretch bracelets for the many women (and men) who cannot work a clasp. (which is myself, too) I always use .8mm good quality elasticity cord that I find at ArtBeads, for example. Before I start to string I give my cord a good 3 tugs to make sure it will not stretch out on the wearer. I too use a surgeons knot and hypo cement. I slide the knot into a bead hole and cozy another one up against it and let it dry for hours before I move it. If I make a necklace, I use 1mm cord. I hope that helps. I do not hear of my jewelry braking and I know that I have worn mine for years with no breaks. It works, and enables wearers with dexterity problems the chance to wear pretty jewelry.

  • Nirado says:

    Those of you who love to use crimp covers, I’d love to hear how you use them. Mine don’t close well, get smashed in, look like a bead with a seam in it. I rarely get a look I like from them. I must be doing something wrong and would love to hear the right way to use a crimp cover. Thanks!

  • Val says:

    Hi Sheila, you may want to do a search online for the crimp covers since craft stores have a limited selection. I would think a 5mm or 6mm cover would suffice.

  • Wendy says:

    Nirado, I read somewhere recently (can’t remember where!) that the Mighty Crimper is good for closing crimp covers. I bought one recently and tried it and I have to agree that it does work really well. Crimp covers don’t get squashed and close neatly.

  • Sheila Meador says:

    I’m going to try several of these suggestions and see what works best for me. Thank you so much, everyone!

  • Debra says:

    I’m starting to want to make a few stretch bracelets to sale on my site and this info. is very helpful. I’ve made a few for myself this week and I’m concerned about the knot so this article is very helpful.

  • GAYLE KARLSEN says:

    Any suggestions on how to remove old hardened elastic/stretch string INSIDE long beads?

  • Gayle, what about using a scrap piece of round, full-hard wire in a gauge that would fit through the bead? I’ve often used a sturdy piece of 20 or 22 gauge hard wire to push debris out of bead holes. Brass is a nice sturdy wire for this purpose.

  • Rain says:

    How about an awl or a bead reamer? Whatever you do, DO NOT use your round nose pliers! I’ve seen the aftermath of that and it was a $50+ pair of Tronex pliers. Not good.

  • nirado says:

    Thanks for the response Wendy. I do already have and use a mighty crimper. That is exactly what is causing the problem. Very likely I’m doing something wrong. Has anyone got any suggestions? or has someone found a better tool or solution?

  • Denise says:

    Thanks for all the great information. I am actually making stretch rings which I love because they’re comfortable and you don’t have to take them off if your fingers swell up. They fit without rolling around, too. One contribution I can make about crimp covers is to be very gentle when closing them as that is usually what smashes them. I try to lay them on double sided tape and that keeps my hands free for positioning the knot inside.

  • Tori Mengel says:

    THANK YOU for all of your tips! Rena this site ROCKS!!!

  • Thank you, Tori – I appreciate that! 🙂

  • del entriken says:

    Love all the comments and the tips

  • Teressa T. says:

    Nirado, it took me a while to get good at the crimp covers. I put on my magnifier so I can really see up close, first use my wide flat nose pliers to gently start closing the cover, moving from side to side if it starts to go off center. Then I use the chain nose pliers to smooth the edges that might not be lining up completely. It usually goes pretty well.

  • Minta Boggs says:

    Thanks so much!! I went to Michaels and bought some crimp covers and they work beautifully on my stretch bracelets!!!

  • Minta, that’s wonderful! Thanks so much for letting us know how well it worked for you. 🙂

  • Wallie Cassidy says:

    I’ve made hundreds of stretch bracelets which I’ve given away to friends and relatives. Have never thought of hiding the knot till recently. I know they happily wear them with the knot showing and they do last since many have worn them for years. Tried a crimp cover on a bracelet recently and that just kinda stuck out. So I’m happy to read all these tips and my knots will be hidden from now on. Never used a surgeons knot either. Just a double (Sometimes triple) knot. No glue either, yet they last. Thanks for this great site.

  • Wallie, thanks for your lovely compliment! We’d love to see your stretch bracelets if you’d like to share them here!

  • Linz says:

    Hi, yes this is a great site for ideas, so I hope you can help me. I make my stretch bracelets with 4mm beads (1.5 mm hole) and 1mm stretch magic but I have serious trouble tying these. How on earth do you tie the ends with such small beads?? Oh, and I have used smaller thicknesses of cord which are fine but don’t last as long.
    Linz

  • Lisa says:

    Nirado, there’s stretchy thread in 3 packs at Joann’s.. I use a 2.5” or 4” large eye hole needle with it..
    I’ve used crimp beads, it cuts the 1mm stretchy cord like nobody’ business. I prefer a knot, cement and crimp cover. Every time I use a large hole bead, it tends to offset the bracelet. I just tried the large crimp bead cover over the knot and it looks fabulous. Thanks so much for the heads up!

  • Sandra says:

    I don’t know how long ago this was posted but I would like to respond. I feel like it’s a bad idea to use nail polish or glue on the elastic knots. Especially on cord like stretch Magic. It holds well inside a bead but over time it breaks down the elastic near the knots and it will eventually snap. I’ve had several several bracelets that I kept for myself that has done this. I will be putting it on and it will break real close to the knot. When I inspect them I see that the cord is worn and stiff really close to the knot and it breaks right there. What I do now is use a big hole bead and I do a fisherman’s knot and then I pull the cord out and tie a regular not around it. So the knots that I’m trying to hide is really big but I’ll use a pewter bead or something else with a big hole so that it will fit in it.

  • Sandra, thank you so much for sharing your technique! 🙂

  • Pat says:

    Try Stretch Magic. It has held up well on the bracelets I make for my 5 year old niece (who isn’t always gentle with them).

  • Kelly says:

    Recommend using Powercord Stretch. Being latex free I haven’t had any problems with it breaking down and I use just a touch of es6000. Literally just a bit on the end of an eye pin touched to the center of the knot. To close crimp covers I use a pair of skinny ‘duck bill’ flat nosed pliers. Got them on jewelrytools.com for less than $10.

  • Angie says:

    What size crimp cover do you use? I always worry about the metal from the crimp cover cutting the elastic

  • >