Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olymic Crafting: Team USA Stretch Bracelets

Last night, I looked around at all of the clutter that surrounds me in my tiny apartment, and got fed up. I ended up staying awake until 4 o'clock in the morning; moving light furniture, cleaning out boxes that hadn't been unpacked since we moved a year ago, and throwing away scraps of things that I had been keeping "just in case." Let me tell you, there has only been one time that I've been thankful that I hung on to something so I could use it in another project. Most of the time, I never do use the scraps. All those scraps do is take up space and keep me from finding things that I actually have plans for.

Anyway, I'm sure you know what I mean! I can't be the only person who feels that way from time to time.

While I was organizing, I found some blister packs of beads that a friend had given me a long time ago. (And I do mean a long time ago.... At least 4 years ago!) Beading was probably the first hobby I took up, and I've been doing it since I was about 8 years old. I don't do a lot of the fancy projects that you'll find in Bead and Button, but I do like stringing some beads onto elastic and calling it a day. It's the kind of instant-gratification project that's just perfect for any schedule.

One of the blister packs was this pretty pearlescent glass bead assortment:


I knew I wanted to make something for the Olympic Games, so I took inventory of the rest of my beads to see what I could make. Originally, I wanted to use the 5 colors in the Olympic rings, but I just didn't have the right colors for it. Looking again, I decided that I should focus on supporting Team USA, so I made some stretch bracelets using the red, white, and dark blue pearlescent beads.

This isn't a great picture of them, but when you take pictures in an artificially lit room they don't always look very good. I made two different styles of bracelet: two in red, white, and blue, changing colors frequently, and three done in blocks of red, white, and blue.

Want to participate in the fun? Here's the details for my bracelets so you can make your own.


  • Seed beads in red, white, and blue ( The bead size is, unfortunately, not labeled, but my best guess is that that they might be around 8/0)
  • Stretch Magic bead and jewelry cord, 1mm in diameter, 5 meter spool.
  • Scissors

Since the shape of the bead is not consistent, the amount of beads needed per bracelet for me varied between 72 and 81 beads (I have a 6-inch wrist, and don't like my bracelets to have a lot of slack.) Each blister supposedly contains 5 grams of beads, and I still have enough beads for another bracelet, so you won't need a large packet of beads for this project.


  • Cut about 12 inches of stretchy cord from the spool. If needed, knot one end of the cord so that the beads won't fall off while you string them.
  • For the alternating color bracelet, string beads in red, white, blue, red, white, blue, etc., until you have reached the desired length for your wrist.
  • For the color block bracelet, take your wrist measurement and divide by 3. This will give you an idea of how many inches each color needs to be. For instance, my measurement of 6 inches divided by 3 tells me that I need to string just slightly over 2 inches of each color in order to get something that will fit comfortably on my wrist.
  • Once you have enough beads on the cord to fit appropriately on your wrist, tie the ends of the cord together in a double knot (or more knots if you wish), trim the ends, and wear proudly!
Go Team USA! I'll be on vacation until Tuesday and even though I'll have internet access, I might not be able to post until I get back. I have another Olympic-themed jewelry craft idea, so hopefully I can get that posted soon after I get back!

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