These beaded leather bracelets are all the rage, while they take time to make—about an hour per row of beads. It is not that complicated. If you follow the step by step instructions below, you can make one this week.
You need 2 pieces of leather or ultra-suede lacing, each approximately 30” long. (2mm diameter leather)
Onto a metal button thread one of the lengths of leather, slide the button up until it is in the middle of the leather.
Secure this on your board with a clip and or straight pin.
Place the other length—also folded in half—behind and just below the button, secure with a straight pin.
You now have four 15” long strands of leather cord. You will braid these just over an inch.
Cross the left outside leather over the strand just to the inside.
Now cross the right outside strand over the next 2 inside strands. Repeat these steps, approximately, 5 times. Until you have braided about 1 inch. Secure with a straight pin.
Make sure your needle and thread fits easily through your chosen beads TWICE. There are a number of different threads and silk beading cords you can use,* NOTE—many stone beads have very small openings. There are also many needle options, there are even wire needles whose eye will collapse as it passes through the bead. You need a couple of needles. It is not uncommon to break a needle. Also, pliers can help you pull a needle through a tight bead hole.
There are 2 main methods I use.
If you are using a 2mm round leather cord, you will be wrapping your thread or Beading cord around the leather cord. For this method a thicker silk cord gives the most professional look. (I have used the blue ultra-suede because it is easier to see than black or dark brown leather)
Secure your thread/cord with a knot around the middle 2 leather cords. Keep the knot on the back side of your bracelet. Add a small dot of glue to secure it.
The pattern is to come up from the bottom, around the outside of the far left leather cord. Sew through your bead, under the next leather cord, around the outside and back up then through the same bead a second time, ending with the cord below the outside leather. This forms a figure eight with the leather cords inside either loop and the bead around the middle. Repeat until you have about 4” of beads. Then repeat between the next 2nd and 3rd strands, and then, the 3rd and 4th strands.
The picture below is to show you the path the string will take, making figure eights between the leather cords with the bead where they cross in the middle
Braid your ends 2 times using the same method you used for the beginning of the bracelet. Tie off with this knot—take one of your leather strands, wrap it 360*(degrees) around the other leather, tuck the end through from the top and pull tight. This will have all three strands pointing down. Place your finger between the strands, 2 above and 2 below, knot again with the same knot used above, repeat with a second knot using a different strand. Add a dot of glue before pulling the knot tight.
If you are using a flat ultra-suede cord, you will be sewing through the cording. A thinner thread and sharper needle will be better for this. Also, pliers can help you pull a needle through many layers of ultra-suede.
Knot the end of your thread. Sew up through the middle 2 strands at the end of the braid.
Now your needle is on the far left. Add a bead and start your first row. You will have one bead between each strand of leather, plus beads on the outside row if you choose. Press the needle barely through the first strand, add a bead. Press it barely through the next strand, add the middle bead. Press it barely through the next strand and add the last interior bead for that row. Press it through the far right outside strand and add another bead. Stitch down to start the next row.
This will create rows of beads instead of columns as the method above does. You also will have—if you choose—beads on the outside edges of bracelet. You are only sewing through each bead once with this method. So it is a little faster; it is not quite as strong.
To tie off, use the same method as above.