Monday, February 6, 2012

Leather Wrap Bracelets with Miyuki Tila Beads

I first heard of leather wrap bracelets or bead ladder bracelets a few years ago when customers asked my advice for the best cord to use for these bracelets. Ultimately I had to test the cords myself and play around with the concept. As a rule, I do not check how others approach a specific project, I prefer to work out my own technique. Adding beads with a wrap leather construction is a traditional Egyptian design, but its latest rendition has a few modern twists... So I started making some test bracelets with leather cord, beads I had around, such 6mm gemstones beads, fresh water pearls, Miyuki Size 6 Seed beads and a variety of cords from C-Lon Fine Weight Bead Tex 135, C-Lon Micro Cord and C-Lon Bead Thread Size D. I took them to my shows as I always like to test my customers responses and kept selling them without getting a chance to take any pictures. My friends and family all wanted them too, so I kept making more bracelets... It gave me a chance to refine my techniques.

Confetti & Light Purple
Along the way I decided to try some with Miyuki Tila beads. First I made my own mixes, with some iridescent, some flat and some metallic Tila beads, then matched the mixes with Greek leather and C-Lon Bead Thread Size D. The Miyuki Tila beads have nice smooth holes, but they are small. The C-Lon Bead thread Size D fits well through the bead holes especially with the use of English embroidery beading needles. I prefer these needles over the standard English beading needles as they are shorter and they have a blunt end, less likely to split the thread and damage it. A light application of beeswax over the thread is also helpful.

For the button closure, I adopted a bead rondelle instead of the more traditional metal button: Black Horn, Golden Horn, Frosted Quartz and Frosted Black Quartz mostly, with a size 6 Miyuki seed bead as final decoration.

Tila beads are flat, light and very smooth. They measure 5mm x 5mm x 1.9mm and they have 2 parallel holes about 0.8mm wide. They are a new shape of glass beads made by Miyuki. They remind me of little mosaic tiles found in Europe, especially in high end Italian bathrooms, but miniaturized. They have been described as chiclets shaped, I don't get that. I guess you would have to get a bubblegum color... just kidding.

The Tila beads make a very light bracelet, comfortable to wear especially when paired with a button made out of horn. Get a kit to get a jump start and make your own. These bracelets are fun, easy to wear and addictive, plus they can be stacked!

> Wrap Leather Bracelet Kits with Tila Beads
> Leather Supplies
> Set Up to Demo the Wrap Bracelet with good closeup pictures! 

Material included in the kit... in the Green Patina & Natural combo, enough to make 3 bracelets.


Lupe Meter said...

These are awesome! It gives me an idea for polymer clay and leather! Thanks for sharing!

Andi said...

Hi Marion, I just purchased some tuff size 3 from you, hoping it'll help me with the problems I had using BeadSmith size 18 (the 0.9mm size - didn't know they had two size 18"s). I too make the leather wraps, and like you, prefer to use my own technique/materials, etc. I love the "twist" you used in making yours with the beads in the pic, very nice! Even though the person who "shall remain nameless" has been making these & selling to celebrities for $250+, they've been around for a looooong time, I wore them over 20 yrs ago. I'm so happy now to know how to make them, they're beautiful and the possibilities are endless, like you've shown in yours!

Jody Applegate said...

I am having trouble purchasing a kit. I can’t add it to the cart. Any ideas?

Elaine in Baltimore said...

hello Marion! Your blog is the absdolute BEST most comprehensive - most commonse sense jewelry blog I have ever come across. I have been beading for about 15 years. Your explanations and directions are easy for me - make sense. You answer question I did not even think of to ask. Thank you for your blog and store!