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How to Make a Leather Bracelet with Trade Beads

Learn how to make a leather bracelet with trade beads with this Howcast video about how to make jewelry.


Hi, I'm Tam, and I'm going to show you how to make these very simple bracelets with just a few beads and string of any kind of leather or waxed cord, which is what I'm going to use here. These are great for the summer because they're colorful and they're summery, and we sell a lot of these beads in our store. They're inexpensive. They start at like $25 for a strand of these. These are recycled glass from Ghana. These are old African trade beads. All these are considered old African trade beads, and some of them are very, very old. These are not super old, but they're from the '80s, and they're made from recycled glass. The colors are really, really great in these.

So basically I'm going to just lay out the pattern you'd like, so you can do something that's very orderly, or you can do something that's sort of more mixed, which I kind of like better. Then you just choose your fiber color accordingly.

Now I'm going to show you how to make the end, so I like to just make these easy, button-type closures because they use the same bead, and it's not like a super contrast between the bracelet and where it starts and where it ends. So basically you just make a loop like this, and then you're going to string on the beads, which I did. Then, again, you can place your knots in different places, so you can do very evenly placed knots after each bead, or every two beads you can do a knot. It's sort of all up to you. Or you can even do lots and lots of knots, something like this. This is a double leather wrap bracelet, which is very popular now, like all these multiple wraps layered together.

Because these are all not calibrated, the holes. Let me see.

Because the holes are not all calibrated, and sometimes you won't be able to get the string through, you can just trim the ends by cutting the cord at an angle. So it gives you a little sharper end, and you can just stick the, and then use your tweezers to just push the cord through. You don't want to force it because a lot of times these are glass, and they won't break, but they'll chip, so you just have to allow enough cord when you cut with the knotting part. Basically I'm going to do an odd number of beads, so it's one and three. I just move my knot tighter, closer to the bead, before I tighten.

Sometimes it's nice to have a mix of beads. You could get a few strands and split it with a friend. That's what a lot of people do at our store, actually. We sell a lot of these beads, so the strands usually look like this. Then we sell leather loose on a spool, so a lot of people come, split a strand if they're going to make a bracelet, and then just pick out the leather there. I'm going to show you later on, but you could even just do one bead on a cord, which is what a lot of people also do for a choker.

See, this is going to be my finished bracelet. On the last bead, I'm just going to knot, but I'm going to leave a little space so that the knot can move because I'm going to make this the closure bead.

You can choose a contrast bead or something that matches. It just depends if you want something that all blends together or not, but basically it would look like that, which here we use a contrast lava bead with the blue glass beads.

This one, we bought a store bought clasp. It's like a lobster clasp that swivels, and this is like a double leather bracelet. It looks like that, and I like to wear these sort of all layered like that. On the leather, you want to make something a little tighter than your finished size because after wearing, it'll stretch a little bit, just because that's the nature of leather.

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