This African-style bracelet is made with flat Ndebele herringbone stitch. It gets its raised dimension from a combination of varying bead sizes and a joining technique. I chose bright yellow seed beads for the example bracelet, which I made for an upcoming cancer awareness event. You can use any colors you'd like, as long as you use the bead sizes listed below.
1. Gather Your Materials
The following beads are enough to make a seven-inch bracelet band (because the band sits on a leather cord, the band should be shorter than your wrist diameter):
- 3.5 grams of size 11/0 Miyuki round seed beads in opaque yellow, 11-0404 (A)
- 2 grams of size 11/0 Miyuki round seed beads in matte silver-lined yellow, 11-7635 (B)
- 2 grams of size 8/0 Miyuki round seed beads in matte silver-lined rainbow yellow, 08-0006F (C)
You'll also need the following beading supplies:
- Size 10 beading needle
- Size D (or slightly thicker) beading thread
- Beading scissors
- 1 foot of 2mm round leather cord (I used black)
- Optional supplies of your choice, such as thread conditioner, beading dishes, and a thread burner.
2. Stitch the Herringbone Beadwork for the Band
After preparing your needle and thread, begin stitching the bracelet band using flat Ndebele herringbone stitch. Keep stitching to your desired length, which should be about one half inch shorter than your wrist diameter. For each row, stitch the following beads in this order:
1A, 1B, 1A, 1C, 1C, 1A, 1B, 1A
Here's a review of the bead key:
A = 11/0 round seed beads in opaque yellow
B = 11/0 round seed beads in matte silver-lined yellow
C = 8/0 round seed beads in matte silver-lined rainbow yellow
The result should be a curved and rounded length of band with a ridge of larger beads running down the middle. Use your fingers to fold the long edges of the band together, as shown in the photo above.
3. Join the Edges of the Beadwork to Cover the Cord
Press the leather cord into the fold in the band. Starting at one end, stitch the long edges of the band together, using the thread path shown in the photo above (click the image for a larger view).
To make each joining stitch: pass through two or three A on one edge, pass back through the matching As on the other edge, and then pass through the initial two or three A on the first edge plus another two or three A.
When you reach the opposite end of the band, weave-in to end the thread.
4. Begin the Peyote Stitch Tube Bead for the Clasp
To make a sliding bead clasp like the one on the example bracelet, begin by stitching six columns and seven rows of flat, even-count peyote stitch. Recall that to begin flat peyote stitch, you need to pick up all of the beads for the first two rows. For your bracelet, begin by picking up 1A, 1B, 1A, 1B, 1A, 1B. For the remaining rows, alternate between stitching As and Bs to create vertical stripes.
5. Zip-Up the Peyote Tube Around Both Cords
Zip-Up the ends of the flat peyote stitch swatch around both tails of the leather cord. When you finish, weave-in and end the thread tails.
6. Knot and Trim the Cord Ends
To complete the bracelet, make tight overhand knots in both cord tails. To decide where to place the knots, put on the bracelet and note how much excess leather cord you need to fit the bracelet over your wrist, before you slide down the tube bead to cinch it up. Use sharp household scissors to trim the cord ends within about a half inch of each knot. (I recommend leaving the cord only as long as you need it; I ended up shortening the cords in the photo above.)
Enjoy your new bracelet!
Tip: If you prefer a more traditional clasp, you can forego the beaded tube bead, trim your cords to size, and attach premade metal cord ends and a lobster or hook clasp.