Wrap Bracelet





Introduction: Wrap Bracelet

About: I'm a designer at Instructables. I have a degree in fashion design and like to sew, get crafty, and attempt to use power tools.

When I first saw Chan Luu wrap bracelets, I was pretty excited.  Until I saw the price tag ($200+)! 

These bracelets are great since they look like bangles but are much more comfortable.  Because it is so long, it has a certain amount of flexibility to be worn as a necklace or anklet as well.  It was very simple to make, and mine cost less than $15 in supplies and only took a few hours.  The color combinations are endless - have fun with it!  

Step 1: Supplies

All you need for this bracelet is:

Leather cord (or any sturdy, thin cord): First figure out how many wraps you want to make.  Measure that distance, double it, and add around 4' extra for the loops at the end.  I found that four wraps on my wrist perfectly matched three wraps on my ankle, whereas five wraps on my wrist didn't work as an anklet.  I needed roughly 2 yards.
Beads: I used 4mm faceted czech glass beads.  This online vendor seems to have a good selection, but any bead store would have these, and of course any type of bead will work!  Similar bracelets I've seen use smaller beads than this, closer to 3mm.
Nylon thread
Beading needle: traditional or a separated eye style depending on the thickness of your nylon thread and size of beads.
Button: the kind with a loop in back vs holes works best.

Step 2: Getting Started

Once you have determined your desired bracelet length (see previous step), cut your cord and fold in half with your button strung on at the center point.  

Now it is time to start beading.  Create a figure 8 around the two sides of cord and bead as shown.  This is the most venerable part of the bracelet in terms of wear and tear, so start your first bead a short distance away from the button to reduce friction.  I reinforced this first bead by wrapping the nylon thread through a few times.  

Knot your thread, and you're ready to start.  You can clean up the loose nylon thread end once the bracelet is almost finished.

Step 3: The Basic Stitch

Now comes the fun part.  It may seem like a lot of beading, but it goes pretty quick.  The basic stitch is to add a bead, wrap one side of the cord, go back through that bead, and around the other side of cord.  Repeat!  

While the stitch is simple, there are a few things I found in the process:

• Try to keep the stitches uniform in tightness
• Watch that the direction of the thread when you finish one bead and add the next always wraps in the same direction.  You could also create an "x" effect by alternating which direction you wrap the cord between beads, but I preferred to keep it uniform.
• As you go along, I found the tightness of the two sides of cord would become uneven, causing it to bend.  Periodically straighten things out.
• If you run out of thread, tie on a new piece with the knot close by the bead opening, and you can run the ends through when you're done.

Step 4: Finishing Up

Once you have reached your desired length, run the thread through the final bead a few times and tie it off.  Run any loose threads through a few beads to tidy up.  You can reinforce the knots with clear nailpolish if desired, but I didn't feel it was necessary on mine.

The last step is to knot your cord.  I added three possible "settings" to give flexibility for how loose I want it.  These are also useful if you would like to use your bracelet as an anklet or necklace, and the sizing needs a little wiggle room.  Make the opening in between knots a little longer than the length of your button so it fits snuggly through, but isn't too difficult to open and close.  

And with that, finito!  Enjoy!

11 People Made This Project!


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42 Discussions


2 years ago

I've been making these and working with leather and metals for a long time (40+ years), OMG, hate to admit it's been THAT long, so I want to share what I've learned the hard way, so you don't have to! Whatever you make, you need to know what tools to use, because it makes it so much easier! I am compelled to create things. I designed and built a house once...My husband threatened to take my Home Depot credit card away because the deck was growing into the next neighborhood! : ) Ok, I can be obsessive, but I love, love, making jewelry!

Genuine leather or faux leather?: Some faux leather or rubber cord is nice because you can get it wet or wear it in the shower, but most people prefer the look of real leather, which needs conditioning now & then with a good quality hand lotion, and use it on your leather cord before you start your project. Cocoa butter is a good conditioner, and I found some once at the Dollar store! I usually ask the person who will be wearing it, which they'd prefer, real leather or faux? There are advantages to both!

Knots: Both leather or faux leather knots hold well with leather glue. Before you tighten your knots put a little glue on a toothpick in the middle of the knot, then tighten. I recommend "Super New Glue" which can be found at Artbeads.com, Amazon, or Walmart.com. You have to order it. Shop for the best price. Keep a paper towel near your workspace, and wipe the opening of the little 2 inch bottle of glue every time you use it, then put the cap back on. Otherwise, it'll glue itself shut. It will last quite a while, but I use it often so I buy them 2 at a time. I also cut a toothpick down on an angle with snips, so it picks up enough glue. It is like a Super Glue, but doesn't bond instantly. You have time to get it in the right place, and wash it off your fingers. Best if the glue is hidden, or it will show on the leather.

Knotting Cord: If it's going to be one of your favorite bracelets or you know someone will wear it a lot, do 4 layers of thin wrapping thread per side, or whatever will fit through your beads. I always, always, at least double the cord per side so there's at least 4 threads going through every bead. My husband loves these bracelets, but breaks them regularly, and I've learned to make them STRONG! I use a combination of "Tough Cord" or "Silimide" (Beadsmith), but if the bead holes are large you can use Chinese Knotting Cord which is thicker, or a combination of all. I always wax my cord with beeswax. It's inexpensive and strengthens your cord and makes it last a long time! You can Google everything to find where to buy it.

Needles: It makes your life easier and the projects will go faster, but you can also put Super New Glue on the ends of thread, hang it over something until it's dry, and use it like a needle. It will save you tearing your hair out if the thread starts to fray. If you want to try needles, try the Beadsmith size 12 needles that open up in the middle. They are inexpensive. Every kind of thread will fit, and it's easy to double.

Buttons: I love buttons. There's a button site I love. I have no monetary interest in it, but I hope you'll have as much fun there as I do. Buttonjones.com

I hope this helps a lot of you! Happy Beading all!

8 replies

Hi Jaclen! Hope you get this!!! Do you make jewelry as a business at all??? I am also looking for instructions to make knotted leather bracelets. Thanks!

Hi Jaclen and thank you for this awesome comment!

I'd like to pick your brain for a minute if you don't mind.

I've made a few ladder wrap bracelets before and I used Tuff Cord. I found it to be scratchy and uncomfortable on the skin once the bracelet was made. I also made the unfortunate mistake of not making 2-4 passes through each bead and also made mistakes when adding more thread. So, questions! Which Tuff Cord is strong enough to be sturdy without an awful skin feel? I have used round recycled glass beads (as found on Lima Beads) and also plan on using some Czech glass like those featured in this instructable. I have read different things while trying to get a single answer. One lady who runs a blog/shop swears by C-Lon for everything, including the size D bead thread for ladder wrap bracelets. (It looks like it would have a much better texture to wear so I was hoping that was the answer.) Several other sites disagree (citing it is weak and sheds) and instead recommend using either Tuff Cord, Nymo, polyester (I don't know which kind?), KO or One G. With the exception of Tuff Cord, most of those seem like they'd be weaker than C-Lon size D thread or micro size cord. Here's a big question: especially when making multiple passes, how on earth do you contain enough thread needed to finish an entire three+ wrap bracelet? I tried and it was everywhere, knotting up, getting stepped on and rolled over, it was just out of control. I cannot work my head around a way to keep it tidy when it can't be wrapped up or put in a bobbin because its entire length has to pass through the bead.

I do use Super New Glue for various things but I think a lot of people recommend GS Hypo Cement to be used to secure knots, especially like those that are used in ladder wrap bracelets like these, overhand knots in leather, etc. And cocoa butter for leather, really? Does it have to be 100% pure? (Every lotion seems to have other things added and are only a certain percentage of actual cocoa butter.) Is that better than a leather conditioner? I can't think of any off the top of my head, but it would certainly be much more pleasant to just use hand lotion and then rub the cord versus getting whatever goes into the conditioners on my hands.

Also, I too love ButtonJones. It's unfortunate that quality buttons always seem out of reach as far as price range is concerned. A cheaper alternative is TierraCast buttons, which can be found at Lima Beads, and they usually have a sale going on. (I think the one for this week is off findings and thread/cord, so I'm trying to figure out what I need, fast!) Likewise, I have no affiliation with anyone.

Ugh, and measurements. Try as I might, I am always off by a certain amount, whenever I am trying to make my own rather than follow a tutorial word for word. I need a simple formula. I have read that the size of the bead changes the amount of thread needed, too. And of course it's always better to have too much than too little.

Do you have a youtube channel or blog or something? My "micro business" is VeRajArt, and if you'd be willing to remain in touch through email, mine is the same, at gmail. I can always use more help! (well, that and motivation!)

Wow! This is truly valuable information for me. Thank you very much.

Hi JeanB77,
Thanks so much for your kind words. I really appreciate that!


Thanks so much JeanB77 - Info that helps everyone needs to be shared! Beading is great fun, better than therapy, and shouldn't be frustrating! Happy beading all! ~Jaclen

Wow yes, thank you so much Jacien for this useful information!

Hi Jaclen,

Thank you for the tips. I hope you have another for me. Do you have any suggestions for extending the length once the leather has been cut and the bracelet made? I only need about an inch and don't want to take away beads because it would mess up the pattern, make it an entire wrap shorter than I had planned and it would be awful to undo the work. Thank you in advance.



Hi owenswise,
Just saw this, so sorry it's so late! This might seem like a tough problem, but it's an easy fix. I made a leather necklace too short once and I didn't want to undo all my work either. You know what Carpenters say? "Measure twice, cut once!" But we all screw up a few times!

My fix for a too short necklace was to add more leather and make more buttonholes. Now I can wear it at several different lengths. Lots of leather bracelets are made deliberately with two or more buttonholes to start with, so people have more flexibility in the size.

For a bracelet that needs an extra inch, adding another button hole
is really a great solution. You can tie your leather to the existing button hole to extend it. To make it more professional looking, you can also undo the knot on the first button hole and make one knot with the new piece, joining the two, so it looks like you intended to have two button holes, and it doesn't look like an extra piece was added on. When you make your knot, put glue inside the knot, then tie it so it's snug. You can cut off any ends that show from the first button hole, but carefully glue where you cut them so they won't come undone. It usually takes 24 hrs for the glue to cure, and then you can wear it.

You can add a leather buttonhole and button to any kind of bracelet you want, as long as there's some kind of link on the end to tie the leather to! I've done it just to give a bracelet a 'softer' or a more rustic look. You can attach a larger closed jump ring to the end and tie on a piece of leather to that, then make a button hole out of it. You need a button on the other end secured with either wire or leather. Then just knot your leather, measure a button hole, and add another knot at the end. I like to use barrel knots, but use what you think looks good for the style of the bracelet. Measure your button so it fits in the hole, and leave two pieces of short leather after the last knot, cutting the ends at an angle. Put glue inside the knots before you tighten them using either "Super New Glue" using a toothpick or you can also use the fine point on GS Hyper Cement, used for fine work. Both work great! I hope these instructions are clear enough to follow.

Thanks so much for your question, and good luck with that. Let me know how it works for you!


Thank you SO much for posting this!!! It is going to save me so much money!! I am also searching for knotted leather bracelet instructions!

Thank you so much for these easy instructions! I seem to be running across a small problem with the finished bracelet...every once in awhile, one of the beads will "pop out" and has to be pushed back into place. What is the reason for this? Are my beads too close to each other? Or is it a problem with my stitching? Thanks again!

Making one today! Thanks for the easy directions!

Beautiful bracelet, good instructions. Thanks!

This was easier than I thought. Thank you for the instructions. I love my bracelet, I'm off to the bead store to buy more...

2 replies

VERY pretty !!! I will post a pic of the nice one I actually bought! Nice colors I think ... Endless choices right? lol


2 years ago

OH! A place for pics ! Great!!!


2 years ago

I macraméd as a hobby and strung puka shells on the jewelry , lol, very hippie type style , have to my friends... Seems my whole life I've made bracelets of some sort for my friends! Too funny !! These are really cool! I have one I bought and wondered how it was made! NOW watch out friends! Christmas is coming lol!!! This could be done with beautiful gem stones or art bead and be really fabulous! And wow! Compared to making a intricate macramé bracelet.. SO EASY! WoW! I will teach this to my mini me Grand daughter lol!!! She will love! My umm? Artsy Craftsy gene bypassed my daughter and went to my granddaughter ! FINE with me! It's too much fun for us! Thank you so much for these great how to's.... Luv!!! Peace !


3 years ago

i like it , and i will made it .. thank u ♥