Introduction: Chinese Inspired Bracelet for the New Year

About: Self-employed YouTuber, creator and maker working from studio at home. Running craft workshops and making instructional videos for YouTube. Also manufacturer of craft tools and templates.

The Chinese New Year begins on February 19 th and to celebrate, I decided to design some new bead templates. As I have extended family members who are British Chinese, I wanted to make my daughter-in-law something pretty and this is what I came up with. The template was designed using the traditional Chinese colours of red and gold.

Red represents good fortune and joy while gold (yellow), represents beauty, neutrality and good luck. The celebrations that take place over the Chinese New Year make ample use of these traditional colours. The elders give 'lucky money' to the children in bright red envelopes.

I have incorporated chinese money symbols in my template design by placing three symbols on each bead strip. Three is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture. I also added three 'lucky money' coin charms to the finished bracelet.

Step 1: What You Will Need

You Will Need:
Two Sheets of Chinese Bead Templates printed onto 120 gsm Satin Photo Paper
White Glue
Diamond Glaze
5 Feet of 1 mm Black Elastic
36 Small Gold Beads with a 1 mm hole
2 Gold Split Rings
3 Bronze Coloured Chinese Coin Charms
Bead Roller
Metal Ruler, Cutting Mat and Craft Knife
Red Sharpie
Tub of Toothpicks
White Styrofoam Packing to Stand Toothpicks Up In

Step 2: Cut Your Strips

Using the metal ruler, craft knife and cutting mat, carefully cut 14 - 18 strips from your bead templates.

Step 3: Roll Your Beads

Take the bead roller and insert the plain end of your bead strip into the slit. Begin rolling evenly and reasonably tightly I have used a homemade bamboo roller here. It has two halves which open up to slide the paper strips in. I then place the holding bead back onto the end to hold the paper strip tight while I am rolling.

Step 4: Securely Glue the End in Place

When you have a half inch of paper strip left, apply a drop or two of white glue and spread thinly with your finger. Then finish winding, pressing the glued end firmly down. Remove the holding bead and carefully slide your bead off the roller. If the centre pulls out a little, you can easily push it back into place. I have recently begun to use a roller I bought online and the beads are very easy to remove. However, I do prefer rolling with my good old homemade one!

As your beads come off the roller, put each one on a toothpick and stand up in styrofoam packing to await glazing.

Step 5: Color the Ends

Next, take your red Sharpie marker and carefully color both ends of the beads.

Step 6: Glaze Your Beads

Now give your beads at least two coats of diamond glaze. I gave mine three to make them very durable and splash proof.

Step 7: The Fun Part - Stringing Beads!

Now we are ready to make the bracelet. Lay your first bead on the table as in the picture, take your 5 feet of elastic and holding an end in each hand, thread end 1 into hole A and end 2 into hole B. Then pull both ends through until the big loop fits snug against the bead.

Step 8: Add the Gold Beads

Now add one gold bead on each strand of the elastic and repeat the previous step with the next bead. Keep on doing this until all your beads are strung. Keep a watch on the size to see how many beads you need to fit your wrist. Even though this bracelet is stretchy, it can still be too loose or too tight if you don't keep an eye on how many beads you are using. I used 18 for mine. My templates were printed onto 120 gsm weight paper.

Step 9: Make Your Charm

Take the three Chinese coin charms and put them on one of the gold split rings. Then add another split ring to the first one and thread one of the elastic strands through it.

Step 10: Finish and Tie Off

Using the diagram above, take the elastic strand that is coming out of the top of the last bead (A) and push it through the top hole in the first bead your threaded. Pull it out the bottom of the first bead. (See arrows). Pull the bracelet into shape and tie off the ends very securely with a double knot pulled very tight against itself. Then cut the strands of elastic close to the knot.

Step 11: All Done!

And there you have your Chinese inspired 'lucky money' charm bracelet. You can give these away at Chinese New Year or, for a birthday or wedding. In fact any happy celebration!