Over five years ago, I posted a braided bracelet with charms added to it. The first comment I got on it included a really interesting idea: making it look like the solar system. When I started with a few space-related designs, I was reminded of that comment and thought it would be the perfect moment to actually execute it!
Since the beads are quite big, I made the braided band itself a bit broader than last time. To give it a space-like look, I went with four black strands and one white strand. Another option would have been to make it completely black and add white paint splatters, or make the bracelet even wider and add some more galaxy colours. As I'll describe in more detail later, I didn't get any beads specifically for this project - I tried to find the best match with what I had.
Step 1: Materials
To make your own solar system bracelet, you'll need (not everything pictured is needed):
- faux suede lace / black and white
- cord crimps
- jump rings
- flat nose pliers
- selection of beads / more about that in the next step
Step 2: Planet Selection
The most fun and most crucial step of this project - choosing the beads you want to use! I added two pictures to this step, the first one shows my initial selection. The second picture shows the beads I ended up using, slightly different than the first. I used three different sizes of beads, trying not to make Jupiter the same size as Mercury for example.
*Side note: I included Pluto as well, it's simply part of the way I see the solar system*
Mercury: one of the three smallest beads I used. Try to find something with neutral colours. I went with a clear/black bead mainly because I couldn't find a grey one I liked.
Venus: middle sized bead, making sure to have it slightly larger than Mercury. For the colour, I personally found this one the most challenging. It has the gas cloud horizontal stripe effect and a bit of an orange/yellow colour, so I ended up with a greyish bead with an orange swirl.
Earth: middle sized bead as well. The colour to use seems quite obvious - blue with green - but I didn't have one laying around. The blue/clear bead still gives the impression of water and clouds, so that works pretty well.
Mars: back to the small beads for this one! The small red bead has a crackle effect to it (the same as Mercury, Earth, Saturn and Pluto, but this is the only one in one full colour) to prevent it from looking like the same colour all around and give it a bit more dimension.
Jupiter: one of the two biggest beads I used. I'd say it was probably the easiest find and the closest match : ). Try looking for a caramel/orange/light brown coloured bead, preferably with some kind of horizontal pattern in a lighter colour (the swirl effect on mine is white).
Saturn: another middle sized bead. The main challenge for me was choosing between yellow and orange - I used yellow eventually because the colour I used for Jupiter is already quite close to orange and that bead is directly next to it.
Uranus: the other big bead I used - basically a blue version of the one used for Jupiter. I switched between using this bead for Neptune and Uranus a few times, the main reason for choosing this one over the one used for Neptune was the difference in colour. I wanted to have a slightly brighter colour here and something a tiny bit darker/ neutral for Neptune.
Neptune: middle sized bead again, it's slightly greyish blue with a black swirl. As described above, the main reason for picking this bead was the colour difference.
Pluto: and that's the last small bead! Just like for Mercury, I wanted to use a neutral colour. Since I didn't want to use the same bead twice, I ended up using a clear bead with crackle effect.
Step 3: Starting the Bracelet
Cut off four black pieces and one white piece of the lace. Twice the length of your bracelet should easily be enough. Align the ends and place one of the cord crimps on top of it. Close it using flat nose pliers, making sure to have all five laces in there, as flat next to each other as possible.
Step 4: Braiding
Starting with the lace on the left side, go over the cord on the right of it. Keep changing between going over and under the next lace until you get to the end and can move on with the next lace!
Step 5: Ending the Braid
Once the braid is long enough, try to get the ends straight next to each other and cut off the remaining parts. Add a cord crimp to the end and close it up.
Step 6: Turning Beads Into Charms
Using the head pins, your round nose pliers and your flat nose pliers, it's time to make some charms! Add the beads to the headpins and hold the end at the bottom of the round nose pliers. Bend the wire towards the bead to create the main part of the circle. To let it sit nicely on top of your bead, use the flat nose pliers to slighlty bend the circle up.
Step 7: Adding a Closure
Take both of the jump rings and add them through the ends of the bracelet. Add a clasp to one of the sides as well.
Step 8: Adding the Planets
Open up the loops of the charms to add them to the bracelet. For the division of the planets on the bracelet, I tried to keep the distances between the planets as realistic as possible on this bracelet. The main thing to note for that is that there's quite a bit of space between Mars an Jupiter.