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Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start With a Colorful Striped Top

Today I'm back with another example of designing a coordinated DIY bracelet set with a mix of paper bead bracelets and stone/glass bead bracelets that you will love and actually wear again and again!

In my post about creating a colorful summer capsule wardrobe for high priority wear items, I flagged this beige striped top as one of my 13 high priority items for summer 2022. I purchased it from Lands End online in May 2020 for $35.97; it was on sale, but it's still a bit of a pricey top in that I will need to wear it 36 times to get it at a cost per wear (CPW) below $1. (So far, I have worn it 14 times for a current CPW of $2.57.)

But I just fell so hard for this top that even though I didn't need it per se, it was easy to find a place for it in my closet! I loved the 100% linen fabric, roomy cut, gorgeous colors, vertical stripes, and shoulder button detail as a great stand-alone top for summer. If anything, I like the top even more than I thought I would because it fits very well, is comfortable, and works with a wide array of bottom pieces. So I'm happy to have it in high rotation this summer. And because I know I will be wearing it frequently, it makes sense to design a bracelet set to wear with it! And since I often wear this top with gold jewelry, I chose gold as the metallic for finishing the bracelet set.

To I make them right now, the paper bead bracelets are the core of the bracelet sets, to which I add glass/stone and metallic bracelets to finish them. My method for designing the coordinated set involves:

(1) Picking out magazine/catalog paper for the paper bead bracelets, preferably 1-2 each of bicone and tube;

(2) Making the paper beads and creating stretch bracelets with paper + spacer beads (with a choice of silver, gold, or neither as the metal);

(3) Picking glass/stone beads that coordinate to make 1-3 stretch bracelets.

Remember that when making paper bicone beads, you are looking for a page that has an overall color palette that you like (though the design will be obscured when the bead is rolled) and that is large enough to cut your entire triangular strips from. For making paper tube beads, you only need a small area of paper with the desired design (which will show when the bead is rolled) because the fancy paper can be glued to boring paper that is completely covered in the rolling process.

Let's get started!

The first paper I selected for my beige striped top bracelet set was this Lands End catalog page with a large scale image of a multi-color striped tote bag that has a lot of overlap with the color and the fabric texture of my linen striped top. I cleaned up the edge of the page and oriented it this way so that I could cut vertical rectangular strips for making tube beads. Orienting the paper this way means I can cut strips so that all of the tote bag colors are represented in different shown in the second image; if I'd cut the strips the other way, they'd all be either green or brown at the end (which is all that shows on rolled tube beads) and I wouldn't have enough of them.

One consequence of how I oriented the paper is that the colored stripes go sideways on the beads. It's easier to see the stripes when they go around the bead instead of across, but I think these beads still look good this way. The woven appearance of the wide stripes is very interesting. Here are the finished beads after I had painted the ends with gold metallic acrylic paint and sealed them with two coats of Diamond Glaze. I finished the bracelet with simple gold ball spacer beads.

Bead/bracelet stats:

Lands End catalog page

7" long / 0.5" wide tube strips

3/32" paper bead roller

Rolled into 4mm tube paper beads

Strung with 5mm gold ball spacer beads

Next I picked out this pretty array of linen shirts from a Coldwater Creek catalog to make a set of bicone beads. The front shirt with the beige/peach/pink color scheme is perfect for my striped top, and the peach and light blue shirts also fit the colors. The yellow and soft green are technically not in my striped top but I thought they'd still coordinate well. This time I cut the strips lengthwise so that each strip would include all the colors.

As we've seen before, bicone strips cut from a catalog layout with an array of items (side by side or stacked) results in beads with a multi-colored striped look. In this case, the stripes are softened because the beige floral shirt (which covers half the length of the strip) is not a solid block of color; even though the floral print is not at all visible in the final bead, the splotches of color do appear. I like how these "splotchy striped" beads turned out! (And yes, this shows the beads after two coats of glaze.) On the bracelet, I alternated the green-centered and beige-centered beads, and I once again completed it with gold spacer beads.

Bead/bracelet stats:

Coldwater Creek catalog page

7" long / 1" wide bicone strips

3/32" paper bead roller

Rolled into 4mm tube paper beads

Strung with 5mm gold ball spacer beads

For my last set of beads, I selected this Coldwater Creek catalog page with a stack of gauze tops in soft colors that coordinated with the other papers. The only issue was the text section at the left that covered some of the image. But I only need a 4" wide image to cut 7 1" bicone beads, and I had more than enough even after removing the text area from the page.

One of the (very minor) downsides to using catalog pages is that they do have text on them. Some are text boxes that can be cut away, as I did above. But sometimes there is text over the images, too...such as the white or black text on these shirts that tells you what colorway of shirt is pictured. Also, you sometimes get the tags from garments in the image, as we do here. But these extraneous tags, text, empty white space, etc., can be covered with marker (or paint). Remember that on bicone beads, only the outer edges and the pointed end of the strip will show on the rolled bead, so those are the only areas you need to touch up. And of course you are certainly free to ignore those extraneous bits and roll the paper into beads as-is! But I do generally like to do a bit of doctoring to cover or at least obscure those areas.

Similarly to the array of shirts above, these strips rolled into bicone beads with a softened striped look due to the print scarf on the image. Rather than splotches, here they look like dots and lines. Actually, to me the overall vibe of these beads is of sliced watermelon with seeds. (These are also shown after 2 coats of glaze.) To make the bracelet, I used some navy faceted crystal (glass) beads as spacer beads.

Bead/bracelet stats:

Coldwater Creek catalog page

8" long / 1" wide bicone strips

5/64" paper bead roller

Rolled into 4.5mm tube paper beads

Strung with 6mm navy faceted crystal beads

I identified pink, navy, and beige/brown as the most prevalent colors in my finished paper bead bracelets and made glass/stone bracelets in those colors to coordinate. I already had the rose-brown 6mm glass bracelet with gold rose-shaped spacers from another bracelet set I'd made. So I made two new bracelets: a light dusky pink 6mm glass bracelet and dark blue/navy 6mm lapis lazuli stone bracelet. I didn't add any metallic spacer beads to these bracelets for a simple reason: I expect I will be using them as part of other bracelet sets that might have silver or no metallic in them, so leaving them plain is the most versatile option and will allow the bracelets to work with those other sets also.

Here are the finished bracelet stack possibilities, starting with the 3 paper bead bracelets on the top row, then paper + pink and paper + brown on the second row, and paper + navy and paper + pink + brown + navy on the bottom row.

I wore the bracelet set for the first time with its inspiration striped top over the weekend. I decided to go with the paper + pink + navy version (skipping the rose brown). Seeing the paper bracelets together this way, I actually like that the tote bag tube beads have stripes going across the width of the bead rather than around because it is a different orientation from the two striped bicone beads. In this photo you can also see how the texture of the fabric in the tote bag tube beads mimics that of the linen top.

Coordinated DIY bracelet stack made from upcycled catalog page paper beads and glass/stone beads.

Here's the reason I included the pink and navy bracelets but omitted the rose brown bracelet from the daily stack...I was wearing a pair of dark grey pants (with a similar feel to the navy) and pink flats with the top. I finished the outfit with a very chunky thrifted white faux pearl and gold metallic necklace.

Plus size outfit of the day for spring for women over 40 with a floral shirt, green jeans, and a pink cardigan
OOTD 6/26/22

Do you like to wear linen in the summer? Do you look for stand-alone tops (ones that look interesting/complete and that you like the fit/silhouette of without layering) for warm/hot weather?

Other posts in this series:

DIY Paper Bicone Bead Tutorial

DIY Paper Tube Bead Tutorial

DIY Magazine & Catalog Bicone Bead Examples - Part 1

DIY Magazine & Catalog Paper Bicone Bead Examples - Part 2

DIY Magazine & Catalog Paper Tube Bead Examples - Part 1

Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start With a Scarf (Summer) - Part 1

Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start With a Scarf (Summer) - Part 2

Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start with a White Floral Shirt (Summer)

Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start with a Pink Outfit (Spring)

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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