Design a DIY Bracelet Set: Start With a White Floral Shirt (Summer)
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 September 2020, I purchased this floral no-iron long-sleeved cotton shirt from Lands End ($17.98, on sale) because the light color scheme was different from my usual floral shirts (which tend to have a dark background) while coordinating well with many existing pieces in my closet. I also thought it would be a versatile layering piece year round (which has proven to be true!). In cooler weather, I can wear it under a sweater, cardigan, jacket, and/or vest; in warmer weather, it can be layered over a T or tank as a lightweight jacket/"shacket" (I like it especially with the sleeves rolled up). As this is a fairly recent addition to my wardrobe, I knew I would be prioritizing its wear in the coming seasons to bring down its cost per wear, so it was a good inspiration piece for a DIY bracelet set.
As 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:
(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 a stretch bracelet or two.
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!
Set 1 - White/Green/Pink/Yellow Floral Shirt - Green/Yellow Set
The first paper I selected to coordinate with this shirt was a Coldwater Creek catalog image displaying four sweaters in yellow, white, pink, and green...precisely the colors in my floral shirt and gorgeous for spring. With a paper height/strip length of just over 5.5", I knew these beads would be on the skinny side but workable for the stack of bracelets I had in mind. I cut 7 strips for 1" wide bicones (my typical for bicone paper bead bracelets) as well as some extra 0.5" wide strips with the leftover paper. Because of the side-by-side-and-overlapping layout of the sweaters on the catalog page, my strips had nice wide bands of color down their length.
I liked the white on the strips since that is part of my color scheme, but I generally prefer to color in light/white tips of the strips (which will be the center of the bead when it's rolled) so the final bead has a more vibrant coloration. On these strips, I doctored the pointy ends with marker to color in the white. As you can see the final beads have colorful centers but still show some white elsewhere in the beads. The neat arrangement of color on the strips led to beads that also have a fairly neat arrangement of color in wide stripes/bands. The beads alternate between yellow at the center and yellow at the ends because (as we've seen before) the orientation of the triangles we cut from the paper alternates. I took the 7 1" bicones (measuring 4mm around) and strung them with 5mm white glass beads as spacers on stretch elastic to make the bracelet.
Even though my typical paper bead bracelet set has one with bicones and one with tube beads, this set has two bicone bracelets instead. When I saw the edging on these two Coldwater Creek catalog pages that have a blend of light shades of green, pale blue, yellow, and beige in similar but not identical nature images, I thought these nature images would make nice bicone beads with a softer, more muted coloration and pattern to accompany the other bicones. (Light blue is not part of my color scheme, but I thought the small amounts of this color would be fine in the final beads.) I again cut 7 1" triangular strips (about 9" long this time) and rolled them into 5mm bicone beads. I made a very simple bracelet with the bicone paper beads and 6mm silver ball spacers.
With my two paper bead bracelets ready, I turned to the glass/stone bracelets. Looking at the two bracelets together, I thought that green was the dominant color and hence a good choice for a companion bracelet. I had some medium green 8mm glass beads that I strung with more of the 6mm silver balls. For a second bracelet, I liked the look of the smallest of the camel-gold bracelets in this set I had previously made. While the other two larger bracelets had more brown in them and were strung with gold spacers, the 4mm bracelet was yellower and had no spacer beads. Of course, I could have made a second bracelet just for this set, but it's nice when you can mix and match in pieces you've already made to get more use/value from them.
Here are the finished Green/Yellow set options! Upper left is the two paper bead bracelets alone, then we have paper + green, paper + yellow, and finally paper + green + yellow.
I wore this bracelet for its first outing using the two bicone paper bead bracelets and the green glass bracelet. I supplemented them with a silver spacer bead bracelet (from Amazon) and a DIY mixed metal spacer bead bracelet I made from 5 different colors of 5mm round metallic beads. While the established metallic for this set is silver-tone, I liked how the gold beads in the mixed metal bracelet related to the yellows in the paper beads.
I chose green for the accompanying bracelet color because my outfit of the day had dark green jeans. With the soft pink cardigan, I didn't particularly want to emphasize the yellow component with the camel-gold/yellow stone bracelet so I left it out this time. That's one of the great things about making these coordinated bracelet sets: you don't have to wear the exact same stack each day. You can tweak the stack, and mix and match with other bracelets in your collection, to get the look you want for a given outfit/mood/occasion.
Set 2 - Yellow/Green/Pink/Yellow Floral Shirt: Pink/Lime Set
Here is our inspiration floral shirt again. I decided to make a second set of bracelets based on this color scheme but highlighting the pink from the floral print that was less emphasized in the first set of bracelets.
I wish I had remembered to photograph the original paper and the triangular strips for this bicone bead bracelet! (It took me a while to get in the swing of things and get those photos every time.) But this is how the beads in the first bracelet I made for this set turned out...4mm 1" bicones in pink and lime-yellow with bits of taupe and black. I picked up on citrus-y color in the beads when I put the bracelet together, using 5mm lime glass pearls as spacers.
To accompany that bracelet, I wanted beads that were mostly pink with hints of green. I was intrigued by this illustration from The Economist that is primary shades of pink but with some green and light blue as well. At 4.5" tall, this image made skinny beads (3.5mm) but they fit the color scheme and vibe I was going for. I used 5mm silver ball spacer beads and a pretty butterfly bead in finishing the bracelet.
I didn't need to make any new glass/stone bracelets to complete this set! I had already made this 8mm oblong dusky pink quartz and silver bracelet and the 6mm rectangular dark lime-yellow jade and silver bracelet. Both of them were perfect for this bracelet set!
Here are the various stacks created from this bracelet set, starting with the paper bead bracelets alone at upper left, then paper + pink, paper + lime, and finally paper + pink + lime.
I wore this bracelet set the first time with this olive and ivory striped pullover sweater, so I chose the pink quartz bracelet instead of the lime jade bracelet as the coordinating piece. To fill out the stack, it was very simple to add metallic bracelets in silver, gold, and rose gold (all from Amazon, purchased as a set of 6 with 2 in each metallic tone). I love how the butterfly looks in this set, so cheerful!
I wore this shirt on a cool spring day, when the calendar has you itching for the pastels of spring but the weather is insisting on layers. I kept to an easy olive color scheme for the pants and ballet flats to coordinate with the sweater. The light floral shirt is a small touch, but along with the bracelet set is giving me some spring vibes here. Of course, for a warmer day, this outfit would work very well without the sweater at all, wearing the floral shirt as a stand-alone top.
A collared shirt + pullover sweater combo is a great platform for wearing a layered necklace, so I added 3 to my outfit: one long pendant, one short one, and a multi-color resin chain link necklace. Remember the 3 metallic bracelets in my stack? I wore this gold/silver palm leaf pendant to keep that mixed metal look going.
Do you have a print shirt that you expect to be wearing on repeat in the warm weather seasons this year?
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