How to Make Stretchy Bracelets with Elastic Cord

a hand holding jewelry with round black beads against pink silkCreating your jewelry is a lesson in creativity. There’s nothing quite like putting in the time and effort to craft a beautiful bracelet with your tastes in mind.

The tricky aspect of bracelets is how to craft a piece of jewelry that can hold up to wear and tear. Elastic cord is the go-to tool for many DIY beaded bracelet techniques, able to cling to your wrist without slipping and sliding. New crafters and experienced designers regularly use the elastic cord for home jewelry projects.

Want to learn how to make stretchy bracelets with an elastic cord? Read on to add a new jewelry-making technique to your repertoire!

What Supplies Do I Need to Make a Beaded Bracelet?

Your first order of business is to get all the right supplies to create a beaded bracelet. Many of these supplies can be found at your local art store or ordered online.

  • Elastic beading cord
  • Beading tray
  • Your beads of choice
  • Large eye beading needle or a beading wire
  • Jewelry glue
  • Craft scissors
  • Measurement tape
  • Bead stopper

If you’re thinking of going the extra mile with your project, you can also consider the following supplies:

  • Crimp bead covers
  • Ribbons
  • Colorful string

Lastly, you should consider the following tools if you’re feeling extra creative:

  • A small sketchbook for drawing out ideas
  • Pencils
  • Paint pens

What Kind of Beads Should I Use?

Beaded bracelets are beautiful partially for their incredible versatility. You can turn almost anything into a bead if you try hard enough, such as shells, cloth, or canvas. 

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll recommend some starter beads below!

Plastic Beads are a Classic Option

You can’t go wrong with classic plastic beads. Both beginners and experienced crafters prefer plastic beads for their ease of use, colorful appearance, and longevity.

Plastic beads always come with larger holes to make threading easier.

Glass Beads Add a Sophisticated Twist

Do you want a material that’s a little fancier? Consider adding glass beads to your project. Glass beads are an excellent option in-between affordable plastic beads and more expensive stones.

Wooden Beads Are Rustic and Charming

Last but not least, step off the beaten path with wooden beads. These beads are carefully sanded to be as smooth as possible and usually come with large holes for threading.

Keep in mind wooden beads need different upkeep compared to their plastic and glass counterparts. They should already come varnished and shouldn’t get wet if you can help it.

What Kind of Stretch Cord Should I Get?

Elastic cords are highly practical for their ability to easily fit around your wrist and cling to your skin. They don’t slip and slide as much as a bangle does. Unsurprisingly, elastic cords are extra popular with rambunctious kids who don’t want to lose their jewelry during playtime!

Below are the different types of stretch cord you should consider for your project:

Stretch Floss is Durable and Tough

Do you want a stretch cord that isn’t quite so stretchy? Stretch floss gives you the best of both worlds with a durable and fibrous design.

The downside to stretch floss is that it can fray sometimes due to its intertwined design. Be mindful of using this material for children’s bracelets.

Stretch Cord is a Great Starter Option

If stretch floss is a little too stiff for your tastes, try a basic stretch cord. This cord is made with a single, rubbery strand and is very easy to thread.

The downside of using stretch cord is the somewhat lower durability, but this issue shouldn’t be a problem for jewelry designs with several beads.

Fabric Covered Elastic Cord

Do you want your bracelet to be as colorful and zesty as possible? Fabric covered elastic cord gives you an extra pop of color for your DIY design.

Fabric covered elastic cord is on the thicker side, so be aware of your threading limitations. Beads with smaller holes likely won’t fit the elastic cord.
Related: How To Style Your Charm Necklace Like A Pro

How Do I Measure My Elastic Cord?

Most elastic cord comes in .5mm diameter to 1mm diameter. If you’re not sure which one to use, consider buying a few different kinds and experimenting.

How To Make Stretchy Bracelets With Elastic Cord

Now for the best part of all! Making stretchy bracelets with elastic cord is super easy once you get the hang of it. The most difficult part for beginners will likely be learning the limitations of their stretch cord.

We’re a big fan of beaded bracelets, so make sure to have fun with the entire process! You’ll learn just as much about yourself as you will about crafting jewelry.

Step #1: Take Your Wrist Measurements

Your first order of business is to measure your wrist. Below are common measurements for bracelets:

  • Four inches around for a young child
  • Five to six inches around for an older child
  • Seven inches around for a small adult wrist
  • Eight inches around for a medium adult wrist
  • Nine inches around for a large adult wrist

Step #2: Consider What Kind of Beads Feel Most Comfortable

You want to wear a bracelet that’s as comfortable as possible. Larger beads will feel a little tighter on your wrist, while small beads will feel more loose. Both options are fine depending on your tastes!

Step #3: Cut Your Elastic

It’s time to start cutting your elastic. We highly recommend doing a double cord to increase your bracelet durability, though you can always use a single cord if it suits your project better.

The measurements you need to trim your elastic is to take your wrist measurement, multiply it by two, then add an extra twelve inches. Adding a little extra length will give you some wiggle room as you add your beads. You can always trim off the excess later.

Step #4: Give Your Elastic Cord a Little Pre Stretch

Why should you pre stretch your elastic cord? This action is useful for getting some of the extra stretch out of the way so your bracelet doesn’t change shape on you later. 

Step #5: Tie Down the End of Your Cord

You need to make sure your beads don’t slide off. Secure the end of your cord with a bead stopper or a binder clip.

Step #6: Arrange Your Beads

It’s time to set up your beads and figure out how you want to arrange them on the cord. We mentioned in the supply list purchasing a bead tray, which is an ideal tool if you have a particularly complex project on your hands.

Related: The Best Summer Jewelry For This Year

We believe in the power of self-expression. We established LaCkore Couture to empower women to choose carefully crafted jewelry with durable materials.

a yellow, orange, and beige bracelet resting against a stone on a gray background

Step #7: String Your Beads

Now you need to string your beads! Stringing your beads by hand is one way you can go about your project, especially if you’re using beads with large holes.

If your beads are on the smaller side, use a beading needle to guide them onto the string. We recommend putting the largest bead with the largest hole on first. You’ll see why further below!

Step #8: Periodically Check Your Progress

Don’t be so quick to put all your beads onto the cord. In-between beads you need to put your bracelet onto your wrist to check your progress. You want to make sure you’re not putting on too many or too little.

Step #9: Tie a Knot to Secure Your Bracelet

Once you’re done adding all your beads, your final order of business is to tie a knot to secure the cord. Not only will this knot keep your beads from sliding off, it’ll keep the entire creation snug on your wrist.

We recommend doing a surgeon’s knot to ensure your bracelet doesn’t come undone. Follow the guide here.

Step #10: Secure Your Knot Further With Glue

You’re not quite done yet! Once you’ve completed your knot, you need to go the extra mile and use glue to secure it. 

We don’t recommend using super glue or nail polish glue for your bracelet. While these solutions work quickly, they don’t last long and will cause your bracelet to fall apart. Try a more flexible glue designed for fabrics and jewelry instead.

Step #11: Hide Your Knot Inside a Bead

Once you’re finished, you can hide your knot inside a bead. This action will make your design look more polished and complete.

Remember that this step is only possible if the knot is small enough to be threaded through a bead hole. We mentioned earlier to put the largest bead with the largest hole on first for this exact reason. You should have no trouble hiding your elastic cord knot now!

Step #12: Trim Off Excess Cord and Enjoy!

Your very last step is to trim off excess cord. Be careful not to trim too close to the knot so you don’t cut through it.

Once you’re finished, your bracelet is finished and ready to be worn! With a little extra care, your bracelet can last for years. Make sure not to wear it when you sleep or get it wet to protect its design.

How Do You Make An Adjustable Stretchy Bracelet?

By nature, the stretchy cord can expand to fit your wrist. But if you want to control the bracelet more, you can make it adjustable. It always helps to watch a tutorial on how to make an adjustable bracelet with a stretchy cord. There are a few ways to make an adjustable stretchy bracelet:

What is the Best Knot for a Stretch Bracelet?

The surgeon’s knot is the best knot for a stretch bracelet. This is a solid knot that doesn’t slip. To make a surgeon’s knot:

  1. Tie the right cord over the left cord.
  2. Then tie the left cord over the right cord.
  3. Create a second knot by tying the right cord over the left cord.
  4. Then loop the right cord around two more times. (By this point, you should have looped the right cord over the left cord three times.)
  5. Pull tight.

Our Best Tips for Making Stretchy Bracelets

Stretchy bracelets are a fun, comfortable accessory, but they’re the worst when they break. That’s where we can help. Here are solid tips for making your stretchy bracelets last longer:

  • Use the thickest, high-quality elastic cord possible. You want to get the thickest elastic that will fit through your beads because thickness equals cord strength. Your beads will dictate the cord size, but if you want your bracelet to last longer, try to get an elastic cord that is 0.7mm to 1 mm.
  • Pre-stretch your elastic cord. You need to break in the elastic a little before you string it. This helps the bracelet hold its shape so that you don’t get gaps between beads or sagging after you’ve worn the bracelet a few times. Pull the ends taut a few times before stringing to stretch the cord.
  • Be smart about bead choice. Not all beads will work well for stretchy bracelets. The beads can be too heavy, too irregular, or have too big of a threading hole.
  • Use the surgeon’s knot to keep the bracelet from untying. This is the best knot to keep your elastic from slipping or coming undone.
  • Secure your knot with an adhesive. Seal it with glue or nail polish for extra hold once you’ve made your knot. The best adhesive is an instant drying adhesive like super glue or craft glue.

Why do Stretchy Bracelets Break?

The most common reasons why stretch bracelets break and how to avoid it:

  • You put the bracelet on wrong, wearing out the elastic. People often stretch the bracelet out and then put their hands inside. This puts a lot of stress on your elastic. Slip your hand in first, minimizing the stretch on the bracelet.
  • Worn too often. If you wear your bracelet daily, the elastic will eventually give from wear and tear. Our solution is to mix it up. Rotate your favorite stretch bracelets.
  • Crimp beads put added stress on the elastic. Crimp beads are often made of metal, which cut away at the elastic over time. Bracelets that don’t have these beads last longer.

Check out our favorite stretch bracelets that are on trend this season.

Related Link: How to Make a Beaded Bracelet

Fun Fashion Tips for DIY Bracelets

Now that your bracelet is done, you’re probably itching to start pairing it with your outfits. We have a few fun ideas to get you started.

Toss Your Bracelet On With a Sundress

Sundresses are breezy, whimsical, and easy to wear. These dresses are often worn with simple sandals or a sunhat. Your bracelet will add an extra note of charm to a straightforward ensemble!

Pair Your Bracelet With Other Creations

Now that you’ve made a bracelet, you should consider trying your hand at a necklace or a beaded ring. DIY creations have as much personality as you’re willing to give them!

Match Your Bracelet With Eyeshadow

Want to go for a more balanced appearance? Look at the dominant colors of your bracelet, then have your makeup follow suit.

If your bracelet is extremely colorful, consider going all out with rainbow eyeshadow or colorful nails.

Related: How To Choose The Best Way To Style Your Necklaces

bright blue, dark blue, and gold bracelets resting against a white table

Have Fun With It!

Creating your very own DIY bracelet is fun, relaxing, and incredibly fashionable. While it’ll take a little time for you to get the hang of the elastic cord, you’ll learn to love this fantastic tool.

Beaded bracelets are quite durable when made correctly and using the right tools. If you have more complex designs you want to try, consider putting them off and starting simple. As long as you’re having fun, you’re already on the right track!

Looking for inspiration for your next DIY bracelet project? Contact us today to try out handcrafted bracelets, necklaces, and bangles made with long-lasting materials!