Father’s Day Bling: DIY Hemp Beaded Bracelets
I know bracelets aren’t the first thing you think of for a Father’s Day gift but around here in southern California they’re pretty common among the surfer Dad types. Hemp bracelets have a cool natural earthy feel to them that all dads will find fun, especially if they are decorated with homemade beads made by their awesome kids. (If your pop is too cool for a bracelet, you can always convert it into a keychain.)
Here’s how we made ours.
Supplies for hemp beaded bracelet:
1. Hemp string, the thinner the better for fitting through narrow bead holes.
2. Some manly-man beads (your kids will get a kick out of searching the bead aisles of your local craft store for what Dad might like) Just make sure the holes are big enough to fit hemp string through them.
Supplies for homemade beads:
1. Sculpey clay or any kind of non-toxic, oven-bakeable, polymer clay
2. a rolling pin
4. butter knife
How to make homemade beads:
Step 1: Open your polymer clay and kneed it in your palm for a few minutes until it’s soft and pliable. Then roll it out in a cutting board or a parchment paper-covered surface. When your clay is about 1/8 inch thick, cut your beads with a butter knife. You can make them any shape you like as long they have a place for your hemp string to go through. We had fun creating manly shapes in black and red clay that looked a little bit like tire tread. You can decorate your beads with different colored pieces of clay or carve the word “Dad” into them with a toothpick. Even the serrated end of your butter knife will make neat texture.
We even made some fingerprint beads which were really fun. Dad will always have a reminder of how little his daughter’s thumb once was. It was really sweet.
Step 2: After we had formed all our beads we took the blunt end of a toothpick and pushed through our threading holes.
Step 3: Then bake your beads according to your clay’s instructions (usually 15 minutes at 250 degrees F.). Let them cool and you are ready to string! (Please follow all the directions closely with your polymer clay especially when baking it. Overcooking polymer clays can release toxic chemicals into the air. Also keeping the kitchen well-ventilated is always a good idea.)
Once we had all our beads ready, we lined them up on a ruler so we could plan out the bracelet design. Then we took a length of twine (make sure it’s longer than the width of Dad’s wrist) and then doubled it. We made a big loop at one end (that will be the closure loop when we’re done) and tied a bunch of knots. There are lots of fancy ways to tie knots to make designs but we did the basic knot. After every four knots or so, we strung a bead. I like the look of when you tie more knots and use less beads. When we got to the end of our bracelet length, we tied on a big bead that would fit through our end closure loop but not too easily. That’s all there is to it. No need for special clasps. Just a loop and a big bead that will fit through it snugly. Of course you could add a clasp if you wanted to. But we opted to keep it simple.
Happy Father’s Day!
Difficulty Level: easy! Stringing beads is good for all ages. Pre-school aged children might need help with tying knots.
Appropriate Age levels: Four and up. Be sure to have a responsible adult on hand to bake beads, watch butter knife usage and that nobody tries to eat the polymer clay.