How to Make a Leather and Bead Wrap Bracelet

Chan Luu style wrap bracelet instructions

Originally made popular by jewelry designer Chan Luu, these bead and leather wrap bracelets are still super trendy today.  It's easy to see why they remain popular. The design is simple, but versatile. It has endless combinations by changing the color of the leather cord, varying the number of times it wraps around the wrist and, of course, the types and sizes of the beads.

Best of all, this stylish bracelet is super easy to make by stitching beads onto cord using the same technique that is...MORE used to weave beads on a loom.  

This tutorial will show you how to make a triple wrap Chan Luu style leather and bead bracelet.  But, if you are new to this style of bracelet or just in a hurry, it is easy to adjust these instructions to make a shorter bracelet than the one shown here.  You will use fewer materials, and you won't need to stop and a new thread before you finish.

  • 01 of 18

    Leather and Bead Wrap Bracelet Materials

    Four wrap leather bead bracelet tutorial
    A completed four wrap leather cord and bead bracelet. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    These instructions use 4mm faceted Czech fire-polished glass beads and magatama beads.  A wide variety of beads are suitable for these bracelets, but the 4mm beads are a good size to start with if you have never made one before. You can substitute any beads that stack to a similar size as the 4mm beads in place of the magatama beads. I chose three specialty finish colors for the Czech beads.

    The quantities listed below are per 7 inches of bracelet band. For a longer band, divide the total inches...MORE by 7, and multiply that number by the quantities below.

    4mm round Czech fire polished beads:

    • 15 of color A (I used olivine copper)
    • 15 of color B (I used HurriCane raspberry mint ice cream)
    • 15 of color C (I used aquamarine celsian)

    3mm Magatamas:

    • 12-15 of color D (I used opaque turquoise)
    • 12-15 of color E (I used gold luster green tea)

    Additional supplies needed for the bracelet are:

    • 6-pound smoke colored Fireline beading thread
    • Size 10 beading needle
    • 2mm round Greek leather black cord
    • Sturdy side cutters (also called flush cut wire cutters)
    • An office clipboard
    • Masking tape or painter's tape
    • A measuring tape
    • Ruler or yard stick (to measure the leather cord)
    • Thread burner
    • 17mm antiqued pewter round leaf print button 
    • Optional: C-Lon beading cord in black.
  • 02 of 18

    Measure and Cut the Leather Cord

    Bulk Greek leather cord
    Bulk greek leather cord. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Start by wrapping a measuring tape around your wrist as many times as you'd like wraps in your bracelet. Adjust the tape so that it looks just a little looser than you want your bracelet. The extra space is to adjust for the thickness of the beads that takes up some of the length. Write down the length.

    For the bracelet in the example, my measurement was about 24 inches.

    Add 12 inches (30.5 cm) to your measurement, and then double that number. This is the length of leather cord you should cut....MORE This is a little more cord than you'll actually use, but gives you plenty of room to make the final knots.

    For example:

    • Wrist measurement: 24 inches
    • 24 + 12 = 36 inches
    • 36 x 2 = 72 inches of cord

    Cut the cord with side cutters.

  • 03 of 18

    String the Button Clasp

    Wrap Leather Bracelet Tutorial
    Button clasp added to the cord. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Thread the cord up through one hole in the button and down through the other. Make adjustments until the button is centered on the cord.

    If you would like, you can tie a tight overhand knot with the cords just below the button to keep it in place. From my experience, this is mostly a question of aesthetics; I haven't noticed any real difference in the way the bracelets wear with and without the knot.

    However, I prefer wrapping a piece of C-Lon cord around the button end of the bracelet a more...MORE finished appearance, and encourages the final wrap to lie flat against your wrist -- without the added bulk of another knot in the leather cord. (see step 17)

  • 04 of 18

    Secure the Cord and Begin the Thread

    leather and bead wrap bracelet tutorial
    The leather cord in place on the clipboard with the Fireline tied in place. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    The clipboard is used to hold the bracelet project as you are working on it.  It will hold the leather cord securely while you weave the beads in place.

    To begin, clamp the button end of the cord beneath the clip on your clipboard.

    Use the side cutters to cut a strand of Fireline that is at least two arm's spans long. (Longer thread is more difficult to work with, but reduces the number of times you need to start a new thread.)

    Thread the needle for double-strand beading, so that your needle is...MORE in the middle of the cord and both ends are the same length.  Leave the thread ends loose.

    Bring the ends of the thread together, and use a square knot to tie them around one strand of the leather cord close to the clip on the clipboard. Leave a pair of thread tails at least eight inches long ​so that you can weave them into the beads later to hide them.

    If you are right handed, I recommend you tie your thread onto the left cord (as shown); if you're left-handed, tie it onto the cord on the right-hand side. This will make it easier.

    Use a piece of tape to hold down the thread tails.

    Continue to 5 of 18 below.
  • 05 of 18

    String and Position the First Bead

    First bead in position
    Press each bead up between the leather cords with your finger as you make each stitch. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Pick up 1 bead of color A with the needle, and slide it all the way down on the thread. Alternatively, you can hold the bead in place with one hand and use your other hand to pull the​ thread through it.

    Pass the needle beneath both strands of leather cord, and use your finger to push the bead up between them.

    Because I'm right-handed, I passed my thread beneath the cords from left to right. If you're left handed, you should pass them under from right to left.

  • 06 of 18

    Stitch the First Bead

    wrap bead and leather Chan Luu style bracelet instructions
    Thread path for stitching the first bead. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Pass the needle back through the bead on top of both leather cords.

    Use your fingers to hold the bead in place while you pull the thread taut. Pull slowly to avoid tangles, and make sure that both strands of your double strand of thread pull down snugly against the leather cord. If the thread does begin to tangle, stop and straighten it out before the knot tightens.

  • 07 of 18

    Slide the Bead into Place

    Chan Luu style wrap bracelet tutorial
    The first bead stitched in place. Chris Franchetti Michaels.

    Slide the first bead a little closer to the clip on the clipboard. Do this for the first few beads that you stitch so that your beadwork begins relatively close to the button.

  • 08 of 18

    String the Second Bead

    wrap leather bead bracelet tutorial
    Thread path for the second bead. Chris Franchetti Michaels.

    Pick up 1 bead of color B and slide it down. Pass the needle and thread beneath both strands of leather cord again, and use your finger to push the bead up between the cords.

    Continue to 9 of 18 below.
  • 09 of 18

    Make the Second Stitch

    wrap leather and bead bracelet tutorial
    Thread path for the third bead. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Pass back through the beads, and slowly pull the thread taut again.

  • 10 of 18

    Stitch the Third Bead

    Leather bead wrap bracelet diagram
    Leather bead wrap bracelet diagram. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Use the same technique to string and stitch 1 bead of color C.

  • 11 of 18

    Keep Stitching Beads

    bead and leather wrap bracelet instructions
    Repeat this motif to bead the pattern. Chris Franchetti Michaels.

    Stitch another set of 1 color A, 1 color B, and 1 color C, and then stitch a group of 3 magatama beads (bead D) as if they were a single bead.

    Stitch two more sets of beads A, B and C (for a total of six beads), and then stitch a group of 3 magatama beads in color F.

    Alternate between those two sequences as you continue to stitch beads.

    Stop and end the thread (see the next step) when you have only eight inches remaining to work with. End with a 4mm fire polished bead. In the example, I completed...MORE almost nine inches of beadwork before I arrived at this point.

  • 12 of 18

    End the Old Thread

    Multi-wrap leather and bead bracelet tutorial
    Weaving in the thread end. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    To weave in your old thread, turn the beadwork over and pass the needle back through the last bead that you stitched. By turning the beadwork over, you are stitching beneath the leather cords, rather than on top of them.

    Tie a half-hitch knot over the thread exiting the bead you just passed through.

    Turn the beadwork over so that it is right side up again, and pass back through the bead again, on top of the leather cords.

    Turn the beadwork over again and pass back through the bead on that side.

    Turn...MORE it back over, right side up, and pass through the bead one last time.

    Use a thread burner to trim both strands of thread close to where they exit the bead.

    Continue to 13 of 18 below.
  • 13 of 18

    Add a New Thread

    multi-wrap leather bead bracelet instructions
    A new thread begun and another bead stitched. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Prepare a new length of thread and tie it onto the leather cord just like you did in Step 4.

    Continue where you left off stringing beads. We will come back and weave in the thread tails later.

  • 14 of 18

    Complete the Beading

    leather bead wrap bracelet DIY
    Both ends of the completed beadwork. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Keep beading, stopping to add a new thread whenever your old thread begins to run out. For my multi-wrap bracelet, I needed to add thread a few times. As the band starts to become long, take the time to stop occasionally and check its length by wrapping it around your wrist.

    As the bracelet gets longer, you may feel comfortable working with the bracelet removed from the clip board.

    The point at which you stop adding beads is a bit of a judgment call. I stopped when the band felt loose enough to...MORE wear comfortably and there was a gap of about 1.5 inches between the last bead at the end and the button at the beginning when I wrapped the band around my wrist.

  • 15 of 18

    Weave-In the Thread Tails

    leather wrap bracelet with woven beads tutorial
    The thread tails are now woven-in and trimmed. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Go back and weave in and trim all of the remaining tails of beading thread. Try to thread both strands of each tail through the eye of your needle; if you have trouble doing this, you can weave them in one at a time.

    To weave in, use the technique you used in Step 12 to end the first thread.

  • 16 of 18

    Tie the End Knots

    Button and loop clasp on multi-wrap bracelet
    The button and loop clasp. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Tie an overhand knot with both strands of leather cord close the last bead in your band, and use your fingers to pull it as tight as you can.

    Using the button as a measuring guide, begin a second overhand knot. I usually make the space between the two knots slightly longer than the diameter of the button, but some designers make it even longer.

    Pull the second knot tight, being careful to keep the space between the knot big enough for the button. Double check the fit with your button one last time...MORE before pulling the second knot as tight as you can. the second knot as tight as you can.

    Continue to 17 of 18 below.
  • 17 of 18

    Optional: Wrap the Cord Below the Button

    Multi-wrap leather and bead bracelet
    The cords wrapped with C-Lon cord below the button. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Recall that in Step 1 I mentioned that you can tie a knot below the button on your cord.

    Another option is to wait until your beadwork is complete, and then wrap a strand of C-Lon beading cord around both leather cords several times. Tie off the C-lon cord with a square knot, and use scissors to trim it.

  • 18 of 18

    Complete Your Leather and Bead Wrap Bracelet

    leather wrap bead bracelet instructions
    The completed wrap bead bracelet. Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Use side cutters to trim the two loose ends of leather cord at least one inch away from the second knot.

    That's it! Your bracelet is now ready to wear. Once you get the hang of it, you can try weaving in a variety of different beads and even adding charms at various points in the bracelet.