January 21, 2013

Ombre Beadweaving Bracelet - Year of Jewelry Week 4

Ombre bead weaving bracelet by Sherri Stokey black white and gray

I've had this design dancing around in my head for a few weeks now, which is darned inconvenient when there are other things to be done, but I guess that's the way of it.  I wanted to do an ombre shading piece going from pitch black on one end to stark white on the other.  I thought about how I would do it while I was trying to fall asleep at night:  black to white fading through multiple shades of gray.  And I wanted the transition to take place naturally with no harsh lines or obvious changes.  So I dug through my stash and found these:

Glass seed beads in my black, gray (grey) to white graduating color palette

I made a square stitch base with a mix of the colors and forgot to take a photo of that step, but you can see it here:

Reverse side of bead weaving cuff showing square stitch base

Then I started making loops of seed beads over each of those base beads.  I started using only black in the first rows and then sprinkled in just a few of the dark charcoal color, letting the colors blend. As those ran lower, I added in a few of the next lighter shade of gray and continued all the way across the base until my last rows were pure white.

black end of my loopy fringe bracelet fading to gray

The middle shades of gray in caterpillar bracelet.

Lighter end of caterpillar fringe bracelet showing Swarovski crystal butterfly

I added a few interesting beads on the tops of the loops, just to add some interest.  There are hematite stars, some Czech firepolish and a shiny Swarovski crystal butterfly.  I couldn't decide what to use for a closure, so I auditioned a few different buttons:

Button clasp choices for bead weaving bracelet

My first instinct was the button on the left, but I really liked the idea of a pop of red.  The only red button I had on hand was the flower above and I just didn't like it with the piece.  I really liked the look of the stone cab (the last piece in this photo) but in the end I decided it was just too large and the loop it would take would make the bracelet fit "sloppy".  As you can see, I ended up using my first choice:

Completed caterpillar fringe bead weaving bracelet in black, gray (grey) and white.

In the end, I couldn't be more pleased with this bracelet.  I love the weight of it, both visually and the weight of it on the wrist is lovely.  The loops add lots of subtle movement and the color gradient is exactly what I wanted.  I think I may have to attempt another one of these - maybe next time in teal!

If you enjoyed this week's Year Of Jewelry piece, I hope you will take time to check out the previous ones:  Week 1 RenewalWeek 2 Grace, and Week 3 Music.


  1. This is gorgeous as always! Have always been a fan of ombre.

  2. When I saw your clasp button choices, my first thought was the coral/red one too - but I think your results are perfect when I see the finished piece. I can only imagine how good this piece must feel to wear. It probably 'swishes' a little too. Fabulous!

  3. Very classic style, Sherri. Your button dilemma has me wondering... is there any way to have an interchangeable button system, you know, like when we add buttons to a garment and want them removable: the fashion button is joined to a smaller plain button with a length of thread and buttonholes are used on both fabric pieces. Usually done for laundering purposes, but could be cool to use in bracelets, too!

    1. I tried to think of a way to make the button interchangeable - I though of putting a small lobster clasp on the end of the bracelet that could go through the shank of the button or something. But then you also have to make sure the buttons are exactly the same size so the loop will fit. I think the idea has merit, but I couldn't quite refine it.

  4. The possibilities with this are endless! The button was the right choice, the red one would have taken away from the bracelet itself.

  5. What a fabulous bracelet!! I love making this type of bracelet but would never have thought of doing it ombre what a brilliant idea!!!


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