When I saw the snowflake-inspired palette for January, I wanted to make a glorious necklace.
But when I got to Michaels, I saw this cool belt buckle. I glanced at it. I glanced away. I glanced back.
Necklace! Necklace! I kept repeating the words to myself as I stared at the buckle, all silver and shiny.
I tried to make myself stick to The Plan, but I couldn't. I envisioned a sparkly, mulistrand belt that could add some bling to your jeans-and-white-shirt or glam up an otherwise plain dress.
As the author of a book titled Unexpected Findings, one thing I know for sure: When a certain finding calls to you, it's best not to argue!
The Beaded Belt: Materials, Techniques, and Tips
- Beads: I chose clear, glass Bead Gallery beads that were on the larger side (nothing smaller than 8mm) so that the belt would work up more quickly. (Once I decided to make a belt, I wanted it now!) If time is not an issue (or you just prefer a more delicate look), you could easily use smaller beads. A mix of shapes, sizes, textures, and finishes add interest to a monochromatic color scheme.
- Cord: I chose waxed linen cord as an easy way to string and knot the beads. I knotted in between every single bead so that they wouldn't bang against each other and so that if the belt was damaged, you wouldn't loose the entire strand of beads. You'll want to make at least three strands, maybe four, to balance the large buckle size. The great thing about working with waxed linen is that the knots hold very firmly. Of course, this is also the worst thing about it! Make sure you have each knot exactly where you want it before you tighten. You may not be able to loosen it and try again.
- Clasps: I found these cool hooks in my stash. They are part of a set, a hook-and-loop clasp combination. Online they're labeled as "paracord clasps." I only used the hook halves. They do require glue. If you prefer a glue-free solution, try extra large lobster clasps instead.
The Belt in Action
This belt measures 37" in length (including the buckle) and uses approximately 175 beads (about 55-65 per strand). As designed, this belt will hang low on the hips as shown on the mannequin. By adjusting the number of beads, you can easily make a smaller or larger belt or one that will sit at your waist rather than on your hips.
I'm so glad that I let that belt buckle finding seduce me in Michaels. This project turned out to be perfect antidote to a gray winter day.