Alphabet beads make fun and lighthearted jewellery, spelling out messages or names. You'll find alphabet beads made from plastic, wood, metal and glass. You can even make your own alphabet beads. Paint letters onto wooden beads or make polymer clay alphabet beads. String beads on a length of beading elastic for a simple alphabet bracelet, or use bead weaving techniques to make more sophisticated designs.
Cut long triangles from construction paper, coloured tissue paper or blank newspaper. Cover one side of the paper with craft glue. Roll the triangle up starting from the base. Cut out a single letter and glue it into place on the bead. Be sure to leave some of the beads blank. When everything is dry, coat the beads with transparent varnish.
Paint or stamp letters on to wooden beads with acrylic paint, or write letters with a permanent marker. Allow to dry, then seal with clear varnish.
Make a long cuboid of polymer clay. A clay gun will make this easier: using the square attachment, you can extrude a long worm of polymer clay with a square cross section. Use a tissue blade or a razor blade to slice cubic sections of the clay. Add letters, leaving some beads blank. Make letters from contrasting clay; alternatively, print out reversed letters and press the clay onto them to make a transfer or use a letter stamp. A further option is to make a square clay cane with the letter all the way through it, and then cut this into beads. Pierce holes with a metal skewer or needle, paying attention to the orientation of the letter. Bake the clay. Coat with polymer clay varnish.
Cut a section of beading elastic. Tie on a stop bead or make a slipknot. Thread a round bead, a spacer bead, an alphabet bead and a spacer bead. Repeat, completing your message. Bead the rest of the bracelet in the same pattern with blank beads, and then tie off the elastic.
Cut two 1.2 metre (4 feet) lengths of thread. Tie together in a loose overhand knot. String a round bead onto one thread, and then pass the other thread from the opposite direction so they cross inside the bead.
String spacer and alphabet beads, crossing the threads inside a round bead, until your two-line message is complete. If your bracelet is too short, work the remaining distance on either side with blank beads. Tie off the threads in a square knot, seal with varnish and crimp a clamshell over the knot. Repeat for the other end. Add a catch.
Things you need
- Nylon mono-filament thread
- Beading elastic
- Craft glue
- Polymer clay
- Tissue or razor blade
- Clear varnish
- Round beads
- Small metallic spacer beads
- Clamshell findings
- Jewellery fastenings