Some charms are perfect at being both a decorative touch and an unusual closure. I found these anchor charms at a local bead store and thought they would be perfect in conjunction with pretty braids. In this post, I will show you how to end your threads to make bracelets like these.
Charms work as a closure so long as they have a good way to hold securely. In my case, the bottom hook of the anchor can securely hold a loop.
I purchased 2 anchors which were different sizes. For the small anchor I created an 8 strand braid. For the larger anchor I made a 12 strand braid.
Charm for Closure
Needle (tapestry is ideal due to the rounded point but a regular need with a large eye would work also)
Braiding Disk (click info on how to make a braiding disk)
I will show you photos from both bracelets in the photos above. I’ll begin with the 2 color/8 strand and the second set of photos will be for the 3 color/12 strand braid.
Small Anchor Charm 2 Color / 8 Strand Braid Bracelet:
As we learned in the spiral braid tutorial each strand of embroidery floss is cut to twice the required length and folded in half to begin the braid. Instead of tying a knot with scrap thread to hold the beginning of the braid, we are going to create a loop which the charm will go through to hold the bracelet closed.
To determine how much extra length should be added to your embroidery floss for a loop gather the appropriate number of strands and test your closure. Make a small loop and put your charm through the hole in the same way you will when you put the bracelet on. Test that you can also easily un-hook the charm. Measure the length of thread required and add that measurement to the total length you cut each of your strands.
Example: For the smaller anchor charm I am making an 8 strand braid which means I will have 4 lengths of floss folded in half. Therefore I need 4 strands of floss to test with. After testing my anchor charm in the loop and determining I can put the charm in and take it out I measure the loop and find out it takes about 1″ (2.5cm) to make a successful loop.
(amount required for braid + ease equal to the radius of my braiding disk) X 2 + Extra needed to make loop = length of each strand of embroidery floss.
(12″ + 2″) X 2 + 1″ = 29″
(30cm + 5cm) X 2 + 2.5cm = 72.5cm
To hold the 4 strands together in the loop we need to wrap the threads with more thread.
The center of the bundle of threads will become the loop so this is where we are working. With an additional short piece of embroidery floss (only 1-2 strands) cover the length of floss required for the loop. The knot shown in the photos below is a great way to hold the strands together.
Hold 1 end of your secondary thread in line with the bundle of floss that will become the braid (we will finish the ends of the additional thread in later steps). Wrap the thread around the bundle of braid floss and through the loop you create. Pull the thread tight and up against previous knots to completely cover the bundle of braiding floss.
Continue this wrap around and through the loop knotting until you have covered the distance equal to what is required for your loop. In my example I learned I needed 1″ (2.54cm) for the loop so I worked to that length. Once you think you’ve covered enough of the floss bundle to make your loop test it by placing your charm through the loop again. Make sure you test that you can insert and remove the charm with that size of loop. Make adjustments so the loop is not too big nor too small.
Before you begin properly braiding…
Fold the embroidery floss bundle in half so you have all your braiding ends together. The section of covered threads which you just created and tested should be at the fold of the floss. The ends of that bonus thread are not yet worked in. For now, wrap those thread ends around all 8 strands of floss at the base of the loop. This will hold the threads together so you get a nice clean start to your braid.
To finish both ends of the braid, you will use the following technique with either a thread which is already attached or a second thread you apply.
To complete the loop end of the braid I am using the tails from the string used to hold the threads together.
Using 1 thread make a loop. The tail of the thread used to make the loop should lay along the braid while you use the other thread end to wrap around the braid and loop thread.
Wrap with tight tension several times around the braid and loop. Test your loop to ensure you can fit you charm closure again! When ready to finish your thread send the end of the tread you were wrapping around the braid through the loop you made with the other end.
Pull both ends tight into a knot. I was able to gently pull the knot to the inside of the thread wrapping I had just made. For one more layer of finishing I pulled the thread end through the loop designed to hold the charm and under the wrapped threads which were just added.
When everything is pulled nice and tight you can trim your ends.
When determining how long your bracelet should be, don’t forget to consider the length of your charm. If your charm is long you may want to make the braid a little shorter so the bracelet doesn’t fall off your hand!
Add a jump ring to your charm. Click here for tips on how to properly add a jump ring.
To finish the braid you will attach your floss ends to the jump ring which is attached to the charm. Divide the threads on your braiding board in half and send half the threads through the jump ring one direction and the rest in the opposite direction. It can be extremely helpful to place the ends of your threads on a tapestry needle to send them through the jump ring in a much easier fashion.
Finishing for these threads is the same as for the other end. Photos for finishing the charm end can be found in my second example of a 12 strand braid below.
Larger Anchor Charm and 3 Color / 12 Strand Braid:
Testing the required length needed for the loop which the charm hooks in to.
Wrapping the floss bundle with a second thread.
Adding the charm after braiding to an appropriate length.
Alternating the threads through the jump ring.
Open thread end attached to the charm just after removing it from the braiding board.
With a new piece of thread, adding a loop.
Wrapping the floss ends to the braid with the new piece of thread.
To finish the thread send the end through the loop.
Pull the threads tight.
Wrapping and finishing the opposite end.
Trim your tread ends and that’s it!