Seed Bead Surfer Bracelet (Pura Vida style)

Even though it’s almost Halloween, it feels like Summer here in Central Florida. Honestly, I freakin’ love it. We all may have to move within the next few decades, but it’s balmy now, right? That’s all that matters, brah.

In that spirit, I made some summertime surfy seed bead bracelets like Pura Vida’s. Don’t get it twisted, I buy their stuff, support their cause, and I’m even a monthly club member, so I’m not trying to harsh their gig. But I will show you what Pura Vida uses and how they make them in case you wanted something different from time to time, or want to reuse those neato charms from that worn out PV bracelet you have now.

You’ll need:

  • Size 11/0 seed beads (find them at most craft stores)
  • C-Lon nylon thread (becoming easier to find in craft stores)
  • 2 Larger hole beads for stopper beads (optional)
  • Small Charm or PV charm from an old bracelet (optional)

C-Lon cord, 11-0 seed beads, and some sharp scissors

I used fun Halloween-esque colors for these, stringing different patterns on the C-Lon. I didn’t need a needle to string on the beads, the nylon thread is pretty stiff on its’ own.

No need for a needle

I usually string about 5 inches of seed beads on, then use an overhand knot on both ends to keep the beads from sliding off. 

Make a knot on each end so the beads won’t fall off

Don’t make these knots too tight against the beads, since another piece of C-Lon needs to be tied above each end knot. This will create three strands of C-Lon to braid with. If you wanted to add a charm here- like Pura Vida does- now is the time to do it, prior to braiding.

Tied a strand on above the knot to make three strands for braiding

I reused one of my Pura Vida charms for this anklet

Once you’ve finished braiding, slide on a stopper bead, and tie a double overhand stopper knot about 2-4 inches from each end, depending on the size you’re wanting.

Making a double overhand stopper knot

Use some contrasting color C-Lon thread to make a series of square knots to use for a slider knot to open and close the bracelet. This type of closure is NOT recommended for necklaces (strangulation hazard).

Go outside to singe the nylon thread ends

Singe all ends with a lighter (carefully- and OUTSIDE!) Done!

Made three bracelets and an anklet in a couple of hours

Yard’s overgrown

So, I guess I’ll enjoy this seemingly Endless Summer as long as it lasts. It stinks that all these pesky storms interfere with my I-Island Breeze…..no one has to know (no one has to know)….🎶

Taylor Swift just knows

DIY Mosquito Repellent Ankle Bracelet

It’s crazy hot here in Florida right now, and the mosquitoes are pretty brutal. After surfing, I like to garden and chillax outside, but the skeeters find me after about a hot second. Jellyfish stings don’t seem to bother me, but mutant Florida mosquito bites can itch seemingly forever.

I saw this post on The Renegade Seamstress showing how to make a pretty bracelet soaked in an essential oil mix to make a smelly deterrent for outdoor pests. Since I’m usually in boardshorts most days during the Summer, the critters bite me low around my feet and legs since they are also getting out of the breeze created by the patio fan. Really, the best place for a mosquito repellent for me is on my ankle.

I hate using hemp for macrame normally since it becomes featureless over time. But, it’s great for this purpose. Mid weight hemp twine (NO JUTE- that freakin’ hurts to wear on your skin) can be pretty absorbent. You can pick up a ball of hemp twine at most craft stores- even Wal-Mart carries this stuff cheap.

Hemp twine

I made a simple square knot sinnet (check out my post about macrame), with a toggle I made from FIMO clay:

Made it long enough for my ankle

Super easy

The Renegade Seamstress’ post has a recipe for the essential oil mix, but since I need a Nuclear Option, I filled a standard empty reusable prescription bottle and filled it with:

  • 3/4 full of Vodka (or, fill it full and drain off a bit…hehe)
  • Rest of the 1/4 with citrusy Essential Oils: Citronella, Lemongrass, Grapefruit blend

The potion makin’ stuff

Soak the anklet in the sauce

Save the mix to resoak the anklet again

Initially, I soaked it for a hour fully submerged, then took it out of the solution, shook it off, and put it on. It worked very well in my gardening space, and smelled nice to me, at least.

Smells better than feet

Once it’s out of the solution, it will dry pretty quickly, but will retain the smell well for about 45-60 minutes. When you come in, throw it back into the bottle again for the next use, even keep the whole thing in the car on the go. Reload as needed.

Floridian Tip:

Reload yourself with vodka as needed until the height of Hurricane Season. Then reload with rum and grilled food until Christmas.

Shell Sanding and Polishing (More Gilding the Lily)

Since I’ve been having fun with the Dremel tool,

The hole was natural!

I decided to grind a shell I’ve had in my collection that’s not all that stunning. But, it’s a good candidate to paint into a neato necklace pendant since it’s already bleached a simple white.
In this case, I focused on sanding the INSIDE of the shell. I didn’t want to lose the nice outside ridges, but I wanted to paint the inside concave area. To do this, I needed to get rid of some of the imperfections.

I needed to make the inside smooth if I wanted to paint it

Now, we need to talk safety equipment. Anytime you are drilling, sanding, etc. with shells or sea glass, PLEASE wear:

  • Safety Glasses/Goggles
  • Mask (You do NOT want to breathe in any particles)
  • Gloves (again, particulate is not fun)

Also, I use water on my piece only while sanding and buffing it. Do not place the Dremel into the water. 

My equipment


Dipping the shell in water before sanding


I used a 150 grit sanding drum first, then the buffer

After I finished sanding and buffing (which took around 10 minutes), I rinsed and dried the shell off throughly.
Next, I put 3 coats of varnish over the entire shell before painting it. This will improve the shell’s surface for taking paint.

I love this varnish- a little goes a long way

After everything’s dried, I was ready to move on to the next stage. BeDazzling the shell….

I think this is an excellent use of time.

Sea Heart of the Ocean Necklace

In my last post, I practiced polishing a Sea Heart sea bean. Now that it’s finished, I wanted to be

The Sea Heart I polished last time

able to wear it, but I didn’t want to drill into it or paint it. This will keep the piece as natural as possible.

To make my necklace, I used a macrame technique called Bezeling. The sea bean is thick, so I needed to make sure the bezel wrap would hold the sea heart securely. To make my ladder, I used two strands of light tan Linhasita macrame cord spaced 1 inch apart. For the alternating lark’s head knots, I used a dark green color strand.

I used a macrame foam board and lots of t-pins to keep things straight

Close up of the lark’s head ladder in work

I had measured the circumference of the sea heart to estimate the length of my ladder. I erred on the short side so I can “stretch” it over the edges of the sea bean to secure it using a bit of tension. I tied the ends together using a few square knots, and I melted the ends of the excess cord with a lighter (please use it outside- it’s a smelly process).

Tying the ends up around the bean- this was quite tricky

I singed the ends, leaving just two long strands to use for my necklace

Next, I used the 2 long cords remaining to make my necklace. I tied on 2 dark brown pieces to each light tan cord, and made a half hitch sinnet for a few inches, then braided the rest to the end. I did the same with the other side.

One side of the necklace

Completing each side of the necklace with a braid

For clasps, I used a carved tagua nut hook set that was drilled vertically, so I could thread the cord into each hook, and knot the ends off. This method doesn’t require any glue, but I did singe and melt the cord ends.

Tagua nut clasp

Finished necklace

With this very basic type of bezel wrap around my bean, it’s pretty secure. However, I’m probably not going to wear it while surfing though, just to make sure it doesn’t pop out. It is totally waterproof, however. Gnar.

That model needs a LOT of photoshop…..

I think it looks really cool, but it is a LARGE piece, so maybe only on special beachy occasions. Otherwise, you can call me Flava Flav of Cocoa Beach. Boiiiiiiiiiii.

My Hero.

DIY Costa Rica Style Surfer Bracelet

I grew up in Kentucky, so growing up in the surfing and beach lifestyle is something I’ll never understand. I still giggle at the “dude”, “brah”, “Yewwwww!”, and myriad other lingo thrown around. On top of that, you must know the correct things to wear, in and out of the water, the latest hot surfers on tour, AND where the best local sandbars are located during the full moon at high tide.
Yay! Surfing is fun! No wonder people find it a touch intimidating.

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Oh, ROXY, you make it look so easy…

I remember learning to surf in a bikini, like all the ROXY ads showed. Quickly, I started to put it together that surfing in bikinis only work if you are:

  • An experienced longboarder,
  • Skinny,
  • Surf tiny, sloping waves, OR
  • Have glue in your suntan lotion

Since at this point- being middle aged- I no longer sport a bikini, but it’s fun to be trendy sometimes to the surfiness. Even if it’s only for the Summer.

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I like the Pura Vida (meaning literally “Pure Life” in Spanish, but translates into more of a life concept) bracelets, which are popular with a lot of surfers. Duuuuuude. Their business model is that they provide jobs for Costa Ricans, and they also have charity bracelets that give a portion of sales to various groups, like Save the Orcas, Autism Awareness, and so on.
Most of their standard bracelets run $5.00 each. They’re made from a few strands of Linhasita cord (high quality waxed cord NOT in your standard craft store, but affordable). They also have a tiny charm. That’s a HUGE profit margin.
Please someone correct me, but as I’m aware, the company was started by ex-pats to employ Costa Ricans, but it is STILL a business first. The charity funds they disclose on their website total less than a million dollars. They’ve sold A LOT of five dollar bracelets. I have three- I’m kind of peeved that after more than 10 years no more than that has been donated to charity.
Then I remembered- the best way to give to charity is to give your time and money directly, not purchase stuff in the hope the business passes it along. The businesses end up looking like heroes, and you don’t really know where your money went.
Ok, I said all that to say this:
So you can free up real money to give to charity, here’s a much cheaper version of some surf cred for ya.
It took me a while to figure out that the company uses a special type of waxed cord called Linhasita. It holds up in water far better than hemp or regular waxed cotton, plus is EXTREMELY colorfast. It’s not very expensive, but I’ve never seen it at a chain craft store.
When I first ordered some, I got it from Etsy, but since it came from Guatemala it took three weeks and my cord was all tangled up from customs rifling through the package in transit. THAT’S why it was free shipping…..
Since then, I’ve ordered from Amazon, but I always check to make sure it says “Linhasita” cord. There’s also direct through their website, linhasita.com.
I studied my Pura Vida bracelets to see how they are constructed, and added my own spin.

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First, I wanted to incorporate a cowrie shell into the bracelet, and I had one that was cut so it had a flat back so it would lay flat against the wrist. I used several complimentary colors for the cord.
I measured out about 16 inches of cord, making 4 total lengths of cord. I cut the length in half, then took each half and folded those in half. I pinned these to my foam macrame board to make sure I had the lengths even.

 


Next, I looped one of the folded cord lengths from the back to the front of the cowrie shell, and did a lark’s head over to one side. I did this to the other side as well.

 


Next, I pinned the shell to the board, measured down one side about two inches down, and tied a square knot at that point. I did this on the other side.


I cut the green cord ends past the square knot and burned the end with a lighter, smashing the ends down into a little flattened end where the square knot doesn’t slip off. GO OUTSIDE to burn the cord if you do this. It’s smelly and bad for you to sniff. Duh.
I did this on both ends.

I pinned the bracelet back onto the foam board. I took the two cords used to square knot an end, and started twisting both in the same direction as the twist direction it’s already going in. Remember doing that with a string and a pencil during English class? Then the string wrapped back onto itself twisting the other way? That’s what I did. I twisted the two cords really tightly on their own, then by twisting them together in the opposite direction locks the cords. In spinning, this is called plying. A yarn can be 1 ply, 2 ply, and so on. I slipped a little seahorse charm onto one of the cords before plying it.

imageOf course, I did this to the other side, overlapped these cords, and made a few square knots to make a sliding knot closure like the other bracelets use. I used a short length of purple, then singed the ends off with my Thread Zap tool (outside!).

Here’s a side-by-side of my Pura Vida bracelets on the left, with the new one I made on the right.

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Originals on the left, my version on the right.

Here’s the same bracelet in fashion shoot mode….

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“So yeah, so bro, my gnar airs are improving after wearing this magic shell. I think it has, like, ocean powers and stuff. I think it keeps sharks away too, ya know?”