“The bracelets are in my possession, and everything I could wish them to be…”
Jane Austen to Cassandra
December 9, 1808
Elinor Dashwood, the heroine of Sense and Sensibility, is Jane Austen’s model heroine; and yet she’s not a prig or annoying about it. She is scrupulously ethical, refusing to share Lucy Steele’s secret about her engagement, though it is painful to her to not be able to confide in her mother and sister, and the secret was only shared in the first place to hurt Elinor. Elinor is also dismayed when Anne Steele shares information she overheard by listening at a closed door, though the information is useful. When the news of Lucy’s secret engagement gets out (not through Elinor’s fault, but Anne Steele’s), Edward Ferrars shows he has earned Elinor’s trust and esteem by behaving exactly as she would have: staying true to his word, though she knows he now wishes he had not given it, and that no one would blame him for backing out. Elinor is the type of person everyone wants for a friend. She will listen to your problems, give you excellent advice, and never tell another soul if that is your desire; and she has a great sense of humor and will amuse you with her set-downs of the annoying people around you!
What Would Elinor Do? In almost any situation, it is probably the right thing. Give yourself a useful self-check for any question or problem by making this fun bracelet.
If you are experienced with beading and making jewelry, this tutorial will probably not teach you anything new (indeed, you might be able to teach the author a few things); but feel free to take it as an inspiration!
The main thing you need for this bracelet is the alphabet beads. We used 6mm round plastic beads, which are available in large packages of assorted letters at most craft stores. These beads are available in a variety of colors, sizes, shapes, and materials; some online bead stores have sterling silver and pewter varieties, if you want to make a really high-end piece.
You can use whatever other beads you like. We played around with our bead stash, trying different sizes and shapes and colors, and decided on a set of blue-green 6mm glass beads, silver barrel-shaped spacing beads, and 6/0 silver glass seed beads, along with the alphabet beads. Craft stores have large varieties of beads in all colors, shapes, and sizes, and online stores have infinite varieties of beautiful beads.
A crimping tool and a wire nipper are also handy. You might be able to purchase an inexpensive combined tool that has chain nose pliers (which can be used to crimp the beads) and a wire cutter. Check your local craft store–they have tools at all price ranges. All materials for this bracelet were purchased at Michael’s. (Check the website for coupons and sales, and you can save a little money purchasing your supplies. Michael’s also has a free smartphone app that has coupons and sale listings.)
Here is our supply list, which makes a 7-inch bracelet. You can add or subtract beads for a bigger or smaller bracelet.
- 4 6mm round alphabet beads (W, W, E, D)
- 12 6mm round glass beads in blue/green shades
- 10 barrel-shaped silver spacer beads
- 7 silver 6/0 glass seed beads
- silvertone lobster claw clasp
- 6mm silvertone split ring
- 2 #1 silvertone crimp beads
- bead stringing wire
- Crimping tool and wire nippers (or a combination tool; see instructions)
- optional: beading board
I find it helpful to lay out my beads on a beading board, as the little trenches keep the beads from rolling around. Also, you can play with different bead combinations until you find one you like, and then string the beads. These boards can be purchased at most craft stores that carry beading supplies.
However, a beading board is not necessary; a clean, light-colored terry cloth towel laid on your work surface will also keep the beads from rolling around and provide a good working surface against which the beads can easily be seen.
Once you get the beads arranged how you want for your bracelet, you’re ready to start stringing the beads.
Cut a 10-inch piece of wire.
String the wire through one of the crimping beads, through the split ring, and then back through the crimping bead.
Tighten the bead down against the split ring, leaving a little space for the ring to move around (otherwise, you may have a hard time putting on the bracelet).
Crimp, or flatten, the bead using the flat edge of a crimping tool or the flat edges of chain-nose pliers.
That will keep the ends of the wire together. Do not cut off the end of the wire!
Start stringing the beads as you have them laid out. Remember to string the first few beads over the folded end of the wire as well.
When you get to the alphabet beads, make sure the beads are strung in the proper order and in the right direction, or you might have a Hooked On Phonics Worked For Me moment! If they are strung properly, they can roll over on the wire and will still be in the right direction.
When you are finished stringing all the beads, string on the second crimp bead and the lobster claw clasp, and loop the wire back through the crimp bead.
Pull on the end of the wire to tighten the bead and clasp against the strung beads. Like with the split ring, leave a little room for the clasp to move around.
Crimp the bead as before, using the chain-nose pliers or crimping tool.
String the end of the wire back through several beads and trim the wire close to the end of the last bead through which the wire was strung. Be careful to not cut the main bracelet wire.
You’re done! Enjoy your new bracelet, and remember: What Would Elinor Do?
Along with annotating the Jane Austen Bicentenary Library Edition of Sense and Sensibility, Margaret C. Sullivan is the author of The Jane Austen Handbook and There Must Be Murder, a sequel novella to Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. She also is the author of “Heard of You,” a short story inspired by Persuasion, in Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress. Maggie is the Editrix of AustenBlog.com and the Jane Austen resource site Mollands.net. She is slightly in awe of Elinor Dashwood, and trying hard not to be such a Marianne.