Saturday, July 16, 2011

{Craft Time} J Crew Bhati Beads Silk Planets Bracelet

Remember that old Irving Berlin song from 'Annie Get Your Gun',
"Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you!"?
Well I'm changing it:
"Anything J Crew can sell, I can make cheaper! I can make anything cheaper than J Crew!"

Bhati Beads Silk Planets bracelet
$36.00, item 48363

From J Our current obsession: Sanskrit for "to glow," Bhati Beads' handcrafted silk bracelets are individually strung deep in the heart of Wisconsin. Bhati's crafty founder and designer, Margaret Maggard, threads strips of vibrant hand-dyed silk through brass beads to make these must-have, boho-cool accents. Meant to be layered with your current mix of arm candy (or worn solo for a striking statement), they can also be wrapped around the ankle, arm or neck. Brass beads on hand-dyed silk. Tie closure. USA. Approximate length: 36".

When I saw this while perusing the J Crew jewelry section, I thought to myself what a lovely bracelet. What a nice touch to add an ethnic twist to an outfit. What a light and airy bracelet for those hot summer months. What a perfect pop of color. 
What a rip off for some silk ribbon and a few brass nuts.

I looked up Margaret Maggard, the creator of these bracelets, and while there are some really quite lovely bracelets offered on her site, there isn't a single one I couldn't make myself for under $5. I hate extreme markups for profit, and I'm thinking $36 for 36 inches of silk ribbon is just a little much.

To make the J Crew 'Bhati Beads Silk Planets' Bracelet:

Supplies Required for this project:
-Brass nuts (about 8 per bracelet)
Time Required for this project:
-less than 5 minutes

Skills required for this project:
-threading a bead on ribbon
(and if this skill is beyond some, I may still have Child's 'add a bead' baby toy to practice on)
Cost of this Project:
-less than $5.00
I ordered my silk ribbon from an on-line beading store called Fusion Beads, but I think that many craft stores like JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby or Michael's might carry something similar. I like Fusion Beads however, as there are more color options for the silk ribbon and free shipping with no minimum. The silk is much more pretty and vibrant IRL than it appears on the website. It was quite fine and delicate looking, and the colors I ended up ordering were gorgeous.

I bought my brass nuts from Home Depot for $1 for a pack of 8, but you can buy them online in larger quantities if you plan on making more than one bracelet (and at less than $5 a piece, why not make multiples?). If you'd like something fancier or different than plain old brass hex nuts, Fusion Beads also has gold-plated pewter hex spacer beads ($0.13 a piece) and many other variations of gold, silver, brass, pewter, gemstone, and ceramic beads.

I'm just assuming it's unnecessary to do a step-by-step with photos for this project. You're putting a bead on a string. I think we can all figure that one out for ourselves, hmm?

Now, my bracelet wasn't "individually strung deep in the heart of Wisconsin," like J Crew's version, but I did get my Bachelors and Master's degree from Wisconsin. Does that count?

I also bought a few large hole Buddha  beads to add to a few of the bracelets, but of course this is optional. Doing a search for 'large hole beads' will produce many options to create different looks with the bracelets.  I also decided to try a few silver tone bracelets that came out quite nice too.

And of course I did a few in some "fall colors," or as Husband would call them "Texas Longhorns" colors.

There were a couple other bracelets that struck my fancy on Margaret Maggard's site like the Dark Star Silk Wrap, and the Plait Wrap. Those supplies can easily be found at Fusion Beads as well, and I might try my hand at those next.
What with my Bubble Necklace look alike, my braided hook bracelet, and now this, maybe I should start a shop on Etsy selling jewelery called 'J Crew Round 2' or something.


  1. How very cute! Thanks for the craft lesson!

  2. Rose, Peggy- Thanks! This has to be the easiest piece of jewelry I've ever made! Too bad I didn't think of it first, or I could be cashing in right now!

  3. awesome tutorial!! What size are the brass nuts and how was shipping time with Fusion Beads?

  4. Anon- I'm not really sure the measurements of the brass nuts, but the packages I bought at Home Depot all said #6-32. Whatever that means....maybe you need to be a guy to know? I just know they were the smallest size nuts available. As to shipping it took a little over a week, but it might get to you quicker as everything seems to take longer down where I live.

  5. I must say, "I love your blog!" And the DIY Bhati beads silk bracelet is just fabulous. I am totally crushing on the Texas Longhorns colors. This is currently the color that draws my eye every time. Thanks for sharing.

  6. redglass99- Thanks! So glad you enjoy it! I love that burnt orange color too, although not for the same reason Husband does. I have to keep telling him it's not to support football :)

  7. It's all in the silk quality and hand-dyed color - yours unfortunately is the China-made imitation of what we have. Thank you though - imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    Margaret Maggard
    Bhati Beads LLC

  8. Margaret- I'm so flattered for you to visit my little blog! And since quality silk originates from China in the first place, I'm still happy with my homemade version. Plus, the savings on my version allows me to make so many more of this beautiful bracelet! Thanks again for stopping by!

  9. How long was the ribbon length? I'm going to attempt this project this weekend, but lack the "crafts" gene. Need all the help I can get. Thanks.

  10. magistra- The ribbion I bought came in 40" length, and I just left it that length, as the ends were already finished.Good luck with your project!

  11. It worked out just great. Fun project and the Fusion Beads folks were wonderful. The fairy silk ribbon is lovely quality and easy to string. Their range of colors are tremendous. Just made my second order.

    My husband found those hex nuts were also sold in larger quantities (100)if anyone decides to make a batch.

    Thanks for thinking up these Craft Time Projects.

  12. magistra- So glad it turned out for you! They're so easy though, making them can become addicting--especially with all those pretty colors!

  13. Thanks for this! I spotted Bhati Beads on Refinery29 Reserve and was tempted to buy a pair for $50, but even at the discounted price, I can't justify spending that much on something I can imitate for so much less. I'm planning to individually string a few deep in the heart of Wisconsin next weekend.

  14. LOL that the Bhati Beads person came by just to criticize your project. I love your version. The bracelets aren't for me but they are very pretty! I especially love the Buddha beads!

    1. J.CrewJD- Oh, you don't know the worst of it! She made some additional snarky personal attacks against me that I chose not to post. I felt I was doing her a favor by not allowing her highly unprofessional, childish comments to to be seen by others. You'd think someone who has a business would have more common sense than to allow themselves to be seen in such an unflattering way.


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