Beaded T-shirt Bracelet Tutorial {a kid’s first crochet project}

As an avid refashionista, I’m always looking for more ways to reuse a basic t-shirt and as a long time crocheter with an 8 year old daughter who’s just learning the skill, I came up with this crocheted t-shirt bracelet made from a simple chain stitch and pony beads. Even if you don’t crochet, this is a summer project you and your child can learn to do together.

Materials needed:
Men’s Large T-shirt without side seams.
Scissors or Rotary Cutter (a rotary cutter is much easier)
Large Crochet Hook (we used size N – you can find these at your local craft store for about $1.50)
Pony Beads – we used UV color changing beads which are totally awesome

Cut off hem of t-shirt. Using a ruler, cut 1″ strips of fabric parallel to the bottom of the shirt. Strips will be continuous circles of fabric. One bracelet can be made from each strip.

Open the fabric strip with a diagonal cut and pull to create a “knit noodle”

Thread beads onto the knit noodle (the diagonal cut should make it easy). We did 14 beads for a bracelet to fit an 8 year old.

Tie a slip knot in one end of your knit noodle, leaving a 3″ tail on one side. Slide crochet hook into the loop.

Slide one bead up to the hook.

Start a chain stitch by pulling long end of knit noodle over hook (yarn over).
Pulling the noodle over front to back or back to front doesn’t matter as long as you do the same thing for every stitch.

Now pull that “yarn over” through the loop on the hook. You should have one loop on your hook again, ready to repeat the stitch 13 more times: pull up bead, yarn over, pull through loop on hook.

Check out the video to get a better idea of how my eight year old does it, remembering that there is “proper form” to crocheting, but when you teach kids, the proper way to hold a hook and work the “yarn” oftentimes feels awkward and frustrating to little hands. Show them the stitch they are trying to learn and then let them do it in a way that works for them.

When you’ve crocheted each of the beads, it’s time to “finish off.” Use the hook to pull all the excess “knit noodle” through the last chain stitch until the end pops out and stitches are secure. (video help HERE – it sounds more complicated than it is)

Tie ends together around wrist and trim.

Now you’ve got a finished bracelet! It might look a little plain inside the house…

…but with UV color changing beads, there’s a surprise waiting once you set out into the sun!

Even though we used white shirts and color changing beads, colored shirts and colored pony beads are fun too. Make sure to slide beads onto the knit noodle in the same pattern you want to see in the finished bracelet.

A few more tips:

Using a T-shirt without side seams is crucial since the pony beads will not slide over the bulk of a side seam. But don’t worry! They are really easy to find in many different colors at the thrift store. You probably even have a bunch of them in your own house.

You might want to let your new crocheter practice the chain stitch without using the beads at first.

Need more help learning to crochet a chain stitch? Check out this helpful series.

If crocheting it too frustrating for your and/or your child, you can use the same idea but braid a bracelet with beads instead.

Younger children who might not be able to crochet, can help stretch the knit noodles and string the beads, leaving the crocheting step to mom (or dad!).


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kristy February 3, 2012 at 10:07 am

Very, very cute!!


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