Tartan Cuff Bracelet Pattern


This is a good project if you are just starting to learn herringbone – it will give you practise with following a pattern and the instructions give tips as to how you can adapt the design to use a simple clasp. If you are more experienced, the feature ‘belt’ clasp uses a combination of herringbone and peyote stitch, but is still quite simple to add. The bracelet is adjustable and the project requires seed beads in size 11 and size 15, although you can scale the size up if you are new to beading and still getting used to working with small beads.

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Tartan Cuff

This pattern uses herringbone stitch to create a simple tartan design which I turned into a cuff style bracelet. I originally conceived the idea for the project as part of an Etsy Beadweaver’s Challenge in 2014 that I entered in my Etsy shop. The theme of the challenge was Scotland.

At the same time, I was looking for an idea to teach basic herringbone. The tartan design is a great way to learn how to add pattern into your herringbone. It is simple to follow, but very effective. Of course, the colour options are fairly wide as tartan is available in all kinds of colours.

Once I had the tartan idea, I developed it to create the clasp, designed to look like the buckle fastening on a kilt. You will make the clasp using peyote stitch in size 15 beads. However, if you do not fancy this idea, you can easily substitute a ready-made clasp. I would recommend using a slide clasp or possibly a wide magnetic clasp for this design.

You can find out a bit more about how to choose the best clasp for your project in this blog post.


For this project, you will need size 11 seed beads in three colours. The colour choice needs to be thought through if you want the tartan pattern to look authentic. Essentially, if you study a simple tartan, you can see that it has stripes in one colour moving horizontally and stripes in another colour, moving vertically. The point at which the stripes cross is the point where the two colours mix. So the third colour you choose should reflect this.

In my original design I used red and black for the main colours. The point at which they cross results in the black being diluted. So I picked a grey for the third colour. You can make an easy substitution by replacing the red with yellow and the other two colours will remain the same. If you used red and blue as your two main colours, then the third colour should be a shade of purple to reflect the mix of colours.

In terms of techniques, the bracelet uses simple herringbone. So this is a great pattern if you are starting out in the stitch. If you are a real beginner, you might want to scale the bead size up. So you can work with larger beads, like size 8, and really see what you are doing. You may also want to try a small sample of the stitch in a single colour before you start trying to follow the pattern.