When looking for inspiration to DIY a knockoff of an expensive gift, I start by looking online at items from her favourite stores, her Pinterest pages, her Etsy favourites, etc. So... I knew by her online activity that my sister likes these bracelets. I was also sure I could make a great looking knockoff for a fraction of those prices. Whew!
Screen captures from: http://www.chanluu.com/womens-jewelry/wrap-bracelets/
First I purchased some supplies. I knew by looking at the specs of the expensive version that the finished bracelet was about 80 cm (34 inches long). Using my awesome math skills, I knew I'd need about 80 cm (34 inches) worth of beads and 1.6 m of leather. It's pretty easy to shop when you're buying beads on the strand - the length of the bead strand is right there on the label.
I chose some round off-white beads with a faint champagne swirl through them. They're not identical to the beads in the inspiration bracelets, but I think they're close enough in colour and style that I can make a great looking knock off.
The leather cord that I liked only came on this three-colour pack, so I'll have to make two more bracelets at some point. It's hard to tell from the photograph, but there's a very tasteful metallic finish on the cording. Most importantly, there's about 2 m of each colour, which is enough to make one bracelet.
So, I'm into this project for 4 packs of beads at about $8 each, the leather cord, some coordinating thread and a sweet little button from my stash and I'm at about $35 (CND). That's about 20% of the cost of my cheapest inspiration bracelet! Yowza!
There's a metric tonne of tutorials on the internet, so I'm not going to duplicate one here. Google 'beaded wrap bracelet tutorial'. Do it. I dare ya. Okay don't. I checked out a bunch of tutorials and this is my favourite. Lots of pic, very clear. Check it out.
Screen capture from: http://www.craftsunleashed.com/jewelry-main/beaded-wrap-diy-bracelet/
I did a couple things slightly different from the tutorial. Firstly, I tied two knots at the beginning so the size can be adjusted slightly. I think this is a good feature for a gift, since my sister's wrist isn't here for me to make it fit her perfectly.
To make your bracelet adjustable, start the bracelet with two knots spaced apart.
Make sure your button fits through both holes.
The second time I varied from my tutorial was that I double stitched my beads on. As I was working, I noticed my beads were sliding around a fair bit. So when I finished beading the whole length, I went back and stitched the whole thing in reverse. That is, I worked right to left the first time down, then left to right back up through the strung beads. This secured everything really nicely.
My bracelet with stiches worked in both directions.