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Tricks to Laddering
Tricks to Laddering

Tricks to Laddering

by Brittany Ketcham and Nicole Anderson
Hands down, wrap bracelets are the number one requested project in jewelry making. After the tremendous response to our first laddering video, we began fielding phone calls and emails about..."How do I add a thread? What is KO? Is it the same using leather?" We realized there were still things we wanted to cover, so we decided to make another video that would add to our existing knowledge. You might be wondering, Why didn?t we make this video to begin with? Tricks to Laddering answers questions we just did not know about when we filmed How to Make a Ladder Bracelet using soft cords. We still recommend the original which at the time of writing this, has received almost 150,000 views.

Project Level: Beginner     Time to Complete: 20 minutes to watch the video and one hour per wrap. If this is your first ladder bracelet, we recommend you keep it to a single wrap.


BEADS: For a 4 wrap bracelet, you need 1 strand of 3.5-4mm pearls and about 18” of 3.5-4mm gemstone rondelles (3 packages)Generally, each wrap uses about 7 inches of beads.

LEATHER: Our samples use 1.5-1.75 leather. For a 4 wrap bracelet, you need 2 yards.

BUTTON: Select any button that has a shank or holes that will fit your leather. Billie is a single hole button which Nicole wire-wrapped a head pin and made a shank so it could be used with the 1.5mm leather.

THREAD: KO in the color of your choice. It is the ideal thread for laddering fine gemstones and small freshwater pearls.For optional silk wrapping technique, we use C-Lon or Superlon. Watch Mosaic Tile Video for additional information.


About Design:
The world is your oyster, so to speak. The possibilities and permutations are endless. And wearing multiples in a variety of colors just adds more heat to your wardrobe. We also made one for a bride with “something blue” (lower right). The raves and compliments for each and every one will go on and on. The bracelets pictured range in length from 21-35 inches. Your final wrap length will depend on your wrist size. 7 inches = approximate length per wrap.
- Red Sample: Sundance Red 1.5mm Greek leather, 3.5-4mm pearls, copper plated pyrite rondelles, carnelian rondelles, Apricot KO thread, Peekaboo button, orange C-lon for silk wraps.
- Purple Sample: Metallic Purple 1.5mm Indian leather, 3.5-4mm pearls, ruby rondelles, amethyst rondelles, Lilac KO thread, A New Leaf button.
- Blue Sample: Blue 1.5mm Greek leather, copper plated pyrite rondelles, gold plated pyrite rondelles, silver plated pyrite rondelles, Natural KO thread, Covent Garden button (sorry, no longer available), brown C-lon for silk wraps.
- Gold Sample: Metallic Champagne 1.5mm Indian leather, 3.5-4mm pearls, gold plated pyrite rondelles, citrine rondelles, Gold KO thread, gold C-lon for silk wrap, Peekaboo button.
- Green Sample: Metallic Mint 1.5mm Indian leather, 3.5-4mm pearls, moonstone rondelles, smokey quartz rondelles, peridot rondelles, Billie button (wire wrapped with a bead and headpin to form the shank), Apple Green KO thread.
- White Sample: Metallic Pearl 1.5mm Indian leather, 3.5-4mm pearls, moonstone rondelles, apatite rondelles, Ivory KO thread, Peekaboo button, Turquoise Tuff Cord #3 for silk wraps.

about beads

About Beads:
Choose your colors and away you go. We started with a strand of white pearls 3.5-4mm 16” in length, some gemstone rondelles (about 3 packages for a 4 wrap bracelet), a button, 1.5mm leather and a spool of KO. For simplicity, we stayed with white pearls and kept the color in the gems, leather and KO. But you can easily mix and match colored pearls with colored gemstones...the permutaions are endless!

about leather and buttons

About Leather and Buttons:
With so many colors of leather available, it is definitely hard to “just say no” to any of them. All of our samples were created with leather 1.5-1.75mm in diameter. We used both Greek and Indian leather. If you want guidance in choosing, we recommend selecting leather that will compliment one of your gemstone colors. If you’re going bridal, white or pastels are calming and harmonious.  

about ko thread

About KO:
Created by a well-known Japanese seed bead artist, KO is in a class by itself. For laddering of small beads, it is the easiest and best thread to use and it does not require a needle. The rule of thumb for how much thread to cut: KO should be twice as long as the leather. Just in case you do not cut enough, Brittany demonstrates in the video how to add a new thread. Running out of thread happens to even the most skilled laddering join the club!

Please send us photos of creations. We would love to post your results on our Facebook page. If you would be willing to share your design, we will happily give credit and publish your project story for our readers. Please email us at
xoxo thank you and enjoy!