How to Make Your Own Hand Painted, Wooden Bangle Bracelet
What Supplies You Will Need and How To Start!
When starting any art or craft project, your first thought should be, "What do I want the finished project to look like?". I feel that you need to start with a vision in mind of the finished project, whether it is a painting, a flower arrangement, a piece of jewelry, etc. You need to be able to envision the finished piece, because it can then give you a place to start. Once you have picked out your design for the look that you want, then you can go on to decide things like color scheme, supplies you will need, etc. Some artists like to sketch their ideas and designs. I just have a picture in mind and work from that. My brain is like a filing cabinet, full of designs and ideas, if that makes any sense, lol! If you are following along with me, you will notice that I not only give the directions, I have to explain WHY as I go. That's because I have to know WHYI am having to do a certain process!
So, here is a list of supplies that you will need for this project. If you do many projects, you will likely have the majority of these already. The one thing you will need is a wooden bangle. of the width and size that suits you. So, first things first, and I will explain as we go:
1. A wooden bangle bracelet of your choosing. I was lucky and had made friends with someone who did woodworking, and he made my bracelets to my own specifications in varying widths. The ones you see here are about 1-1/2 inches wide, with a beveled outside edge that slants inward. These fit a medium to larger wrist. I also have some that are roughly an inch wide that I haven't painted yet. It is best to get them in the raw, unfinished wood, but if you can't find one, buy a plain wooden bracelet, and get some fine sandpaper and sand it down on the outside to take off the clear varnish. That way the acrylic paints you are going to use will adhere much better to the wood. If you have to go this way, just make sure you have a smooth, clean surface on the wood to work with after you are through sanding off the varnish.
2. Acrylic paints for your design in the colors of your choice. I like the brands of Apple Barrel Colors©, or Anita's All Purpose Acrylic Craft Paint© the best, especially the Apple Barrel ones. They just seem to have a better quality for decorative painting projects like this.
3. Don't forget about the pattern of your choice. Choose one according to your painting level, so you won't get frustrated with the detail if you are more of a beginner. This is a small project anyway, and can be a bit hard to get the look you want if you choose the wrong pattern. You can free-hand the design if you choose, which is what I had to do on the Kokopelli design. I will go more into that further on.
4. Paint brushes of various sizes, depending on the degree of fine detail of your design. This is entirely up to you and what you feel comfortable working with. There are brushes made especially for miniature work, that are tiny (which I love to work with) that you can find at any good craft store such as Hobby Lobby or any good art supply store that sells brushes, plus you can find them online.
5. Clear acrylic spray paint, in either a gloss or matte finish, to seal your bracelet with when you are finished and happy with your finished product. Keep this on hand all the time to use with your acrylic paints. It really brings out the depth of the paint when dry.
Different Views and Samples of Wooden Bracelets I Have PaintedClick thumbnail to view full-size
Painting and Finishing Your Unique Bracelet!
There are two different ways to approach this project, depending on what you want your final outcome to be-
1. You can paint the whole outside of the bracelet in a solid color, or combination of colors, as in the Kokopelli, tribal design bracelet I have shown here, which shows none of the wood showing through on the outside, or
2. You can paint a design on, that also allows the wood to show through in places, as I did in the other two bracelets I have in the photos. I like the look of the wood through the design,(although I do like the look of the Kokopelli bracelet!) personally, but it is your bracelet, and up to you and your personal choice. That is what makes the creative process so wonderful! It is a total expression of YOU!
3. Ok, once you have made that hurdle, then you can go about putting your design onto your bracelet. You can do this in a couple of ways. You can just freehand paint it on, while looking at your pattern for direction, use a pencil to draw on your design as best you can, or try using a type of paper that is a transfer paper, that looks like tracing paper. The way this paper works is you trace your pattern onto one side of the paper with a special pencil that works with the paper, (the pencils come in red or black)then turning the paper over, and carefully go over the design again, holding it securely on the wooden area. You have to really press hard, using a regular pencil when going over the reverse of the design, to make the red or black of the design transfer pencil go onto your bracelet. Your best bet, really, is to try to just paint your design straight onto the bracelet. On your first bracelet, if you are more of a beginner, stick with an easy design, and it should work out for you.
4. Once you have your design painted to suit you, with any shading, etc. done to your design, then just finish it with a coat of the clear acrylic spray paint in a matte or gloss finish, whichever suits you. Be sure to do this after all of your painted design is dry. One tip-To spray on the finish, stand the bracelet on one end and spray one half with the clear. When that side is dry, turn it over, stand it on the other edge, and finish coating the unsealed side. Let sit undisturbed until completely dry and then, stand back and admire your work!
Just as a footnote, I like using gold or silver metallic acrylic paints for highlights on some of the bracelets. It really gives a nice look to some designs. You can also glue on flat bottomed rhinestones or beads and dress them up that way. Come up with some ideas of your own and share them with me! Enjoy!