Jewelry Design: The Bracelet
Jewelry has been an important part of many cultures for thousands of years. As such there is a huge amount of interest in it to this day. Many people spend lots of money on various decorations to wear for a wide variety of occasions. The bracelet is just another beautiful object we wear. It shows of the wrist and can be made in a huge number of ways in the comfort of your own home. Hand crafted bracelets make great gifts, as well as great items to wear. You can even sell them!
How to Crimp
Every beader should know how to crimp, but it takes someone showing you how to get it right. It also often takes a little practice. To crimp you will use crimp beads or tubes and a pair of crimp pliers. If you hold the crimp pliers closed you will notice that there are two notches. The first notch is called notch one (well that's easy enough) and is closest to the handle. It has a crescent moon shape. The second notch is closer to the tip and is like a flattened oval.
- Place the crimp bead or tube in notch one and smash it by squeezing the plier handles.
- This will dimple one side of the bead. Turn the bead on its side (so the dimple is now facing forward) and place it in notch two. Squash the bead a second time.
- This should cause the bead to fold up on its self. Now you can place it in the tip (the flattened portion right before notch two) and gently squeeze it tight. Don't squeeze to hard or you will break the bead and have to start over.
It is a good idea to add a drop of glue for added security. I recommend Bead Fix which is strong, dries fast, and doesn't discolor the beads or leave a film on them.
Single Strand Bracelet
There are several different ways you can make a simple strung bracelet. You can do it on stretchy cord for one that is tied off and then fitted over the wrist. You can do it out of beading thread, or even another type of cord. In my opinion the easiest way is to do it with nylon coated beading wire. This makes for a fast and easy bracelet.
You will need: To make this project you will need nylon coated beading wire, beads, a clasp (the toggle clasp is recommended for bracelet making though others can be used as well), crimp pliers, scissors, and glue are needed for this project.
- To make this project cut a length of wire that is about four inches bigger then the finished piece will be. Bracelet sizes usually fall into the 7-8 inch range.
- Fold your wire over with about one and a half to two inches on one side and the rest of the wire on the other.
- Have your clasp rest in the middle.
- Slide a crimp bead onto both sides of the wire and press it against the clasp.
- Crimp the crimp bead.
- Add your beads till you reach the desired length of the bracelet.
- Finish by adding a crimp bead and the other half of the clasp.
- Run your wire back through the crimp bead and pull everything tight.
- Crimp the crimp bead.
- Trim all excess wires and add a drop of glue to each crimp bead (I recommend Bead Fix).
Ideas: There are lots of things you can do with a single strand bracelet. Have fun with your bead types and colors as well as the look different sizes can provide.
Final Notes: While I prefer to use nylon coated beading wire to get this particular project done, there are lots of other options. Don't be afraid to try to use other materials. You may get fantastic results or find that you like something else better. Fishing line, nylon thread, beading thread, cotton cords, beading wire (without nylon) are all possibilities. They can all have easy ways to finish them and they can come out with different results. You can even use ribbon, silk, or thin hemp and knot between the beads for a different look.
Finishing Memory Wire
The easiest way to finish memory wire is by bending the wire over. You then form a tight bend that becomes parallel with the rest of the piece. However, you can also glue memory wire tips onto the memory wire. Using half drilled beads works the same way. Using a regular bead placed carefully and glued into place also works. Plus if you are looking for a slightly different look you can make a small loop at the end of the memory wire. Get creative with it for lots of unique pieces.
Memory Wire Bracelets
Memory wire bracelets are easy to make and there are lots of great options. Memory wire is a wire that holds it's shape. These bracelets can be wrapped around the wrist and then spring back into shape when you take them off. They come in two sizes and you can use how many ever coils that you wish. Plus they are really easy to bead.
You will need: Supplies needed for memory wire bracelets are beads, memory wire in bracelet size, wire cutters, and pliers.
- Cut your memory wire. You will want to count out how many ever loops you wish for your bracelet and then cut it. While they look good with lots of loops, they are harder to beed because the beads have to be pushed to the end of the bracelet.
- Fold the end of the memory wire over. This has to be done carefully. Make sure that you flatten out the end so that there aren't any pokey edges.
- Add your beads in a pattern that is pleasing to the eye.
- Finish it by folding the last edge over and pressing it tight.
Ideas: You can get fancy adding charms, dangles, and by using a wide variety and range of beads. Have fun with it and enjoy making these easy bracelets that really do look great.
Kids Crafts: This is a great option for doing with kids as well. Cut out the wire ahead of time (one or two loops is pleanty). Fold over the ends and let them add all sorts of small beads onto their bracelet. Finish by folding the last edge over for them. They will love it and it is super easy for you.
A multi-strand bracelet isn't much different from single strand bracelets except they tend to be more exciting and they have more options available to them. You make this the same way as a single strand bracelet. Except have one wire for each strand that you wish to have. Carefully add a clasp. Then slide the crimp bead over each wire and over the folded wires. this sometimes makes for a tight fit that has to be worked very carefully. Crimp the bead. Bead each strand separately. When you are finished carefully slide on a crimp bead over your wires. Add your clasp and then run all of the wires back through the crimp bead. Pull everything tight and crimp the bead.
Ideas. This design lets you get creative. In the first piece I did two patterns that were very different. The first half of two strands show the one pattern while the first have of the other two strands show the second pattern. Then they switch! It looks great and wasn't that hard. The second piece here has the strands coming together for a three bead focal point. This looks great and is easy to do. You could have your strands coming together more often as well.
There is also the use of stretchy cord in making great bracelets. You can get very creative and come up with a huge number of different options for making these great stretchy bracelets. To get step by step directions for this project visit Beautiful Beads and Jewelry.
When it comes to making great jewelry the only thing that holds you back is you. This is the same with bracelets. You can come up with a wide range of great ideas. It doesn't have to be hard and it can really be a lot of fun. Plus you can make great items for you, for gifts, and even for sale if you wish to start a jewelry business. These are just a few great ideas to get you into making bracelets, there are really hundreds if not more then hundreds of other options out there. Keep your eyes open and have fun experimenting. Who knows, you could come up with something great on accident.