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Jewelry Design: The Bracelet

Updated on March 16, 2012
Cuff bracelet made with a variety of sea glass, a wire frame, and wire.
Cuff bracelet made with a variety of sea glass, a wire frame, and wire.

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!

Single strand bracelets offer a variety of options and can look beautiful and simple.
Single strand bracelets offer a variety of options and can look beautiful and simple.
This is how it should look with the wires folded and the clasp on.
This is how it should look with the wires folded and the clasp on.

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.

  1. Place the crimp bead or tube in notch one and smash it by squeezing the plier handles.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Directions:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Have your clasp rest in the middle.

  4. Slide a crimp bead onto both sides of the wire and press it against the clasp.

  5. Crimp the crimp bead.
  6. Add your beads till you reach the desired length of the bracelet.
  7. Finish by adding a crimp bead and the other half of the clasp.
  8. Run your wire back through the crimp bead and pull everything tight.

  9. Crimp the crimp bead.
  10. 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.

Memory wire provides a lot of great bracelet ideas.
Memory wire provides a lot of great bracelet ideas.

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.

Directions:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Add your beads in a pattern that is pleasing to the eye.

  4. 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.

Memory wire with heart dangles.
Memory wire with heart dangles.
A simple multi-stand bracelet.
A simple multi-stand bracelet.
Multi-strand bracelet made with four strands. The three focal beads are then strung onto all four strands in the middle and the piece is finished out with the four strands separated again.
Multi-strand bracelet made with four strands. The three focal beads are then strung onto all four strands in the middle and the piece is finished out with the four strands separated again.

Multi-strand Bracelets

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.

This bracelet is done with stretchy cord and the ladder stitch for a great look that is also easy to wear.
This bracelet is done with stretchy cord and the ladder stitch for a great look that is also easy to wear.

Stretchy Cord

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.

Simple bead changes can make a huge difference in the look of a bracelet.
Simple bead changes can make a huge difference in the look of a bracelet.

Making Bracelets

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.

Comments

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  • ChilliWilly profile image

    ChilliWilly 

    7 years ago from Kaunas, Lithuania

    Very beautiful bracelet's, useful hub

  • profile image

    Barbara 

    7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing some interesting ideas.

  • profile image

    tiffanyjewelry 

    8 years ago

    One of the most common accessories that people wear it is bracelet. Maybe i find it more very simple but it can enhance the physical attribute of a person.

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Hazelton 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    You have great tips and designs. The bracelets are beautiful.

  • profile image

    Irene 

    8 years ago

    Great hub. I enjoyed reading the tips and stories. The instruction steps are very simple to follow. And the pictures are just lovely.

    Irene of http://www.leathercuff.org

  • skye2day profile image

    skye2day 

    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Hello again. This is fantastic. I was given a bucket full of beads, pearls fake and real, gemstones, rhinestones, antique beads you name it it is in there. I finally sorted the goodies in colors and stones. I then put into a large fishing tackle box. Now the beads are organized. With all the talented jewelry artists at hp I think I am ready for design. Thank You for sharing your gifts with hp. I am very thankful for the great, well written info. Easy to follow. My kind of design. Blessings Hugs + + +

  • agvulpes profile image

    Peter 

    8 years ago from Australia

    Great tutorial, I have picked up some great tips to use and I will bookmark this hub for future reference. Thumbs up !

  • beadydani profile image

    beadydani 

    8 years ago from London, England

    Well done for writing such a detailed tutorial. The bracelets are stunning.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • profile image

    Michelle L 

    9 years ago

    beautiful collection....:)..i love it

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