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4 Simple Steps to an Easy Beaded Bracelet for Kids

Updated on October 27, 2014

4 Simple Steps to Create a Beaded Project With Your Child

When I first stumbled into the world of beading I was expecting my second child and was looking for a hobby that would suit my needs but yet still be kid friendly.

Making beaded jewelry has proven to be the right crafting hobby to fit that need.

I will share with you 4 quick, easy steps to complete this very simple beaded project that I use when I teach a children's class or was in charge of creating a project for my children's class.

Any person from 2 to 102 can make this simple beading project with a few supplies, two tools and a little help from mom or dad for the younger ones.

Read on to see how a simple beading project will instantly create the memories for tomorrow and a token gift to commemorate your time spent together with this memory wire project.

Making 'Memories' With Memory Wire Jewelry

A lifetime treasure

As a child, I received a gift from a most beloved Aunt. It was a bracelet. I placed great value on this pearl bracelet and the value of this treasure increased when I lost my Aunt not too long after.

That has been over 35 years ago and I still have the bracelet. Of course it's not as pretty as it was when I first received it but it still is as precious to me and holds the memories of how much my Aunt loved me.

When I began learning to make jewelry I saw this bracelet through different eyes, the eyes of a creator verses just a receiver of a gift. I realized that this bracelet was a memory wire bracelet.

A memory wire bracelet is the project I'd like to share with you today.

It is a very simple beading project to make, at any age, and is always my project of choice when I host a child's beginner beading class.

Before I begin I like to introduce the materials we will be using in our beading project. You will need just a few supplies that are very affordable and easily available at any local hobby craft store.

So lets get started with our list of supplies.

Bead Mats are a Must - Cushion your work space

Beading mats are a must to have before you begin any project. It is very important to have a work surface that will absorb your beads and keep them from rolling all over.

Memory wire is a coil of wire resembling a 'slinky' and comes in a variety of sizes.

Sizes available, from smallest to largest, are a ring size, bracelet size (good size for children bracelets), a large bracelet size appropriate to accommodate for a larger wrist or can also be used for an anklet and then the necklace size which is a choker style necklace.

Memory wire is called memory wire because the coil of wire never looses it's shape, it will always remain coiled. I like to describe it as it never losing it's shapes memory.

It is a heavy gauge wire and will need a heavy cutting tool to accommodate, anything light will only damage your tool.

Other characteristics to memory wire is the finish on the wire. It can be found with a shiny silver finish, a dull blackish tint, shiny gold finish or copper finish. The shiny polished finishes have a nicer feel and are more pleasing to the touch.

Select the number of coils that you want for your completed bracelet. In other words, how many times do you want your jewelry to wrap around? I do recommend that for the necklace wire you allow two wraps or estimate according to the size neck the jewelry is being made for. Before cutting be sure to add more for the allowance in closing each end.

Right Tools for the Job

There are two tools that you will need to complete this project.

I encourage you to start with a moderate priced and quality set of tools. This will be an initial investment and I would not like to see you settle for the cheaper made tools just to cut corners, you run the risk that they may not operate as smoothly, this may create frustration during the learning process. But I also recommend you not invest in the high end tools either until you are comfortable with your skills and ready to upgrade.

Either way the choice is yours. You will have these tools for awhile so choose what you feel comfortable with, only you can decide that for yourself.

Tool 1 - Floral Wire Cutters

Your first tool will be a pair of floral wire cutters.

These cutters need to be strong enough to cut through the heavy gauge of memory wire. A good set will cut this wire with ease. You can find these heavy cutters not only in beading aisles of hobby craft store or department but you can also find them in the floral departments of your local crafting store as well.

If you would rather buy them on line here is a good pair that would do the job. Starting with the right tools will make it easy on yourself.

FloraCraft Floral Accessories Floral Tools, 6-1/2-Inch Wire Cutter
FloraCraft Floral Accessories Floral Tools, 6-1/2-Inch Wire Cutter

Using the right tool for the right job is essential. These are very affordable, they will last you and well worth the investment.

 

Tool 2 - Round Nose Pliers

The second tool you will need can be either a round nose plier or chain nose plier . You will use this tool to close each end of the wire.

These are two completely different tools but for this project either the round nose and chain pliers basically do the same job.

Beadsmith Jewelry Fine Round Nose Micro Pliers PL513
Beadsmith Jewelry Fine Round Nose Micro Pliers PL513

I find Beadsmith tools a nice grade that will make your beading project easy to handle and they are moderately priced to fit your budget.It is important to have a nice tool while working on your beading project so as to not create frustration while you are in the learning process. As I generally say if you buy cheap you get cheap. These beadsmith round nose pliers are affordable and will be worth the investment. I am still using my same tools after 8 years of use.

 

Beads Make the Bracelet - tips for selecting the right beads

Choosing beads you would like for your project is a personal preference.

Here are a few tips to pay attention to when making your bead selectin to prevent frustration while creating your piece of jewelry.

**Beads with large holes: If you choose beads that has large holes, make sure that you either create larger loops on the ends to hold the beads on or start and end your project with smaller holed beads.

**Beads with small holes: Just the reverse is also possible. If you select beads with too small of holes then the wire may be thicker than the bead hole will allow.

**Long beads: There is a natural curve to the wire. Pay close attention to the length of your bead, some long beads do not slide on easily. I suggest for your first project to use 4-10 mm size bead.

**How many beads will you need?: Of course this will depend on the size bead you choose and the number of coils you select. I have included a quick reference chart that will help with your estimate.

I always suggest you make sure that you have more beads than needed just to have on hand for unexpected events.

eCrafty's Everything But the Kitchen Sink! ONLY LAMPWORK Glass Beads Mix 1/2 Lb
eCrafty's Everything But the Kitchen Sink! ONLY LAMPWORK Glass Beads Mix 1/2 Lb

So many beads, so little time. Any selection will be a good start for you. Once you have mastered this technique you will be finding yourself creating many of these fun little pieces. By having the variety of sizes in memory wire you can easily create jewelry sets.

 

Let's Get Beading

now that you have your supplies

Gather all your supplies and dedicate a space for you to complete this project.

Allow enough time to complete project in one setting, 30 min to an hour should do it.

The longest part of this process is determining the bead pattern and design.

Are you Ready?

Then let's bead-gin.

Chart For Measuring Your Jewelry - How many coils will you choose?

After collecting all your materials and before you cut the memory wire you must first decide how many coils you want in your project. How many times do you want your jewelry to wrap?

Here is a quick reference chart to determine how many beads you will need for the number of coils you've chosen for your project. Remember these are just approximates.

I recommend you use no smaller than a 4mm size bead or larger than a 8mm bead for your first project.

Once you are more comfortable with this process then explore different size beads just make sure that the bead holes are large enough to fit onto the wire and that the bead is not too long so not to coil with the natural curve of the memory wire.

1 Bracelet Coil = approx 7 1/2 inches

1 Large Bracelet Coil = approx 8 1/2 inches

1 Necklace Coil = approx 16 inches

Multiply the number of coils you will be stringing according to this chart for the size bead you will be using.

If you do not know the size bead you are using check your packaging very carefully, it normally states the size of the bead you just need to look for it. BUT...if the package does not say or you are unsure then use this quick reference.

An approximate 6 mm bead equals the size of your pinky nail.

Woman Bracelet 7" to 8"
Large Bracelet or Anklet 10"
Choker 16"
4mm - 45 beads
4mm - 65 beads
4mm - 100 beads
6mm - 30 beads
6mm - 43 beads
6mm - 68 beads
8mm - 22 beads
8mm - 32 beads
8mm - 50 beads
cut the number of coils needed
cut the number of coils needed

Step 1: Cutting the Memory Wire - How many coils?

When beginning to cut the memory wire always allow a little bit more for closing both ends and feel free to allow more for beginners.

**Please Note** You can always cut the wire down but you can never add more wire on.

Once your have decided just nip the wire with your floral wire cutters.

**Additional Note** Always use the right tool for the right job, the heavy gauge of memory wire will certainly ruin a nice pair of cutters.

close one end of the wire
close one end of the wire

Step 2: Close one End - Create a stopper for your beads

Use your pliers, either the round nose or chain nose, and curl one end of the memory wire til the tip of the wire touches the inside. Use the tip of this tool to get a close and small closure as shown in this picture.

It is necessary to close one end first so that when you begin stringing the beads they do not fall off at the other end.

begin stringing the beads
begin stringing the beads

Step 3: Stringing the Memory Wire - Play and have fun with design

Begin stringing your beads onto the wire with the open end.

*Please pay special attention to the size of hole in your first and last bead. Make sure that it is not larger than the loop made on the ends of the memory wire, otherwise your bead will fall right off.

If the hole of the beads you are using are larger than the end loop just add a smaller holed bead at each end.

Patterns are strictly your choice, I encourage you to have fun with this and explore.

Step 4: Closing The End

Time to finish it off

Once you are finished stringing your full memory wire, be sure you leave approx 3/8 to 1/2 inch to close.

If there is more than that, trim the excess wire down using your heavy wire cutters again.

Once you have done that, repeat Step 1 making sure you have a good hold of the loose beads on the memory wire until you can secure the opposite end.

Did You Find This Helpful?

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Memory Wire Project

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  • Miljana LM profile image

    Miljana LM 3 years ago

    I am going to show this to my little sister!!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    think me and my granddaughter will try this simple bracelet...it's a start!

  • OrganicMom247 profile image

    OrganicMom247 5 years ago

    This sounds like a fun activity.

  • profile image

    funbee lm 5 years ago

    This lens is really well done and simple to follow.

  • bead at home mom profile image
    Author

    Teri Hansen 5 years ago

    @anonymous: Thx for stopping by. Regarding your question about a measurement for a child's wrist, if you are using the memory wire the regular bracelet memory wire fits 8-12 years perfectly, but I would only use 1 1/2 to 2 full coils. When using regular bracelet size for adults I will do 3 - 4 coils or 2 coils of the large memory wire bracelet. I hope this helps Let me know if you have any additional questions.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Loved the info about wire lengths and knowing how many beads to buy. I am making several bracelets for a large choir that include children and teenagers. You listed approx. cut length sizes for Women. Would you have a suggestion for a cut length measurement for children's wrists 8yrs-12yrs? Thank you!

  • profile image

    Kumarastylez 5 years ago

    For sure i am going to try this with my little one :) I did it before but never this way, and it is also fast. thank you for sharing this!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    This is a great lens for quick gifts.

  • LouisaDembul profile image

    LouisaDembul 6 years ago

    This is something I have to try with my children! We love beads, but have never tried doing it this way before.

  • bead at home mom profile image
    Author

    Teri Hansen 6 years ago

    @retta719: You will not regret these mats. I have had mine now on to 6-7 years. They are washable and do not collect lint.

  • retta719 profile image

    Loretta 6 years ago from United States

    I have a lot of cross stitch projects that had beading added to them, I think I need one of those bead mats so I stop making such a mess when I spill the beads! :-p

  • bead at home mom profile image
    Author

    Teri Hansen 6 years ago

    @ideadesigns: It really is as easy as it looks. Give it a try sometime.Thanks for stopping by.

  • profile image

    ideadesigns 6 years ago

    This is a great learning tutorial, you made it look easy!

  • profile image

    bdkz 7 years ago

    This looks like a lot of fun!