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Learn To Create A Freeform Wire Sparkly Beaded Cuff Bracelet!

Updated on November 11, 2014
SheilaSchnauzies profile image

SheilaSchnauzies is a Miniature Schnauzer rescuer, writer, crochet designer, gardener, crafter, wife, mom & friend living in Omaha, NE.

Want To Play Jewelry? This Is FUN!

If you've always wanted to play with designing your own fun jewelry, this freeform wire bracelet might just be the ticket! It's very easy to do, and you don't have to have any jewelry experience at all to do it.

In this article, I'll give you guidelines on the beads, wire and tools you'll need to accomplish this project. I'll also teach you how to do the coiled wire that is such a big part of it. Don't be intimidated by the wire coils. They look fancy but are very easy to make. Just takes a bit of practice! If you really don't want to do the coils, you can substitute with a bead secured on the end of the wire with a drop of jewelry glue. Easy!

This bracelet, which was created for my fairy goddaughter Laurie for her birthday last week, includes over six feet of aluminum and copper wire! The large bead you see is a Russian Amethyst, and the rest of the beads are Amethysts and Swarovski crystals. Since Laurie is all about bling, she was a happy girl!

Make yours as delicate or bold as you like. The only limit is your imagination!

The Schnauzer Difficulty Rating! 1 - Easy!

The Schnauzer Difficulty Rating! 1 - Easy!
The Schnauzer Difficulty Rating! 1 - Easy!

Helpful Accessories From Amazon - My Hand Picks!

BeadSmith XTL-5620 Jewelry Beading Tool 4 In 1 Pliers Round Nose Cut Wire
BeadSmith XTL-5620 Jewelry Beading Tool 4 In 1 Pliers Round Nose Cut Wire

These do it all! Not a bad deal. I think I need some!

 

What You Will Need

1 Spool of Aluminum Wire

1 Spool of 20 gauge Copper Wire in desired color

As many crystals, glass beads, or gemstone beads as you want to use! NOTE: Make sure the 20 gauge wire will fit through your bead holes. Don't be disappointed!

Round Nose Pliers

Wire Cutters (or heavy duty scissors will do)

8mm round natural amethyst gemstone beads strand 15",Jewelry Making Beads
8mm round natural amethyst gemstone beads strand 15",Jewelry Making Beads

These pretty amethysts are a perfect size for this type of bracelet.

 

A Word About Bead Selection

When you are purchasing beads, look at the hole size. Ideally, have a piece of your 20 gauge copper wire with you to test whether the wire fits through the holes.

If you must use beads with smaller holes, you can always string them on 24 gauge copper wire and include them in your project.

I Use And Recommend CraftMates Locking Bead & Component Storage Boxes!! - Or... How NOT To Play 300 Bead Pickup!!

These locking compartment storage boxes are the cat's meow. They come in various sizes. My favorite is the size that's about 12" long. Your beads will be safe, protected, and best of all you can open just one or many compartments at a time. I have found nothing better in which to store my precious beads and gemstones!

CraftMates even sells carriers to store multiple boxes. How sweet is that! You can take your projects on the go.

First Select Your Beads!

Choose beads of various sizes that make you smile! I love using Swarovski crystals to accent my creations. Clear, Black or White can accent anything.

Amethyst Gemstone Chip Beads 5-10mm (30-32 Inch Strand)
Amethyst Gemstone Chip Beads 5-10mm (30-32 Inch Strand)

Here are some of the funky-shaped chip beads of amethyst that I used in Laurie's bracelet.

 

Here's A Freeform Solid Sterling Ring I Made - Using The Freeform Wire Technique

Every Time You Add Wire...

Artistic Wire 20-Gauge Bare Copper Wire,15-Yards
Artistic Wire 20-Gauge Bare Copper Wire,15-Yards

Here is the wire I use in the vast majority of my jewelry creations.

 

You'll want to cut your end at a 45 degree angle with your nippers so that when you coil the end, it will lie flat against the wire.

There's A Virtually Unlimited Choice Out There!

Here is a photo of just one section of a bead aisle at my local JoAnn store. They always have a bead sale of some kind going on.

If you visit Hobby Lobby on the right week, they do 1/2 price bead sales. Best idea is to subscribe to their newsletter at HobbyLobby.com and you will be informed of the weekly sales. Many times, their newsletter includes a 40% off one item coupon which you can use on anything!

Michael's stores also have an excellent bead selection and they carry the Blue Moon beads which are wonderful.

Ebay has been my best source of bargain real semi-precious gemstone beads. Let's say I do a search for "faceted amethyst gemstone beads -Swarovski -crystal -glass" - that weeds out all the crystal and glass beads I'm NOT looking for. Once there I sort them by price - low to high and I'm off to shop!

Things to avoid when buying online – there are a lot of ebay sellers who advertise fake opals (Opalite is one of my favorite beads to use! But it's glass and not the real precious opals. ) and moonstones as real. The key words to minus in your search are "Sri," "Sri Lanka Moonstone," "faux," "Lab," etc. Search for Opalite on the internet or at eBay and see what it looks like and then you'll never be fooled. Other gemstones are falsely advertised as well but they are far less common and usually you can tell they're not what they say.

You are welcome to message me through the box above and I'll be glad to email you a list of my trusted ebay sellers for gemstones.

Let's Make That Bracelet!

Artistic Wire 24-Gauge Bare Copper Wire, 20-Yards
Artistic Wire 24-Gauge Bare Copper Wire, 20-Yards

I use this smaller size of wire for beads that have tiny holes. It fits most of those. Then I wire them into the piece made with larger wire.

 

The bracelet is made with building blocks of gemstones strung onto copper wire. The size 20 gauge is stronger and will provide strength and stability. The size 24 gauge is used for beads with smaller holes that won't fit on the 20 gauge. You just attach the 24 gauge section to a 20 gauge section and secure it.

First, let's take your wrist measurement. Double that measurement and add 2 inches to it. Now cut a piece of 20 gauge wire that length.

Gently smooth the coils out of the wire by running your hand down the wire while holding it in your palm. Now put your focal bead, the biggest one, onto the wire. Place it in the direct center of the wire. Gently bend both sides of the wire at the sides of the bead as shown in the picture.

The bead I chose for a focal is a huge Russian Amethyst faceted bead. Isn't it pretty?

Crucial Step - Make The Bracelet Fit You!

You'll want to try the bracelet on first. First, make one twist at the top of the focal bead. Now center the focal bead at the center top of your wrist, fold it gently around your wrist and see where you want the ends to meet in the back of your wrist. Make your folds on each of the wires at those points. They shouldn't be hard folds - you want to bend them around your finger. Yours should look something like this.

Moving Forward... - Let's Coil Some Wire!

You should practice this technique on separate pieces of wire until you have mastered it. It's very easy but you do have to practice a bit. I've included several YouTube tutorials on wire coiling, just scroll down.

Time To Start Creating!

I took my wire ends and bent them around as shown. You can put your wires wherever you like!

Continue Adding Wires Which Build Strength.

Here I've added another wire with more coils on the ends, securing them in place by bending the coil around the wire.

More...

Just added a strand of wire wrapping it around the focal and securing with bent coils around wire.

Now We Add Some Pretty Rocks!

Our bracelet is getting more stable with each addition of wires. Here I have strung a bunch of gemstones and crystals onto a wire to distribute along the length of the bracelet by wrapping it around existing wires.

Here They Are In Place

We're All Finished!

The bracelet feels very heavy, or substantial, at this point and lies flat when you put it on a flat surface, as shown in this photo.

If your bracelet isn't lying flat, you can gently bend the entire bracelet with your hands so that it does. You can also do some gentle bending with it in place on your wrist to make it fit just like you like it.

Here's The Bracelet From The Back...

What Do You Think Of This Project? - Come On, You Can Tell Me!

What Are Your Thoughts On This Pattern?

See results

Learn How To Coil Wire On YouTube!

All photographs and content ©SheilaSchnauzies. All rights reserved.

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