These cuff bracelets are super simple to make and make awesome Christmas presents. Who wouldn’t want to receive a cute stack of bangles in their Christmas stocking and the fact you made them yourself makes them even more awesome.
These little bracelets are perfect for stacking and mixing with lots of other bracelets or you can wear them alone for a minimalist look. So versatile. I carved an irregular line pattern into the surface to catch the light and to make them a bit more interesting. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.
Choosing your wire
1. How easy is the wire is to work with.
Wire can be described by sellers as soft, half hard and hard.This refers to how easy the wire is to bend into shapes. Soft is the easiest to work with and hard will require a lot of hammering. Obviously I recommend that you get some soft wire this will save a lot of effort.
Don’t worry about your bangle loosing its shape if you use soft wire. As you hammer and bend the wire it will become harder and hold its shape. By the time you finish the cuff will remain in nice shape.
2. Which metal?
I made my bangles out of sterling silver but you could use any metal. You can by copper, brass and bronze wire in a variety places. You can try eBay but I sometimes find the metal overpriced. Cookson Gold is a professional jewellery making website but there prices are good and the postage isn’t too expensive. If you want to buy wire from here it is listed under bullion (which is technically how the metal is described).
Another good source is wires.co.uk. They stock a good range of wires in different sizes and materials.
I would recommend that you use a solid metal and not plated. As you hammer the ends the metal in the centre will show and this is usually a different colour to the plated metal. It will make the ends of the bracelet look a mess.
If you want silver bracelets check out the prices on Cookson Gold it might not be as expensive as you think. (When compared to buying a ready-made cuff bangle in sterling silver.)
Just a quick note on brass, be careful what type of you buy. Some brass has a little lead mixed in. This is used in model making, you need to buy brass that is jewellery grade i.e. no lead content.
(And just another note – some of the 3mm brass I have bought has been listed as “rod” and not “wire” on eBay so if you can’t find what you are looking for that might help.)
3. How thick is it?
My bracelets are made with wire 3mm thick. I would not make them any thicker without proper jewellery making tools the metal would be too difficult to bend. If you have never made anything with wire before try some 2mm thick wire. The bangles will be super skinny but they will still look great and hold their shape. Once you have got the hang of making them move up to 3mm wire.
Ok let’s make a cuff bracelet.
3mm solid metal wire in sterling silver, brass, copper or bronze;
Thin sharpie or marker pen;
Heavy duty wire cutters;
Fine grit sandpaper.
Something to bend the wire around eg. tin, table leg, rolling pin
Sturdy surface to hammer on eg. work bench, steel block
1. Measure a length of wire about 16cm long for a small wrist. You might need to adjust this if you need to make a bigger bangle. Mark with the pen.
2. Cut the wire using heavy-duty cutters.
3. For the next step use a hammer with a smooth flat surface.
4. Hammer about 1cm of each end of the wire. I have a steel block but you can use something study that can take a lot of force.
5. It will look something like this.
6.Use a file to round the end.
7. Make sure the end is nice and smooth without any rough bits.
8. Use a little fine grit sandpaper to remove any hammer and file marks.
9. Bend the cuff around a can to get the shape. You might need to hammer the hammer the ends so they don’t stick out. Be careful doing this so you don’t break whatever object you are using to shape the bangle.
10. You can leave the bangle surface smooth or you could carve lines into the surface using the file like I did with mine.
You might need to give them a little polish with a soft cloth to bring out the shine and you are all finished.