One of the (non-career related) benefits of teaching college students – adjunct though I may be – is that it helps keep me on top of fashion trends. Some I’ve by far already aged out of (apparently midriff shirts are a thing again?). But others I’m totally still young enough for, and the wire charm bracelets I’ve been seeing everywhere are right up my alley.
Bonus, they are TOTALLY DIYable. Which is great for me, since most of the actual brand name bracelets are hella expensive (for my budget anyway) at about $30 a bangle. That said, the actual bangles (I do own one – Jim bought me one for my birthday!) are made of much higher quality materials, and are far sturdier than my DIY version, so just beware.
I had many of the materials needed beforehand (tools, wire, jump rings, and some charms – many still unopened! Craft supply stashing has its benefits sometimes). After raiding my stash, these bracelets cost me a minimal amount of money. However, if you’re starting from scratch, this project may end up costing as much as one of the original bangles – the pliers you need can run the bill up pretty easily. That said, you’ll be set up to make a whole bunch instead of just one, plus the pliers (at least in my experience) pay for themselves in jewelry repair beyond this project. I can’t tell you how many necklaces and earrings I’ve salvaged and fixed over the years with my set.
- Flat Nose Jewelry Pliers
- Round Nose Jewelry Pliers
- Wire Cutters
(here’s a set of jewelry pliers on amazon that aren’t too pricey)
- Thick Jewelry Wire – I used 16 gauge dead soft wire that I got forever ago at Michael’s (they’re all the same brand – luckily I still had the tag on one coil!)
- Large-ish Charms to match your wire
- Jump Rings (or you can make your own out of the wire – I have a whole stash of them, so I didn’t bother.)
- Small charms for accent purposes – I bought a variety from Michael’s and Hobby Lobby
First, take your wire, and cut enough to go around your wrist tightly about one and a half times – the circumference of the wire I used means I cut about this much:
Next, bend each end like so:
There should be a little more than half an inch for each bend – enough to loop over the wire comfortably. Then, if needed, bend the wire in so the ends overlap by about an inch and a half, like so:
Then, take your round nose pliers and bend one of the little “tails” over the wire above it, trimming off the excess and then using your flat nose pliers to clamp it down so the wire won’t escape, as the following three pictures (hopefully) illustrate:
Repeat the process with the second “tail:”
Once you finish the second bend you’ll have a bangle base that looks like this:
From here on out, it’s a breeze. Open up a jump ring…
… and attach your main charm to the bangle base between the two wire bends.
Then take your little accent charms…
… and attach them to the main part of the bracelet. And Voila! All done!
Each bracelet takes about three minutes once you get the hang of the bends. I had a bunch of charms (I admit I went and bought more, even) and so within 30 minutes I had a whole bunch of bangles! They’re not nearly as nice as the real ones, but I like the fact that I can make them with any charm of my choice, and they’ll certainly do for now. At least until I can actually afford to treat myself to the real ones!
Enjoy (and don’t mind my pasty pale arm)!