Introduction: Easy Valentines Bracelet
Well if you are anything like me you really don't know what to get your special someone for valentines day. I like to go other than the usual chocolate and flowers route... not that there's anything wrong with that... BUT i usually like to make something. Necklaces and earrings are tough because they are RIGHT THERE and obvious if not perfect for that person or occasion. Rings are nice but i've been there. What about a bracelet? nicely done, tasteful... and if it isn't absolutely perfect well.. its a bracelet which can get away with not being perfect.
Whats great about this design is that you can get away with not having all the special tools and materials. No soldering needed.
Here's what you need:
-About 4 inches of 18G Brass... either a small sheet piece or a strip 1/4" wide by 4" long.
-About 4 inches of 18G Silver, 1/4" wide. You can get high-nickle silver which is nice and quite a bit cheaper or go the sterling route.
-10 1/4" diameter slip rings. (little loops)
-1 1/4" spring ring. (a loop with a hook that opens)
-small smooth ball-peen hammer
-Ring mandrel or a smooth piece of 3/4"wide pipe.
-Drill press or hand drill or dremel with a 1/16" drill bit.
-Sandpaper... 120G, 180G, 220G, 320G,
-Small needlenose pliers.
-A vice (or C-Clamp in a pinch)
-A set of needle files. ( or at least one small flat one)
- A buffer or a dremel with a buffer is a nice thing to have
-A punch with a heart-stamp cutout
-A piece of string about 6" long.
Most of the Materials and tools are available from your local well-stocked hardware store. Most craft stores have the slip rings and fine tools. The silver and heart punch you can get from any jewelery supply place. The brass is often sold as shim stock in the hardware stores.
Well thats the stuff. Shall We Begin?
Submitted by HD Stafford Middle School for the Instructables Sponsorship Program
Step 1: How Big?
You have to figure out how big the bracelet needs to be. This is tricky if its a surprise. Maybe sneak a ruler into the bathroom sometime. That sounds a bit wierd but find "the favorite bracelet" and measure it. You can also use the string method i'll outline... use your own wrists... (mine are quite skinny... "girlie" my wife calls them...i call them "slender but macho") Or measure the wrists of a random person of similar size. This also might get weird but its up to you.
Just use a piece of string to make a loop of the size you want and mark it with a sharpie. Be sure to add enough for movement but not have it so loose it will fall off. In the picture above you'll notice 2 marks...One was my wrist with the loop snug, the other was with the added inch or so.
Measure the string and figure out how many pieces you need. I did the pieces at 3/4" long and made 5 of each... brass and copper. make a couple extra so you can make a mistake...or two...
Step 2: Start Making the Parts.
Use a Ruler and sharpie to draw lines on the brass and silver where you want the lengths. You can use an aviation snip or small saw or what-have-you to cut them out. The big cutter-thingie in the background is a Beverly Shear. handy tool.
Use a small hammer on a block of wood... hardwood is best... to hammer the pieces flat. Spend a minute getting the pieces all the same length.
If you have managed to find a Heart shaped Stamp, now is the time to put on the heart. You can also use a sharp chaser tool to make a heart or maybe a sharp awl and hammer to create a design. Be creative! This is where it is yours and personal.
I gather all the pieces and put them in a zip lock.
Step 3: Prep the Pieces
I use a jewelers block which is basically just a piece of maple with some angled cuts in it to work the pieces. You can use the edge of the table, too.
Use a small file to clean all the edges... make them square and remove all the burrs.
Wrap the sandpaper tightly around a piece of wood. A mixing stick from a paint shop works well. Start sanding with a 150 or 180 Grit. Make sure you sand ALL the scratches off. The piece won't be shiny at all. It shouldn't have any big scratches though. Move to the 220 grit, sand for awhile than move to the 340 Grit. Spend awhile at each step... it will make a big difference in the end.
If you have a buffer you can use a rouge to make it super shiny or a dremel with a cloth buffer attached. Toothpaste also works great and of course there are all sorts of polishes available as well.
Step 4: Drill the Holes
Use a clamp or vice of some kind to secure the pieces before drilling. Don't hand hold the pieces while drilling. Mark and centerpunch (if you have one) a drilling spot. The hole should be centered and in from the edge about 1/8". Drill on both ends.
You can use a hand drill or a drill press with a 1/16" drill bit.
The photo is of a part being clamped in a Jorgensen clamp. Typically they're used in woodworking but are really useful in any shop.
Step 5: Shaping the Parts
This step isn't absolutely required but i like it because it makes the bracelet really unique.
A ring mandrel in a vice is the perfect tool because it is tapered and allows for changing radius bends in your piece. You can use a 1/2"-3/4" pipe or rod but make sure its super smooth.
Use a small smooth ball peen hammer for this step. Again, not required.. just nice to have...you can use a regular hammer, too.
Hold the silver/brass against the mandrel. Press against the tool so the piece doesn't leap around. Gently tap around the edge where you want it to flatten and spread out. You can do the whole thing if you want... I just did the edges. You can force the end of the piece around the mandrel to make a curve. I flipped the piece so that the curve would go in opposite directions.
If you hammer over the hole it might cover it over but no problem... just re-drill it later.
Maybe practice on a scrap piece so you get the feel of it.
Step 6: Attaching It All Together
Gather up the 1/4" slip rings. I used a pair of needle nose pliers to crash them a bit into ovals... they reach better and lay down flatter that way. Use the pliers to open them up sideways. Slip a piece of silver through than a piece of copper. Use the pliers to close the gap. It took a bit of head scratching to line all the pieces up properly and to make sure all the slip ring gaps were facing in the right direction...
Attach the Clasp at one end to a slip ring and leave another slip ring at the other end for it to attach to .
Don't forget a big part of this is presentation... find (or make) a cool box and wrap it up with a nice card.
Happy Valentines day everyone!
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