Introduction: Hardware Store Bracelet
Make a classy bracelet from hardware store materials! This simple bracelet looks very upscale, but is inexpensive, classic, and easy.
Step 1: Materials Needed
Obtain the following materials from your local hardware store (and/or bead or craft shop):
spool of 20 ga brass wire
spool of 20 ga copper wire
spool of 18 ga copper wire.
Look in the sections where they have doorbells and picture-hanging supplies if you are having trouble.
Step 2: Tools Needed
Get the following tools if you don't already have them. Some of them, like the round nose pliers, are more jewellery specific and may not be available in hardware stores.
an anvil or bench block (solid and smooth chunk of metal)
hammer with a nice smooth face
nylon tip pliers (or regular pliers with their jaws wrapped in layers of tape so that they are smooth)
round nose pliers (needle nose with wrapped jaws will be OK)
2 pin vises
and a thingie from the hardware store called a "quick-grip clamp"
Step 3: Cut and Straighten the Wires.
Begin by cutting 24" of the 18 ga copper wire. Clean and straighten it, then cut it into four 5" pieces. One 4" piece will remain.
Smack the 5" pieces flat using the anvil and the hammer. Try to keep them as straight as possible. They will lengthen by about 1/4" and curve somewhat; simply straighten the curve using the nylon pliers. Polish them with the cloth and file one end smooth. Set aside for the moment.
Double over the 4" piece and smack it gently. This piece should not be as flat as the others. Polish and set aside.
Step 4: Make the Twisted Wire for the Outside.
Cut 18" of the 20 ga wires, both copper and brass. Clean and straighten them then, using the pin vises, twist them together. Set aside.
Step 5: Weave the Middle Braid.
This is the most complex part. Read it through a couple of times.
Cut 4 10" pieces each of 20 ga brass and copper. Clean and straighten each one. Tape them together, in a straight line, at the bottom with floral tape, alternating the metals. It won't be extremely neat, but don't worry about that; just do your best.
Place into the clamp just above the taped area. Bend alternating pairs of wire (one brass, one copper) in opposing directions. One set forward, one set backward.
Bend the pair on the right all the way across to the left, keeping the wires aligned.
Fold the remaining three pairs over the bent wires to the opposite sides.
Manipulate the bent pair, formerly the right pair, so that it is now the far left pair. Bend it so that it is parallel with the second pair.
Very carefully release the clamp and reset the wires down so that they are just above the edge of the clamp. You will cover the first weave. Tighten the clamp back up.
Continue in this manner until the wires are woven. (Clamp, weave, unclamp, move it down, reclamp, repeat.) Should you need to put down the work, make a note which side is the front so that when you pick it up it will be in front again. (It will create a bend in the work if you weave it backwards.)
The wires will stick out the right side of the clamp at an angle as you work on it.
When you cannot weave any more, remove the braid from the clamp and straighten it with the nylon pliers. You may like to hammer it very gently to get any lumps out of it.
Trim the ends to make a 6" piece of woven material. File the ends if necessary to remove any roughness.
I've tried to make the pictures pretty clear. If you are stuck for extremely detailed directions, I am stealing this part pretty much straight from the book "Woven Wire Jewelry" by Linda Chandler and Christine Ritchey. Many libraries have it.
Step 6: Make the Cage.
Fold the twisted wires in half to make a cage for the woven piece.
Use floral tape to assemble temporarily.
Step 7: Bind the Cage to the Braid.
Make a hook in one of the 5 in. flat copper pieces. Neatly wind it around the end of the bracelet, securing the woven part to the twisted part, leaving a small loop for the clasp. Make 3 or 4 twists, cut and flatten the flat bit on the back side.
(You will be cutting off about half of your flat wire, but you need the extra so you can grip it firmly.)
Repeat on the other end and in two other places, spacing the pieces about 1.5 inch. from the ends. File any rough edges.
Step 8: Finish It Up!
Lower left and upper right pictures:
Trim the twisted wires to about 1/2". Twist more firmly if needed. Curl into two loops, tucking the ends into the flat wire. You will want to make sure the flat wire can't slip off..
Upper left picture:
Bend the folded end of the 4" wire to make a hook. Measure recipient's wrist at this point and cut the hook to size so that the bracelet will fit when clasped. Work the wire patiently so that the hook end won't get any skin pinched inside it -- it needs to be quite closed at the operating end.
Lower right picture:
Attach the hook to the twisted wires. The two ends go into the two loops created in the first part of this step, and then roll into themselves (think "scroll") with the ends on the inside of the bracelet.
Background picture: Carefully manipulate into a wrist-friendly shape using anything you have handy for a mandrel. I used a piece of pvc to form the tighter curves at the side and my hands to ease the rest into a curve. Round doesn't work, for some reason. After you clasp the hook you can kind of pull on the short sides to get a pretty even shape.
Step 9: Admire Your Beautiful Work.
Since you've now spent two or three hours making this, it's time to sit back and really admire your handiwork. Take some pictures (using river rocks like I did, or roll your own backdrop).
Then make a second one, since you're probably going to end up keeping this one for yourself!
To keep the copper clean you can rub some dry baking soda in and then brush with an old, dry toothbrush then rinse with water and dry well. Brushing with toothpaste, like you brush your teeth, will also make it sparkle.
These instructions were originally composed by me and posted here:
So if you've been looking for me, now you've got another link to who I am. Congratulations. Mike, I expect to be hearing from you about that drink pretty soon.