Copper Cuff Bracelet From Copper Tube





Introduction: Copper Cuff Bracelet From Copper Tube

About: I make stuff. All sorts of stuff. I prefer to use materials that would otherwise be headed for the landfill. It's the best seeing someone's face when you tell them what that nifty item is made from (post-...

This copper cuff is a fun piece of jewelry in and of itself, and makes a marvellous (and accurate) accessory piece for a variety of historical costumes. 

Yes, there are tools used in this instructible.  Yes, there is sharp metal in this in structible.  YES, use extreme caution when working with tools or metal of any kind, you CAN injure yourself. 

Ok, with THAT out of the way...

Step 1: Measure and Cut Copper Tube

If I am having to explain to you how to measure your wrist... *sigh*
If you don't have a fabric tape measure, you can wrap a piece of string round your wrist, and measure that.  This is the length of tube you need to cut for your cuff.  Mine was a bit more than 8".  A hacksaw works well to cut the tube.  If you have a tube cutter, I would recommend that for this step.  It makes later steps much easier.  I couldn't find a hacksaw or a tube cutter (though I own BOTH) so I used an angle grinder to cut it.  The diameter of the tube will determine the width of the cuff.  If you look above the vise, there is a LARGE copper cuff from a 2" tube in progress.

Step 2: Cut Tube Open

I use aviation snips for this part.  A cutoff wheel or other such would work as well, but the idea is the same.  (There are several instructables on how to make flat sheet from tube, should you like to try another way of it).  When cutting wit hthe snips, one edge will curl inward, making it difficult to continue cutting.  DO NOT use a single pair of pliers and your hand to open the cut wider.  You WILL cut yourself.  Keep cutting all the way to the end.  The cut may get a little shaggy on the edges, but that's ok, we'll deal with this later. 

Step 3: Flatten Tube Into Flat Stock

Find a nice hard surface to hammer the copper on, this will be the anvil.  In a pinch you could use the sidewalk, but it WILL pattern the copper with the small irregularities on the pavement. 
If the end cut has been spread open wide with the pliers, the tube will flatten easily.  Just keep moving up the length of the tube as the part that you are hammering flattens out.  Be sure to turn over the sheet as it flattens to get the edges as flat as possible.

Step 4: Trim Sheet Edges to Shape

The edges of your plate will be a bit jagged and sharp.  Draw parallel lines on the plate as close to the long edges as possible.  Use snips to cut the edges along the lines drawn to something far more smooth and less likely to shred you.  Be sure to clip off the corner so that you will be able to make a smooth curve later.

Step 5: Bend Copper to Shape

Get a large diameter piece of steel or iron tube for your mandrel.  Using the soft faced hammer, start to bend the very edge of the bracelet.  Use sharp overlapping strikes along the width of the copper to start the copper curving.  It will look much smoother when you are completed.  Once the copper has a bit of curve, take the metal in hand and manually put a sharper curve in the metal simply by carefully bending it.  This is a great deal quicker and much easier.  From there put the curved copper (now very MUCH like a cuff) on the mandrel and hammer smooth and symmetrical any parts of the bracelet that look out of place until it all looks right.  Or at least, right enough to you.


The bracelet needs some filing with a very fine file to clean up any weird spots or rough bits.  This is also the time to file round the corners to make a smooth corner at the cuff opening.  I like to keep the patina that the copper has picked up during it's life as a tube.  No two pieces of tube will have an identical pattern on the inside.  The older the tube, the more verdegris it will have on the inside.



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    19 Discussions

    i have made a cuff like that before, but i didn't cut the tube, i just pounded it flat on the anvil and then bent it to shape. no sharp edges, just square sides that i had to sand smooth

    I have used Johnson's Paste Wax from the hardware store to protect metal, brass, steel, copper from oxidizing without any trouble, if you do the inside and edges with it ever so often it won't cause your wrist, finger etc to turn green.

    I wear a brass anklet all the time - it's made from an old ceiling fan pull chain... and I have yet to suffer any ill effects.. though if I sweat a lot I will have a bit of a greenish discoloration form the copper on my skin - but that just washes off. Anyways I think this is a neat instructable... on a side note you could get nice copper sheets from this method... and if you are like me and strapped for cash and love steampunk... this is a perfect solution! (Now only if I could find some brass pipe to do this to... )

    3 replies


    I honestly do not like copper or brass jewery because of the discoloration...but if you coat the inside withsome sort of protective barrier then you dont get the discoloration

    ...i typed that whole thing to the beat of the song that I am listening to...

    Whenever you take your jewellery off if you give it a wipe with a soft cloth to remove grease/ sweat etc store it in little bag out of the air and you shouldn't have a problem. You can buy jewellery wax although this is very expensive, I like to use a small amount of liquid car wax to give it a protective coating, keeps the bright colour and also prevents the 'green' colour transfer. I re-coat as necessary (prob every 6mnth or so).

    Lulz.... I am constantly listening to music... and yep, I have (often) type to the beat of whatever I'm listening to....
    (I'm doing so now.... >

    One of my hobbies is to listen to Podcasts from German radio stations. A Podcast I recently heard spoke about the germ killing properties of copper. Until recently people in many cultures were available that people in contact with copper were sick less often. You can hear a National Public Radio broadcast about recent studies of copper as a germ killer at this link.

    8 replies

    i heard the same thing about copper. The silver have similar propierties, but it's more expensive.

    I was doing two things at once when I posted. I meant to say, "Until recently people in many cultures were aware that people in contact with copper were sick less often." Another helpful germ killer is eating any food high in poly-phenols. Grapes and things like wine fall into this category. For poly-phenols to be effective, there needs to be an acidic environment. I think your stomach would suffice for that. I saw something about silver ions killing germs. When I was quite young my mother would bring home silver iodide sticks from the hospital where she worked and we would use them to touch canker sores in our mouths. The silver iodide sticks made my canker sores heal up quickly. My wife tried it years later, but it did not work for her. A silver iodide stick is a wooden stick, like a fireplace starter stick or a piece of wood from a potsticker meat serving, like a wooden skewer. One end looks burned from being soaked in silver iodide. I expect it turned dark from exposure to light. Silver iodides were used in photographic film, too.

    I think the silver iodide is also used to purify water in emergency situations.
    With regard to copper, be in contact with copper very long time do not think is very good. There are people who suffered from copper poisoning (in water and food).
    But copper should help prevent the accumulation and bacteria reproducicon of some common diseases.
    (sorry for my english, i use google translate)

    Generally speaking, prolonged exposure to copper does not cause health problems. But I do lacquer the inside of the bracelets, not so much for the copper, but to keep from turning green as quickly!

    mi bracalets turn dark brown inside very quickly, yours turn green? maybe because is another copper aloy.
    what do you use to laquer it?

    Nails laquer, better a most neutral color. Clean and dry well before. There's also some specific product used by goldsmiths to isolate allergenic nickel sometimes present in tiny steel springs in ear rings for rust protection but I think it's not so easy to find and at the moment I don't remember the name of it . Anyway I would try to put some transparent plastic spoons ore the like in acetone for one night in a tight closed PVC or glass bottle and trimm the acetone to obtain a not so thick non so liquid stuff and see how it drips after dipping the copper thing in. I'm going to try a similar stuff to repair a crack in my car's back ligths dissolving , and it does, the red plastic in acetone .
    Copper and it's green derivates is mostly poisonous by ingestion not by contact on skin but stains it like silver and is a considerable water environment hazard agent.

    New study that found copper antibaterial for multiple drug resistant bacteria (only abstract and some figures are availible for free viewing). See link:

    Master Beorn, revive the Calcolithic Era!
    Copper rules! Excellent Ductility and Conduction!
    Check out the link:

    Copper, silver and gold all have antibacterial properties. Interesting side note... gold and silver are two of the three elemental metals that are not silver or gray in color. The other is caesium, BTW... I think copper is SO underused as a jewelry metal in our society. In many others, it is used widely, due to the relative ease of smelting and high malleability. I may post some more here soon! Thanks for the comments!

    1 reply