Introduction: Celebration Charm Bracelet

Make an Instructibles charm bracelet to celebrate your accomplishments! I have had so much fun winning awards and badges for my Instructibles, that I decided to make a celebration charm bracelet. If you prefer, choose another theme (grandkids, a television show, etc.), for a bracelet that will make you smile.

When I was young, sterling silver charm bracelets were very popular. We would go on vacation, and I would buy a charm (Mickey Mouse!) to add to my bracelet. I would add charms that represented my hobbies, such as a palette to represent art. On your sixteenth birthday, you would add a “sweet sixteen” charm. As the years progressed, a computer and flip phone would be added. Sterling silver charms were plentiful in stores, and only cost about five dollars each. As the price of silver rose, charms became too expensive for children’s jewelry. They were gradually replaced by cheaper versions of Pandora beads, which were easier to add to bracelets. In a moment of nostalgia, I decided to make an inexpensive version of the old silver charm bracelets, to celebrate my Instructibles accomplishments.

Step 1: Choose a Theme, and Gather Your Supplies.

Supplies needed:

· Beading sting or wire (I used plastic beading string) OR a pre-made metal chain bracelet

· An assortment of basic jewelry findings including: jump rings, head pins, and eye pins

· Charms and broken pieces from recycled jewelry

· Glass beads

· Oven-baked clay

· Pliers, and wire cutters

· Clear fingernail polish

Pick a theme for your bracelet. I previously made a blue bracelet with an American Idol theme, featuring stars, a sparkly globe, and tiny framed pictures of American Idol winners. For my next bracelet, I will be honoring one of my favorite childhood television series, Gulligian’s Island, with palm trees, life preservers, green beads, and a framed picture of Gulligian and his friends. What theme will you pick?

For this bracelet, I decided to have an Instructibes award theme. My base bracelet will be beads threaded on string, but you may choose to skip this step, and just use an existing metal chain bracelet as your base. These bracelets are prettier if try to use just one or two colors, which fit your theme. My bracelet base is orange, which is an Instructibles color. My charms will represent various badges and awards that I have earned.

Step 2: Find or Make Your Charms.

Be creative! I save broken pieces of costume jewelry in jars for projects such as this. I began by digging through my jars, hunting for charms or pieces that fit my theme. If you find making your own charms to be too challenging, go shopping in the beading aisle of a craft store for charms. Here are my charm celebrations.

· I made a pine cone charm, to celebrate my “DIY Bird Feeder”, which has been featured. I made this charm by threading silver tone metal spacer beads onto an eye pin, and using needle nose pliers to add a loop to the top of the charm. By using graduated bead sizes, the stack has the shape of a pine cone.

· “Luxurious Lemon Hand Scrub (and Laxative!)” was featured, and a finalist in the Home Remedies Contest. I threaded two lemon yellow beads onto an eye pin, and used needle nose pliers to add a loop to the top of the charm. The bottom bead is square, and represents the jar; the small top bead represents the lid.

· To celebrate “Luxurious Lemon Hand Scrub (and Laxative!)” being a finalist in the Home Remedies Contest, I use a tiny square picture frame charm that was purchased at a craft store. I went to the “About Me” page on Instructibles, and right clicked on the badge that I received for being a finalist. I opened a word processor page, and pasted the badge. I clicked on the badge, and dragged my mouse on the corner of the badge to resize it to fit in the tiny frame. I printed the page, cut out the badge, and put it in the tiny frame.

· My “Stained Glass Necklace” was a featured instructible with more than 2200 views. I made a small stained glass charm, like the ones on my necklace, to add to my bracelet.

· “The Clapping Game” is a finalist in the “How to Play __” Contest. I could not find a charm of hands clapping, but I found a pair of dice beads that I had saved from a broken necklace. Since the bead holes were very large, I sandwiched the dice between two tiny silver-tone spacer beads. They were threaded onto a head pin, which has flat head instead of wire loop of the eye pin, and a loop was made on the top with needle nose pliers.

· I have won two awards: a bronze star for having 1+ featured instructibles, and a bronze eye for having more than 10,000 views. I could not find anything resembling these awards, so I sculpted these awards from beige oven-bake clay. I added a hole (for a wire ring) in the charms before baking them at 250 degrees for less than five minutes. If you make oven-baked clay charms, watch the oven closely. These tiny charms cook very quickly, and can burn by baking just a few extra seconds. After they had cooled, I added a coat of clear fingernail polish. The polish added shine and durability. It also smoothed irregular clay edges.

· Since this was an Instructibles themed bracelet, I couldn’t resist making an orange robot charm from oven-baked clay! I embedded small pieces of wire, and eye pins in the clay before baking, to add details to the charm (the wheels and the antennas). An eye pin pushed into the top before baking, will make it much easier to add a ring for attaching to the bracelet. The oven will not get hot enough to melt these pieces of wire.

Step 3: Assemble Your Bracelet.

(If you are using a premade bracelet with metal links, skip this paragraph.) I am using a bright orange beaded bracelet. It is made very simply by adding orange beads to a piece of elastic beading string. Just add beads until your bracelet is the desired length, and tie several knots in the elastic. Trim the excess elastic.

Attaching charms to your bracelet, using jump rings, is very easy. Jump rings are little rings that are shaped like a miniature key ring. To attach charms, just add the charm and a bracelet link to a jump ring, as you would add a key to a key ring. If you fumble with the tiny ring, try using a small pair of needle nosed pliers. Spread the charms out around your bracelet, with roughly equal spacing between charms.

Step 4: Continue Adding Charms.

Charm bracelets are never finished, which is why the bracelets are so much fun. You always want to add just one more charm. When you run out of bracelet links, add multiple charms to each link. Some of the vintage sterling silver charm bracelets that I have found at estate sales would have hundreds of charms. Charm bracelets are conversation starters, which tell your own unique story.

I hope that I get to add many more charms to my own Instructibles bracelet. I am currently waiting very impatiently to see if my "Clapping Game" wins a grand prize. Who knows? Perhaps, I will even get to add a charm for this Instructibles!

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