Introduction: Musical Bracelet

About: My name is Britt Michelsen. I am a chemical engineer from Germany especially interested in computational fluid dynamics. To balance all the theoretical work, I like to make stuff in my free time

In this instructable I will show you how to make a bracelet, that can be played by a music box. Are you looking for a personal gift or a fun activity with kids, than you've come to the right place.

I usually don't wear jewellery, except for bracelets and a few pieces that I've gotten from Mrballeng (because let's face it, his stuff is amazing). So after thinking back and forth on how to make bracelets more interesting I came up with this idea.

So get a "Make Your Own Music Box Kit" and let's get started. I've collected a few different ways how to make the bracelet, in order for you to decide which one you like best.

You can listen to the Tetris music played here:

Thanks a lot to Alex (ahahn-1) for helping me out with the musical theory!

Please vote for me, by clicking on the "vote" icon in the top right corner of this page, should you like this ible.

Step 1: How to Transpose a Song

The music box I use has 15 notes, so it can play 2 octaves. You can of course use a bigger one, but remember that you bracelet will become a lot wider. Your box might come with instructions, mine didn't so I figured I give you a quick explanation on how to use it.

Since the music box does not play any sharps or flats (it plays only the white notes on the piano) you will most likely have to transpose (change the key of) the musical piece you would like to use it with. To modulate a song to a different key the circle of fifths (wikipedia) is a great help. If you take a look at the first picture, you can see that in our case we will have to use either C major, or A Minor, since those are the two keys without any half tone.

If you know how to do it, than you can transpose the song yourself. Luckily for everybody else, there are a number of programs out there that can do this for you.
I've used forte 4 free, which you can download here. If the "Element Pallet" is not shown click on the small icon I have marked in the second picture, to make it visible. Simply add the notes of the piece you would like to play.

So let's assume, that you have one , taking a look at the circle of fifth tells you, that you are dealing with F mayor or D minor. It is a perfect fourth (wikipedia) from F to C. Meaning, that it is encompassing a musical interval of four staff positions or five half tones. So in order to transpose it, you will either have to go four staff positions down or a perfect fifth up. In forte 4 free this can be done by clicking on "Actions" and then either on "Transpose by Interval" or "Transpose by Key".

If you are interested in using your own sheet music from computer games, check out this awesome site.

Step 2: Tetris

Sometimes a musical piece is already in the right key, but still uses sharps or flats. This is for example the case in the Tetris music, as you can see in the image. Simply transposing it, wouldn't do the trick.

There are certain rules, which chords can be used in which key (else it might sound weird). Those are usually the chords from the keys next to the one you are using in the circle of fifth, but Tetris is using a chord from E major. Basically what you have is a major third (wikipedia) which you will have to replace with a perfect fifth, as shown in the picture.

An other thing you will have to do, is to replace the 1/16 notes, because the music box is not able to play them. Simply replace the 1/8 note and the two 1/16 notes with a 1/4 note, as shown in the picture.

You can download the inkscape template I designed for the 15 tone music box here.

Step 3: Paper Bracelet

Paper bracelet:

What you need: Advantages Disadvantages
  • 250 g/m² paper
  • 50 mm Tape (to protect the paper)
  • easy to customize
  • cheap
  • holes are easy to punch
  • stiff
  • less comfortable than leather

You can either print one of my templates or simply make one yourself. If you don't have a A3 printer, don't worry you can simply print it to two A4 pages and tape them together.
The best way to protect the print or your drawing is to use 50 mm packaging tape. I wanted to use it on both sites at first, but noticed that it makes the bracelet to stiff. Once you taped it to the page, cut the strip to the correct width of 41 mm and punch the holes.

Step 4: Leather Bracelet

Leather bracelet:

What you need: Advantages Disadvantages
  • Leather about 0.4 mm thick (make sure that it is not too soft)
  • Template
  • Tape
  • comfortable to wear
  • holds up really well
  • expensive
  • harder to customize (leather paints are expensive)
  • more difficult to feed in the music box compared to paper

Cut the leather to the correct width and use tape to hold the template in place. Make very sure, that it cannot move or else your song will not sound good. If you are taping the template to the back, make sure to mirror it.

As you can see in the last picture of this step, the mechanism of the musical box leaves small imprints in the leather. Other than that it works perfectly fine, as long as it is not to soft.

Step 5: Duct Tape Bracelet

Duct tape bracelet:

What you need: Advantages Disadvantages
  • Duct tape (you can get nice and colourful duct tape: here)
  • Template
  • sturdy
  • holds up really well
  • punching the holes requires quite a lot of force
  • the colours are limited

Place two strips with the sticky site on the inside together (as shown in the first picture). Cut the strip to the correct width and use tape to hold the template in place.

Step 6: Fastener

I was going to try a whole bunch of methods to make a fastener for the bracelet, but this one works so great that there is really no need.

What you need.
  • 2 mm Aluminium wire
  • Pliers
  • Sugru (get it here)
All you need to do is to use the pliers and to fold the wire as shown in the pictures. Use the sugru, to hold it together. It will later prevent the strips from sliding out and will make the bracelet more comfortable to wear. Hint: the best way to keep the hole in the middle is by using the bag sugru comes in, since it doesn't stick to it after it is cured.

Jewelry Contest

Second Prize in the
Jewelry Contest

Musical Instruments Contest

Finalist in the
Musical Instruments Contest

Craft Contest

Participated in the
Craft Contest