Introduction: Glow in the Dark Laser-Cut Bracelet
All DIY enthusiasts at some point have had the urge to create their own accessories and jewelry. In this Instructable, I show you the process of designing and building a set of laser-cut glow in the dark bracelets that you can use. Some of these steps are customizable, which allows you to follow the general idea and add personal modifications that make the accessories you create unique to yourself.
The bracelets were made using digitally fabricated parts with the help of a laser cutter. The liquid flowing within the bracelet creates a beautiful swirl effect and also glows in the dark. If you like this project and it inspires you to create your own, do support it by dropping a vote for it in the "Jewelry Contest".
Step 1: Design Process
To determine the inner diameter of the bracelet, one can refer to the wearer's wrist. One option is to approximate the diameter such that the bracelets are not too tight or too loose. Another option is to use a bracelet that you already have as a reference. Measure the diameter of the bracelet using a ruler and use the same diameter for your laser-cut bracelets.
To hold the liquid inside the bracelet, an inner and outer wall was required to form a gap in between that would hold the solution. We decided to make the wall using 10mm clear acrylic, which would be sandwiched between 2mm white acrylic on either side to make a watertight seal. To design the bracelets, you can either use the designs attached below which have an inner diameter of 6.5 cm or create your own using a designing software such as inkscape.
To design your own bracelet, create a circle of an appropriate diameter that will fit you. (We will refer to this length as D from now on, as it will vary from person to person). Next, create another concentric circle of diameter D+8mm. This will be the 10mm thick clear inner wall. Next, create a circle of diameter D+16mm and another one of diameter D+24mm. This will be the outer wall 10mm thick clear outer wall. Finally, create a circle of diameter D and another concentric circle of diameter D+24mm. This will be the outer panels (2mm thick) that sandwich the clear walls, you will need two of these.
Step 2: Materials Required
To build your very own Glow in the Dark Bracelets you will need:
- 10mm clear acrylic
- 2mm acrylic (color of your choice, we used white)
- Two-part epoxy
- Pigments and dyes (again color of your choice)
- Glow in the dark pigments (choose the color according to your previous colors)
- Glitter (optional)
The total cost of this project is less than 5$. Laser cutting can be done at a local workshop.
Step 3: Digital Fabrication and Post Processing
If you decide to use our design, download the files linked below and laser cut the parts. If you decide to design your own parts, save the files you created in the previous step to an appropriate format (.dxf, .pdf) and laser cut them. Finally, you should have 4 pieces:
- 10mm inner wall
- 10mm outer wall
- 2mm top panel
- 2mm bottom panel
The laser cutting process usually produces a beautiful finish. In case there are some residues left on the pieces, clean them by using soap and water. Especially make sure that the two 10mm pieces are clear from any debris or residue.
Note: The files attached below contain designs for two bracelets.
Step 4: Bottom Layer
Begin the assembly by mixing a batch of two-part epoxy and using it to join the inner wall to the bottom panel. Next use some more epoxy to join the outer wall to the bottom panel. Make sure to align them while making the joint to create the best effect. Once they are aligned clamp them together and wait for the required time for the glue to set.
Once the glue has set, we would recommend that you test the seal using some plain water. In case there are some leaks, add some more epoxy to block the leak and let it dry again. Keep repeating this until there are no leaks left.
Step 5: Making the Solution and Adding It to the Bracelet
Next, we need to create the glow in the dark liquid. Fill a small plastic cup with water and start adding the regular dyes or pigments. Stir the liquid till the pigment dissolves completely in the liquid. Next, add a batch of glow in the dark pigment to the solution and once again stir till it dissolves. Add enough to create a beautiful effect but not too much to make the liquid to concentrated. This step may require some trial and error because different pigments require different amounts of water.
Once the solution is made, use a dropper to add the solution in the gap between the two clear acrylic walls. Fill the gap with liquid all the way to the top to avoid air bubbles in your bracelet. At this point, you can also add glitter if you wish.
Step 6: Top Layer
Once you have filled the gap with liquid, create another batch of two-part epoxy and seal the bracelet using the top panel. Carefully examine the bracelet for leaks and add more epoxy to sections that contain leaks.
Step 7: Final Results
Finally, show off your creation! The dyes and pigments don't completely mix with the water which creates beautiful swirls and vortices as you move about. During day time, these mini vortices in your bracelet will certainly catch some attention. And in the dark, the glow in the dark pigments work their magic and the effect is extremely satisfying and beautiful.
I hope you enjoyed this concept and draw inspiration to build your own. If you liked the project do support it by dropping a vote in the "Jewelry Contest".
Second Prize in the