It’s no secret that I love working with metal, and trying different effects. Today I tried my hand at using alcohol ink to color my metal blank for this bracelet. I have some other ways I’d like to try it, but for a first try, I’m really encouraged and I’d like to play with the technique a bit more! For today’s project, I used a plain rectangular aluminum blank, texturized it with my Sizzix machine, and added color with ink. It sure does add a lot of personality to what began as a plain blank!
This will be more of a mini-tutorial today, because when I’m experimenting, I don’t take as many photos, and sometimes I decide I wish I’d finished a piece a different way. So I’ll share the detail on the main points for those of you who get inspired by an idea and wish to make it your own, but if you’re more of a step-by-step kind of person, this one may be a little harder to follow. I will promise you this, though: when I finally get the look I love, I will share every last detail. ;)
My supply list for this bracelet was the following items – many of which are optional, or have easy alternatives.
- 2-inch rectangular aluminum blank
- Adirondack alcohol ink (the shade is called red pepper), a paintbrush, paper towel, and a polishing pad
- My Sizzix Big Shot and a DecoEtch die (that’s an affiliate link)
- 3.7mm Tierracast eyelets and the setting tool, a 3/32 hole punch, my bench block and hammer
- 7-strand (.5mm) beading wire and wire cutters
- 2mm crimp beads and a crimping tool
- 6/0 seed beads and 4x6mm metal spacers
- A magnetic clasp (which I would not use again, I’d opt for a lobster clasp just as a matter of personal preference)
- Bracelet bending pliers
First things first – I texturized my blank. I LOVE that my Sizzix works on metals. This die is in the Vintaj line and is specifically approved for etching metal. I have not tried other metal with my other dies. Yet. ;) I just arranged my blank on the die, sandwiched it between the cutting plates, and rolled it through on my cutting platform set to tab #1.
Awesome. I think it turned out fantastic. You could use it just like this.
But I wanted to see what would happen if I inked it. It took me a few tried to get a look I liked, but I just brushed it on, and wiped off the excess, leaving it heavier along the edges. I also used a polish pad in the center to remove just a little more ink.
The next step is optional, but I love finishing the holes in my metal blanks with eyelets. So I made the holes slightly bigger and added eyelets. (If you want to know more about how to do that, you can read my post on adding eyelets to necklaces).
Once I finished up the blank, it was time to add beads! I used 2mm crimp beads to attach my wires, and then beaded a simple pattern. I needed to add 2.5 inches of beads to each side of my 2-inch blank to come up with a length of 7 inches. Adding my clasp added an additional 1/4 inch or so, and a typical women’s bracelet should be between 7 – 7.5 inches.
Then I finished off the ends with the magnetic clasp, which my daughter always things that means it’s for her, haha. The magnetic ones are about the only kind she can operate by her 3-year-old self. ;)
Finally, I used my bracelet bending pliers to curve the blank slightly, so that it rests better along the wrist.
All in all, I do like how it turned out. I think I might use more chain next time… or maybe all chain? And I think a darker, oxidized blank would yield a prettier finish. But I’m really excited that my little experiment did work, I’ve just got to hone the look a bit. Maybe stamp a message next time, too. As much as I like it, it still looks a little plain to me.
What would you add? Crystal rhinestones? Different colors? Charms? Happy beading!