So a lot of you really seemed to like last week’s video tutorial where I shared how to make wire wrapped beaded bangles. Well, the style allows for so much versatility that today I added an embossed copper blank to the mix, and made up an earthy copper design. You don’t have to know how to stamp metal to get the look, you just need a manual embossing machine (like my beloved Sizzix Big Shot) to add embossed designs to metal blanks. Add a few beads to the design, and you’ve got a beautiful, stackable bangle that’s anything but ordinary.
This project also doesn’t take much in the way of supplies, if you already have the basic tools. (And if you don’t? This is totally a great excuse to add them to your craft stash… just sayin’…) I’ll leave you links below to check out the supplies I used, and if you decide to buy anything I’ve listed here through these links, it helps support my blog at no extra cost to you (and thank you, by the way!)
- Sizzix Big Shot, extended platform, cutting pads
- Mod Trees Vintaj embossing folder
- Vintaj 36mm oval copper blank
- Vintaj reliefing block
- 24 inches of 16 gauge copper wire
- 24 inches of 20 gauge copper wire
- Wire cutters
- Nylon pliers
- Bracelet bending pliers
- 2 coordinating lentil-shaped flat beads
Embossing metal is very much like embossing paper, but the Vintaj dies are specially designed. They have several designs of the same theme where you can position your blank to choose what you like best. Just position it and close it, then sandwich the metal die between your cutting pads and roll it through your Big Shot on the #1 tab on the extended platform.
Next, sand your blank lightly to remove some of the patina. I used my reliefing block, but a fine grit sandpaper (like a 200 grit) would also work well for this. Then, bend the blank slightly so that it will curve around the bangle. I used my bracelet bending pliers to bend it perfectly in seconds, but if you don’t have the pliers or don’t think you’d use them enough to make the investment, bending it carefully by hand or with the aid or nylon pliers would also work. You just don’t want to leave it flat, it should hug the bangle, instead of the sides sticking out.
Now, if these photos seem confusing, or if you are just more of a video-learner, then be sure to check out my 7-minute video last week that shows you how to make wire wrapped beaded bangles. But, because I know some of you do prefer a step-by-step photo tutorial (so that you can print it for reference, or you’d just rather read it quietly) then today’s tutorial will show you with photos.
To form the bangle, cut off about 24 inches of 16-gauge heavy wire. Wrap it around something round, like a can or glass, to give it its basic shape. To begin, it doesn’t need to be sized exactly; you can make adjustments to the size once you get started. What you want to avoid, though, is where the wire is bent or bumpy. Cut off 24 inches of 20-gauge wire, and begin at any point along the wire bangle by wrapping 3-4 times, about 8-9 inches into the thinner gauge wire. Bend the wire so that you can run it along the thicker gauge wires, and work it into your bracelet.
Add the bead onto the short end of your 20-gauge wire, and bend it to that it hugs the bangle tightly. Wrap 3-4 more times on the other side of the bead.
Now, make adjustments to the size of the bangle, now that you have one set of wraps completed to help hold the coils together. Mine is about 7.5 inches circumference, but you can measure against another bangle or over your wrist to get the exact right size. Slide the beaded coils to a position close to where your wire coils overlap, so that you can position the metal blank on top of the overlap to both secure the ends and cover it up. Wrap 3-4 times, thread the blank on through the holes at each side, and move along the bangle to add the other side bead.
At this point, you also want to take the shorter end of your wrapping wire, and coil it along the bangle base, incorporating it into the bangle itself. Be sure to include it when you wrap your final bead wrap.
As you work, if you find that your wires are getting too bent, you can use your nylon pliers to help re-shape and re-form them without marring the wire. You may find that you don’t need to, but it’s nice to have them handy, just in case.
Once you’ve wrapped the final bead onto your bracelet, then trim all the loose wires sticking out. You may wish to file these sharp edges so that they don’t scratch you when worn, but chances are, the other wires will group around them to help protect skin.
You can stop here, or you can keep going, and make up a few coordinating bangles to stack together! Once you have the wire and tools, additional bangles are practically free – you just have the cost of beads (or blanks).