Charm bracelet techniques

on Monday, August 25, 2014

Figure 1

Figure 2

The second bracelet I designed was a copper one. I called this one “The Love of Butterflies”, and I used a few wire working techniques to make sure the charms were secure. Since copper is not as strong as silver or gold, I wanted to be sure to wire wrap as much of the wire as possible instead of using simple loops.

To do this, I put all the heart charms on a spool of 18 gauge copper wire. I then made a wrapped loop at the end of the wire (being sure to make sure I caught the heart in the loop), but instead of doing two or three complete rotations, I did one and a half. I then bent the wire backwards, being sure to keep in the same plane as the loop I had just made. I started another wrapped loop and caught the link of the chain in it before I finished it. I did one and a half to two wraps with the wire until it was curved over the end of the last wrap. Then using my nippers, I cut the wire to be close to the end of the first wrapped loop wire end and using my pliers, I pushed the wire flush (Figure 1).

This not only ensures that the wire is stronger but also that the charm will not pull off a simple loop, nor will the component pull off of the copper plated chain.

Because I used  1mm copper rounds with larger copper rounds to make some of the charms, I wanted to continue my theme by adding those copper rounds to the butterflies and the elongated ovals. This gives a similar look amongst the charms, and made sure that the head pins would not pull through any of the components.

When it came to the clasp, I tried four different styles. I liked the first one (not shown here), which was a lobster clasp that matched the copper color of the bracelet. However, the 18-gauge jumpring did not go easily into the smaller lobster clasp. I then tried one of the hooks that I forged from wire, but I didn’t like the way that it looked. Trying an S-hook that I had forged threw the alignment of the chain off when it was clasped. My final choice is shown below (Figure 2). A larger, rounder lobster clasp that was antiqued not only matched most of the charms, but also was the same size as the links in the chain. If I had had a huge lobster clasp, I might have use that to make the bracelet 7.5 inches long. Instead, this bracelet is for someone with a 7 inch wrist.

The last thing that I did with this bracelet was to tumble it with steel shot to strengthen all the copper in the bracelet. I was so excited with how well this bracelet came out, that I’m going to have to make another one--after I find large copper lobster clasps so I can make one my size!

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