Monday, January 3, 2011

Make a Three Strand Bracelet from Copper Washers

Before: Box of Copper Washers
We made a bib necklace from copper washers last month. It is a great necklace with a lot of bling that I wear a lot since it goes just as well with turtlenecks and jeans as it does with my LBD. I wanted a copper bracelet to coordinate with my bib necklace. So my daughter and I went back to the drawing board to come up with a design using copper washers for a bracelet.

Today, we made a bracelet from sterling silver wire and copper washers. The bracelet sways as I wear it. I love the result. Bling without the ca-ching.

27 1/4-inch copper washers 
18-gauge sterling silver half-hard round wire
Sterling silver tube clasp

After: Sterling & Copper Bracelet by
Doming block and dapping punches
Round nose pliers  or 3-Step wire looping pliers
Chain nose or bent nose pliers
Wire rounder or needle file
Wire side cutters or flush cutters

Step 1
Gather your tools and materials. Arrange the copper washers in the order you want. Measure the washers to determine the amount you will need for the size bracelet you want to create.

Form the copper washers
Step 2
Form the washers. Use your doming block and a hammer to form the washers.

Step 3
Make the links for join the washers. We used 18-gauge round sterling silver wire to create "S" links to join the washers.

Attach washers to the clasp
Step 4
Assemble the bracelet. We began by linking three washers to one end of the sterling silver tube clasp.

Add first chain
We then built the washer chains one by one. We built the first chain of washers from one of the outside washers already attached to the clasp.

Add second chain
The second chain of washers we built from the middle attached washer. We secured the two rows of washers by linking them with "S" links every third washer.

Add third chain
We then attached the final row of washers and secured this final row to create a nice grid pattern of sterling and copper.

Add the clasp to the other end of the bracelet and secure the three chains together.

Step 5
Check all links to be sure there are no sharp edges and all the links are secure. Sand and file as needed to remove sharp edges. Use your pliers to close any gaps in links. If we had made the bracelet from gold or all sterling we would have soldered the links closed, but we skipped soldering for this bracelet.

Step 6
Sign your jewelry (optional). We use a stamp to sign all our jewelry, but there are many techniques you can use to sign your jewelry, if you so desire.

After: Sterling & Copper Washer Bracelet by
Step 7
Tumble the bracelet. Tumbling will harden the both washers and sterling silver wire to make the bracelet more durable. Tumbling will also burnish the copper and silver and make the bracelet shiny.

Related Tutorials
Make a Bib Necklace from Washers
Make Your Own Washers
How to Create a Blue Patina on Copper
How to Dome Metal
Make Your Own "S" Chain
Make a Bracelet from Steel Wire

Boxed Sterling & Copper Washer Bracelet by
Further Reading
"Jewelry: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing (Jewelry Crafts)"; Tim Mccreight; 1997.
"Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition" Tim Mccreight; 2004.
"Making Designer Jewelry from Hardware, Gems, and Beads"; Nicole Noelle Sherman; 2008.
"Hardwear: Jewelry from a Toolbox";  Hannah Rogge; 2006.
"Contemporary Copper Jewelry w/DVD: Step-by-Step Techniques and Projects"; Sharilyn Miller; 2010.

Day 44.  Month 3.  Jewelry from Found Objects.
Found materials: copper washers
New Jewelry a Day.

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