okay, everyone, it's almost april!
do we want to start sign-ups now and then start crafting late april, or should i wait a week or two to put sign-ups up? heh, that's strangely redundant!
and the major tutorial i've been slacking on - though there are no pictures with this one as of yet, i might add something when i find time to breathe.making a loaded charm bracelet
okay, first of are the basic materials:
equally sturdy clasp
choosing your materials:
there are tons of things to think about when choosing materials for your charm bracelet - i'll try and break them down one by one.
chain: keep in mind what choice of metal you want to use. there are base metals, like (non-sterling) silver, brass, and copper, but there's also antiqued brass, pewter, gunmetal, and even black chain. you may even want to take a mixed metal approach to your bracelet. there are two other things to consider; size of the links and whether or not they open. super huge links are going to be hard to fill; on the other hand, very fine links won't be very strong, and will be hard to fit multiple charms on. the more loaded your final product, the stronger/thicker you want the chain to be. secondly, check to see whether the links open or not; if the links can open, you can slip on your charms after you've made them all. if they don't, you'll have to add them as you go, or use the open-loop wrapping technique.
clasp: magnet clasps are risky. unless you have a brand you trust, that you know is very strong, i wouldn't deal with magnets. or the kind where you slide one end into the other and it kind of clicks closed? i think they're called box clasps. lobster clasps are fine (the kind where the little lever opens the clasp and you can slip a ring inside), just be sure to get the appropriate size for your chain. my personal favorite, although it's not required, are the loop-and-bar type clasps. they come in a variety of sizes and even shapes. the clasp on the bracelet at the top of this thread is a loop-and-bar clasp in a leaf shape.
beads and findings: ooh, the fun part! you don't have to get umpteen single different kinds of beads for your bracelet! it's okay to do multiples. i'll get more into the number of beads during the process. for now let's stick with a few things, color and variety.
color: each bracelet most likely has a color scheme to it. a really great formula for color is to pick a single color to go off of, incorporate a few accents from either side of the color on the rainbow, and throw in a few neutrals. for example, the bracelet at the beginning of this thread is primarily blue, but there are a few green beads, some periwinkle flowers, and neutral shell, pearl, and wooden pieces. some bracelets will have two-color themes, or three. a "sunset" themed bracelet might run the gamut from yellow, orange, red to purple and maybe even black. if your bracelet is feeling a little too saturated with color, pop in a few light-colored neutrals.
variety: oooh variety takes so many forms! basically, look for beads that are different shapes and sizes and have different opaque-ness to them. for instance, i might pair a large natural-shaped pearl with a small blue glass crackle bead. if you again look at the bracelet at the beginning of the thread, the main standouts are the shell pieces and the wooden discs. if you look closely, you might be able to see blue spirals, pearls of different colors, crackle beads, stone-shaped beads, flower beads, and copper spirals. a good tip to keep variety and still have a cohesive piece of work is to look for elements that are similar. for example, the copper spirals connect with the blue spiral beads and the green twisty pearls.
findings: mostly you'll want head pins for your beads, but don't forget jump rings for the charms! the fun part about findings is, like chain, they come in all sorts of different metals. decorative head pins add a nice pop to otherwise plain beads, as do bead caps (like the ones on the twisty green pearls). a good rule of thumb with decorative head pins and bead caps is to use them quasi-sparingly, and keep them to the same kind of bead. there's already a lot of chaos going on in these kinds of braclets - we don't want to make them look more confusing than they really are!
charms: charms are pretty self explanatory. try and space them out evenly on the bracelet, and if you want to go a step further, balance the bracelet my mixing up the large and small charms. with so much color going on in the background, plain metal charms stand out the best, but colored enamel charms are also very interesting and good to use if you want a different aesthetic.
i should reiterate at this point that these are not hard-and-fast rules to making a bracelet, just guidelines to give you a place to go. my first bracelet came from a small variety pack. i took my cues from it's color packaging and added beads from there.
okay, if you're still with me, on to the actual steps, which are much shorter!!
step 1 - measure your wrist and decide how long you want your bracelet to be. if you're swapping one, make sure you provide both a wrist measurement and a desired length for your bracelet!
step 2 - attach the larger/longer part of your clasp (like the loop in a loop-and-bar clasp) to one end of your chain. measure from the top of the clasp down the chain to how long you want your bracelet to be. if you find your measurement in the middle of a link, go longer instead of shorter!
step 3 - attach the other part of the clasp to the other end of the chain!
step 4 - attach your charms, spaced evenly across the bracelet. you may want to do this in a mathematical fashion, or you may just decide to put them wherever looks best!
step 5 - if your chain links can open, you're set to go. if your chain links don't open, decide whether you want open or closed loops on your bracelet.
step 6 - decide how you want your beads laid out on your bracelet. if this seems like a daunting task, figure out how many beads you want per link. anywhere from two to four is a respectable amount. this can also come in handy when you're shopping for beads, to know how many beads per link you'd like and how many links you have! once you have that figured out, you can pre-divide the piles or pick randomly as you go. artists choice!
if you have all your beads wrapped, or are using open loops, proceed to step 8. if you need to wrap closed loops as you go, read on to step 7.
step 7 - okay, we need to wrap our beads as we go. pick up your first two-three-four beads (however many you are using) and one at a time wrap them according to the closed-loop tutorial earlier in the thread. don't forget to slip the unfinished loop on the chain link before completing the circle! proceed in this manner until all your beads are added!
step 8 - attach your beads link by link until all are completed! when opening and closing chain links or jump rings, use both the round nose and the flat nose pliers to really push the two ends together and make sure they snap shut properly. if you've got it in the right place, you should hear/feel a little snapping sound.
voila! done! please let me know if anything needs clarification (and i wouldn't be surprised