I don’t think my mother ever threw anything away. I have the same problem, and when I came into possession of her “collection” of broken jewelry, I hoped to fix the jewelry or rework the beads into something new.
I had never made jewelry before, but was eager to try. I visited an area craft store, “Hobby Lobby”, to see what they had to offer. I bought a few supplies there: stretch cord, some clasps, spacer beads, and colored beads.
As I tackled the project, I found making bracelets was harder than it looked…or perhaps I was just not as handy as I thought.
Then it was back to the drawing board. Everyone, it seemed, was making jewelry. I should be able to do it, too.
I studied the jewelry I already owned for inspiration. One of my favorite bracelets was one which I had purchased at a summer fair. It looked as if the bracelet just might hold the solution to my bead problem. It was made of multi-colored beads and memory wire (coiled wire that adjusts to encircle the wrist).
I was able to make this type of bracelet using just one tool. It was a simple project even for someone un-crafty such as myself.
I crafted bracelets to match certain outfits I own, and bracelets using multi-colored beads which proved to be very versatile, coordinating with many of my clothes.
Using this method, I made a bracelet using vintage (mom’s beads) and new beads for every female member of my family. The memory wire adjusts to each person, no matter what size wrist they have so the bracelets fit my nieces as well as they fit my sisters and sister-in-law.
I found that using small beads worked well for younger girls and larger beads were best used for adult bracelets.
I was able to use almost all of the beads from my mother’s jewelry collections, and the bracelets are a wonderful remembrance of my mother.
I have since created bracelets for many of my friends, also. I found sterling silver ribbon charms on the Art Beads company website (www.art beads.com) and have made some bracelets for people I know who are cancer survivors or who have lost loved ones to the disease.
I enjoy making the bracelets and consider it my “therapy”.
Here’s my method:
1. Pick your color scheme. Decide whether your bracelet will be monochromatic (shades of the same color) or multi-colored and select appropriate beads.
2. Lay out your beads in the desired pattern for your bracelet. Vary the size, color and shape of the beads throughout your design.
3. Determine how long your wire should be. I generally prefer a length that will encircle the wrist about 2½ times.
4. Use the pliers to bend the wire back and forth to break it.
5. Bend one end of the wire around to form a small loop. (If you choose to add a hanging charm to your bracelet, put the charm on the wire at this time and form the loop around the charm.)
6. Put the beads on the wire, continuing your chosen pattern until you come very close to the end of the memory wire.
7. Using the pliers, bend the end of the wire into a small loop.
If you’re not happy with the finished product, it’s very simple to deconstruct the bracelet and try again.
Have fun with this project, but beware….it’s addicting!