Bead and Wire Bracelet (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.

Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Make a lovely bead and wire bracelet, using only an interesting focal bead and two pieces of wire.

Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

The bracelet fastens with a simple clasp that hooks into one of the wire loops on the bead.

Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

This project is a great way to wear a stunning focal bead without having the bracelet structure overwhelming it.

Supplies:

  • A flat focal bead with a hole large enough to accommodate 16 gauge wire.
  • 2 pieces of 16 gauge round, half-hard wire (in the tutorial we’ll calculate how long to make these wire pieces).
    I used copper wire.
  • Sharpie marker.
  • Wire cutter.
  • Flexible tape measure, for measuring around the wrist.
  • Nylon jaw pliers (optional), for straightening the wire.
  • Cup bur or wire rounder (optional), for smoothing and rounding wire ends.
  • Round nose pliers.
  • Flat nose pliers.
  • Jeweler’s steel block; and plastic, rubber or nylon hammer (optional), for work-hardening the bracelet wire.

How to Make
a Bead and Wire Bracelet:

In this project, we’ll be making three wire loops and one wire hook.

Because we want the loops to be a uniform size, we’ll use a Sharpie pen to make a mark near the tip of one jaw of your round nose pliers:

Marking round nose pliers for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Next, we’ll need to cut the wire that will go through the bead.

How to figure the amount of wire you’ll need for your bead:

Measure the length of your bead, from one hole to the other hole; then add a total of 30mm for the wire loops you’ll make at each end of the bead.

Example measurement:

Example bead length, from hole to hole, measures 25mm.

Then add 30mm for the loop ends.

Example Calculation:

25mm bead length + 30mm for loop ends = 55mm total wire length.

Important: This is an example calculation. Be sure to use the measurement of your own bead when you do this calculation! 🙂

Now cut a piece of your wire, in the length you just calculated:

Wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll straighten the wire, using your nylon jawed pliers (or your fingers) to straighten each wire.

Hold one end of the wire firmly with your flat nose pliers, and pull the entire length of wire through the nylon jawed pliers (or your fingers), pulling the wire straight and tight as you do so:

Straightening wires for Wire Teardrop Hoop Earrings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now use a cup bur or wire rounder to smooth and round the ends of your wire:

Using wire rounder to smooth wire ends for Wire Teardrop Hoop Earrings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

We’re going to make the first loop in your wire.

Use your round nose pliers to grasp one end of your wire, right where you made the Sharpie mark on the pliers:

Making loop for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Wrap the wire around the mark on the jaw of your pliers, rotating your pliers as needed to make a full loop in the wire end:

Making loop for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your wire should look like this:

Making loop for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll straighten the loop so that it stands up like a lollipop on top of the wire, instead of leaning over like a letter “P”.

With the tips of your round nose pliers, grasp the bottom of the loop, right next to the straight part of the wire:

Making loop for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Gently bend the wire until the loop is centered in line with the straight stem of the wire:

Making loop for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your wire should look like this:

Making loop for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now it’s time to string your bead onto the wire:

Wire and bead for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Slide the bead along the wire so that it rests snugly against the wire loop:

Wire and bead for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Then make a loop in the remaining end of the wire, the same way you made the first loop.

Your bead and wire should look like this:

Bead with loops for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Next, we’ll need to cut the bracelet wire that will go around the wrist.

How to figure the amount of wire you’ll need for the bracelet wire:

Measure around the wrist that will wear the bracelet.

Measure the length of your bead & loops component, from the end of one wire loop to the end of the other wire loop.

Subtract the bead & loops component’s measurement from the wrist measurement; then add 40mm for making the loop & hook ends of the wire.

Example measurement:

Example wrist measurement: 180mm

Example length of bead & loops component that you just finished making, from the end of one wire loop to the end of the other wire loop: 35mm.

Length needed for the bracelet wire’s loop & hook ends: 40mm.

Example Calculation:

180mm wrist measurement – 35mm for the bead & loops component + 40mm for the bracelet wire’s loop & hook ends = 185mm total wire length.

Important: This is an example calculation. Be sure to use the measurements of your own bead & loops component, and the wrist you’re designing for when you do this calculation! 🙂

Now cut a piece of your wire, in the length you just calculated:

Wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Straighten the wire and round the wire ends as you did with the first wire.

Now we’re ready to shape the wire into a bracelet.

To shape the wire, you can use a bracelet mandrel, baseball bat, soda can, or other object that’s slightly smaller around than your wrist measurement – so that when the wire springs back from your shaping, it won’t be too big for the wrist.

I used this tall, skinny coffee cup for a mandrel:

Coffee cup wire mandrel for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Wrap the bracelet wire around whatever you’re using for a mandrel.

Press the wire tightly around the mandrel until the wire is shaped like this:

Shaping wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll make a loop in one end of your bracelet wire.

Use your round nose pliers to grasp one end of your wire, right where you made the Sharpie mark on the pliers:

Shaping wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Wrap the wire around the mark on the jaw of your pliers, rotating your pliers as needed to make a full loop in the wire end:

Shaping wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your wire should look like this:

Shaping wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll straighten the loop so that it stands up like a lollipop on top of the wire, instead of leaning over like a letter “P”.

With the tips of your round nose pliers, grasp the bottom of the loop:

Shaping wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Gently bend the wire until the loop is centered over the wire below it:

Shaping wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your wire should look like this:

Shaping wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now it’s time to make the hook end of the bracelet wire.

Use your round nose pliers to grasp the remaining side of your wire, slightly down from the very end of the wire, halfway between the tips of the pliers, and the spot where you made the Sharpie mark on the pliers:

Shaping wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Wrap the wire around one jaw of your pliers, curving toward the inside of the bracelet wire, and rotating your pliers as needed to make a nice hook in the wire end:

Shaping wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your wire should look like this:

Shaping wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll hammer the bracelet wire to take out any warping, and to make the wire harder and sturdier:

Place the bracelet wire on your steel block, and use a plastic, rubber, or nylon hammer to pound all over the entire wire.

Then turn the wire over and pound all over the second side:

Hammer hardening wire for Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use your flat nose pliers to gently twist open the loop at the end of the bracelet wire:

Assembling Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

String one loop of your focal bead onto the opened bracelet wire loop:

Assembling Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now use your flat nose pliers to gently twist shut the loop at the end of the bracelet wire:

Assembling Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your bracelet is now finished.

You can fasten it by clasping the hook onto the remaining bead loop:

Fastening Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Test the hook clasp to make sure it stays closed nicely.

If it’s too loose and comes unfastened easily, use your round nose pliers to close down the hook a little more.

Your finished bead and wire bracelet may look something like this:

Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Bead and Wire Bracelet - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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Comments

  1. Awesome tutorial as always! One thing I would do differently though. I would turn up the hook clasp to face away from the wrist, thereby reducing the chance of scratching or poking the wearers wrist!

  2. Thank you, Lauren! I was thinking that the hook facing away from the wrist might snag on things. Maybe the solution would be to have the hook facing to the side. 🙂

  3. Your pieces are always so simple but elegant. I have saved every one of your newsletters. Love your work

  4. Barb, that’s wonderful to hear. You made my day! 🙂

  5. First I would face the hook the other direction. Always wear your work to make sure it doesn’t poke or scratch the wearer. Also I would wrap the loops, a gentle tug and it will pull open. Otherwise good job. 🙂

  6. Tina, great tips – thank you! 🙂

  7. Patience Pontious says:

    Love this simple yet beautiful bracelet. And, thanks for sharing your tutorial and tips.

  8. Your work is beautiful.thank-you for sharing

  9. Thank you, Leona! 🙂

  10. I did have the clasp facing out and it snagged on everything! AND I used 20 gauge wire thinking “this is too delicate”. So, here I am reading the directions and supply list again. Lol!
    Learning from my mistakes! It’s all good.
    Great bracelet idea. Thank you.

  11. LOL Margo! Thanks for your feedback on this project! (And by the way, I don’t always follow directions either.) 🙂

  12. Betty Young says:

    Now I know what to co with all of the extra beads I have.
    Great Ideal…Thank You

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