by Rena Klingenberg.
This rustic cuff bracelet tutorial is an easy two-part project.
Here in Part 1, we’ll make a simple, comfortable cuff bracelet from brass or copper:
Then, in Part 2, we’ll use a super-easy homemade patina to give our bracelet metal a fascinatingly rustic look:
- A piece of copper or brass sheet – 22 or 24 gauge.
Your piece of metal should be as long as your wrist measurement minus half an inch (1.2 cm), and anywhere from 1″ to 3″ (2.54 cm to 7.62 cm) wide – depending on how wide you want your cuff bracelet.
Example: if you want a 2″ (5.08 cm) wide bracelet and you have an 8″ (20.32 cm) wrist, your copper or brass sheet should be 2″ x 7.5″ (5.08 cm x 19.05 cm).
Most jewelry suppliers that carry metalworking stuff carry sheet metal. I got mine online from Monsterslayer.com.
(If you’re going to do the rustic patina on your finished bracelet, make sure your copper or brass has NOT been varnished. Many craft-store and hardware-store metals have been varnished).
- Ultra-thin Sharpie marker.
- Jeweler’s saw or tin snips (tin snips are scissors that cut metal – you can get these pretty inexpensively at a hardware or home improvement store).
I used tin snips – here’s what mine look like:
- #0000 steel wool – a small piece.
- Bracelet mandrel (or dowel, PVC pipe, chair leg, vitamin bottle, or other sturdy item that’s about the same circumference as your wrist).
- Nylon or rawhide hammer for shaping your metal around your bracelet mandrel.
How to Make a Rustic Cuff Bracelet:
First, get out your piece of sheet metal. I’m using copper for this tutorial:
Use your ruler and super-fine Sharpie pen to mark your bracelet measurements on your metal sheet:
Use your jeweler’s saw or tin snips to cut out your bracelet metal:
Your bracelet should now look like this:
We don’t want sharp corners on the finished bracelet, so now use your jeweler’s saw or tin snips to cut a smooth, rounded corner on each of the four corners of your bracelet:
Use a small piece of your #0000 steel wool to “sand” and smooth every edge and corner of your bracelet.
When you’re done, each edge should feel smooth and rounded, with nothing to snag or cut your skin:
Now wrap your bracelet around your mandrel (or whatever you’re using to shape your bracelet).
When your metal is wrapped tightly around the mandrel, there should be a small gap between the two ends (so you’ll be able to put the finished bracelet on your wrist):
Holding your bracelet metal tightly around the mandrel, use your hammer to bang the metal all over, to work-harden it into a nice C-shape:
Be sure to hammer both ends into a nice curve too:
When you’ve finished hammering your metal into a nice sturdy bracelet, it should look like this:
. . . and this:
Now let’s go on to Part 2 – Easy Patina Finishes for Copper and Brass, where we’ll give our new cuff bracelet a cool, rustic look that’s something like this: