Stacking Copper Bracelets (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.

Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Make a fashionable stack of copper bracelets – there are endless ways to mix and match a collection of cuffs!

Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

I like stacking one fancy cuff with two plain ones – but you could also create a stack where each bracelet has a unique, special design.

And if you’re selling them displayed as interesting stacks or mix-and-match deals, you will probably have a lot of people looking at them.

Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Supplies:

  • Copper sheet, 22 or 24 gauge.
    In this tutorial we’ll make 3 cuff bracelets:
    – 2 bracelets that are 1/4″ (6cm) wide
    – 1 bracelet that is 1/2″ (13cm) wide.

    So to make these 3 bracelets, you’ll need a piece of copper sheet that’s at least 1″ (25mm) wide (1/4″ + 1/4″ + 1/2″); and as long as your wrist measurement minus half an inch (13mm).

    Example: If you want to make these 3 bracelets and you have an 8″ (20.32 cm) wrist, your copper sheet should be at least 1″ x 7.5″ (2.5 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 use a patina, alcohol ink, or some other finish on your bracelets, make sure your copper has NOT been varnished. Many craft-store and hardware-store metals have been varnished).

  • Ruler – to measure and mark your bracelets on the copper sheet.
  • Ultra-thin Sharpie marker – to mark your copper sheet.
  • Tin snips, metal shears, or other scissors that can cut 22 or 24 gauge metal.
    (Find them at jewelry suppliers, hardware stores, and home improvement stores.)
  • #0000 steel wool (a few small pieces) – for smoothing the edges and surfaces of your bracelets.
  • 2 flat buttons, one medium size and one small – to use as templates for rounded edges.
  • Bracelet mandrel (or dowel, PVC pipe, chair leg, vitamin bottle, or other sturdy item that’s about the same circumference as your wrist).
  • Plastic, rubber, nylon or rawhide hammer for shaping your metal around your bracelet mandrel.
  • Ball-peen hammer (metal hammer with a round ball on one end of the hammer-head) – for texturing one of the bracelets.
  • Any other supplies needed to embellish your bracelets – metal stamps, alcohol inks, patinas, texturing tools, etc.

How to Make
Stacking Copper Bracelets

CAUTION: The edges and corners of your sheet metal are as sharp as a knife. Handle with extreme care to prevent injury.

We’ll start by marking our copper sheet for the 3 bracelets.

So get out your copper sheet metal:

Copper sheet for Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

. . . and use your ruler and Sharpie marker to mark the outline of your 3 bracelets on the metal.

You can see I’ve measured for 2 bracelets that will be 1/4″ wide, and one that will be 1/2″ wide:

Measuring and marking for Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now get out your metal cutting shears (these are my shears):

Metal cutting shears for Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

. . . to cut out your three bracelets:

Cutting out Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

My metal was a bit longer than my bracelets will be, so I also marked and trimmed off the extra metal from one end of each bracelet:

Trimming ends off Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’re going to round the ends of our bracelets so they’ll be more comfortable.

To make my rounded cutting line, I’m tracing around the edge of buttons, on both ends of each bracelet:

Trimming ends off Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use your metal cutting shears to cut along your rounded lines on both ends of each bracelet:

Rounded bracelet ends for Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now each bracelet should look something like this:

Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

It’s time to smooth off every edge, curve, and surface of each bracelet.

Get out your steel wool and tear or cut off a small piece.

(After tearing off a piece of steel wool, I dampen it with water to help prevent shreds of it from becoming airborne as I work with it.)

Now use your damp steel wool to “sand” your bracelets until every edge and surface is smooth:

Smoothing bracelet edges for Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

When your bracelets are completely smooth, it’s time to shape them around your mandrel.

Place one of your bracelets across your mandrel:

Placing metal on mandrel for Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

. . . and use your thumb to hold the center of the bracelet against the mandrel, shaping the bracelet around it as much as you can with just your fingers:

Shaping metal around bracelet mandrel for Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now wrap your metal tightly around the mandrel.

Use your nylon, plastic, rubber, or rawhide hammer to pound every part of your bracelet, from the center to the ends, shaping it to the mandrel:
Hammering metal into bracelet shape - Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

When you’ve finished hammering your metal into a nice sturdy bracelet, it should look like this:

Finished bracelet for Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now follow the same procedure to shape your other 2 bracelets around the mandrel.

When all 3 bracelets have been shaped around the mandrel, choose one of them to texture with your ball-peen hammer.

Put the bracelet to be textured back on the mandrel, and use the ball-peen end of the hammer to pound dents all over the bracelet:
Texturing metal with ball-peen hammer for Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Here’s a hammer-textured bracelet next to a smooth bracelet:

Textured bracelet with smooth bracelet - Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Although I’m leaving the other 2 bracelets plain (I like the look of 2 plain and 1 fancy), you may want to embellish your remaining 2 cuff bracelets in some way:

My finished stack of bracelets consists of 1 narrow hammered cuff, 1 narrow smooth cuff, and 1 wider smooth cuff:

Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Stacking Copper Bracelets - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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Comments

  1. This is a clear and efficient tutorial in copper bracelet design. I’d love to see more tutorials on workong with metal deigns similar to this. Also, any info re: soldering would be great!

  2. Rena, I am so glad for this tutorial. I mostly knew hat I was supposed to do but had never seen clear step by step directions. I had recently bought some copper sheet from Lillypilly. I fell in love with their embossed copper and their patinas. It just seemed very thin to me maybe because I’m very hard on my bracelets. I have hesitated to use it but now I am going to give it a try.

  3. Wonderful, I love this tutorial! You know copper cuffs are close to my heart and you’ve created a great tutorial here. It’s easy enough for a beginner metal smith, classic and timeless. Many variations of textures play with too 🙂

  4. I normally just read tutorials but never do them lol but this is a tutorial I will actually do! Very soon. I love cuffs and can just see the endless variations for these, the first being etched and patina-ed. Thank you!

  5. You do so much with copper. But I have always had the issue of turning green from copper. How do you work around that?

  6. These bracelets are beautiful. If you wanted to add a flower etc. Would you use cold connections?

  7. Great tutorial, copper Refrigeration Copper Tubing, make good bracelets, in 1/2″, cheap, and only need sanding ends. I use baseball bat.

  8. Thank you, Rena, for your clear and concise tutorial. Have been wanting to expand more horizons and this looks like a great beginning!

  9. beautiful! love the shine of copper and so easy to make! I like the fancy one is just a little bit of extra hammering! awesome!

  10. Steel wool. Huh. Thanks for the tip, I wish I knew this a long time ago! pinned

  11. Once again a clear and precise tutorial…..just loved it….do you know where I could get a bracelet mandrel? Think I’m gonna need one. Thanks so much for this….

  12. Hi Cheryl! Thanks for asking. I got my bracelet mandrel many years ago – don’t remember where. However, you can get them at Amazon.com as well as most jewelry suppliers. If you do a Google search for them, you’ll see lots of sources. Compare prices on shipping as well as on the mandrel, since it’s somewhat heavy.

  13. Isobel Morrell says:

    That was fascinating. Love copper, and metal objects but have never felt brave enough (or had the space to house the equipment required!). Thanks for an enjoyable tutorial.

  14. Your tutorial is so clear! I hate it when there are tutorials with no pictures or really vague ones. Thanks for making it really straightforward! *runs out to get copper sheets!*

  15. Love how easy you made this sound. They are beautiful bracelets!

  16. These are gorgeous! I had no idea it was that simple to make these. I may have to try these. I hope your having a great day!

  17. Beautiful! I don’t make jewelry, but admire those who do!

  18. These are beautiful and so simple! I may be making some in the future.

  19. These are so pretty!! Thanks for sharing!

  20. I LOVE this!! I need to try this asap!! I love copper – amazing!!:)
    xoxo/Riva

  21. Wow these are gorgeous! They say copper is good for you as well. I love them. Thanks for sharing!

    ~Crystal

  22. What a cool idea and it is so pretty. Pinned and tweeted.

  23. Love this DIY project!

  24. JaneEllen says:

    Wow this is such an excellent tutorial, makes me want to get my tools and supplies out right away. I actually feel as tho I could do this, awesome. Whenever I’ve had occasion to be on your blog I’ve noticed how thorough you are. It’s so nice of you to share your talents and encourage others to try this. My hubs would be good at this also.
    I love copper, have copper watch, earrings, and bracelet but love cuffs. My wrist is small so have problem finding cuffs to fit me. Always afraid I’ll lose them so don’t buy.
    If I ever figure out how to get my new printer and new pc (windows 8.1) to connect with each other so I can print this out I’m going to try it. Will see what all is needed to get started with what I have on hand. I’m going to pin it anyway. Happy New Year

  25. So pretty and what a great tutorial to follow to make them. Thank you for sharing.

  26. How beautiful!! I always love seeing jewelry made by hand, it’s amazing! 🙂

  27. forgive me for this question: but isn’t 22 or 24 ga copper to light? does hammering toughen them up. what about 16 ga. would that be too hard to work with? i’m on a very limited income but want to make these to sell, but am concerned about the toughness factor. thank you soooo much. I really LOVE how thorough all your info is. I have recommended you to all my friends and family. thank you again. joan

  28. Hi Joan, thanks so much for your kind words! 🙂

    And thank you for asking about the metal gauge. I find that 22 or 24 gauge copper is a good bet for this type of bracelet. The finished bracelet isn’t flimsy (especially after hammer hardening on the mandrel), but does have a bit of flexibility that enables the wearer to customize the fit a little for their own wrist.

    I suggest that you start with a small sheet of 22 gauge copper to make one bracelet, and see how the finished piece feels. If you’d prefer it to be sturdier than that, you could go with a heavier gauge for further bracelets.

    You can get a single 6″x6″ sheet of 22 gauge copper at Amazon.com or Etsy.com pretty cheaply, and if your cuff bracelet needs to be longer than 6″, use the diagonal length from corner to corner. I hope this helps, Joan! 🙂

  29. Marcy Dreher says:

    I love your ideas, easy to follow instructions, and photographs! Fabulous site!!!!

  30. Thank you, Marcy! That’s lovely to hear. 🙂

  31. Anna Edwards says:

    I have recently started to get into some copper work. This is a very organized and easy tutorial and I will save it to my file with some of your other work. I am so thankful to have someone share what they know with us! Thanks for your site. I find it very informative.

  32. You’re very welcome, Anna! That’s lovely to hear. Have fun creating with copper! 🙂

  33. Larry Dallas says:

    I love the idea of using buttons to mark the ends of the copper! Thank you Larry Dallas

  34. Thanks for sharing your wonderful tutorials …. they are very easy to follow and the photos are such a help.

    Question: I am attempting this procedure on aluminum (I like silver color) – and the metal doesn’t seem to be hardening on my mandrel. Is this because it is aluminum or am I just not pounding/beating it enough??? I did for about 5 minutes and it still isn’t hardening or shaping anywhere near what it needs to for my wrist. Thanks in advance.

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