Rustic Cuff Bracelet Tutorial

by Rena Klingenberg. © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved

Rustic Cuff Bracelet Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Cuff Bracelet Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Cuff Bracelet Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

This rustic cuff bracelet tutorial is an easy two-part project.

Brass rustic cuff bracelet by Rena Klingenberg

Brass rustic cuff bracelet by Rena Klingenberg

Here in Part 1, we’ll make a simple, comfortable cuff bracelet from brass or copper:

Copper cuff bracelet

Then, in Part 2, we’ll use a super-easy homemade patina to give our bracelet metal a fascinatingly rustic look:

Copper rustic cuff bracelet by Rena Klingenberg

Copper rustic cuff bracelet by Rena Klingenberg


  • 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

    (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).

  • Ruler.
  • 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:

    tin snips

  • #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:

Copper sheet

Use your ruler and super-fine Sharpie pen to mark your bracelet measurements on your metal sheet:

Measuring for rustic cuff bracelet

Use your jeweler’s saw or tin snips to cut out your bracelet metal:

Cutting copper sheet with tin snips

Your bracelet should now look like this:

Copper for rustic cuff bracelet

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:

Cut rounded corners

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:

Smooth the metal edges with steel wool

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):

Forming the copper bracelet

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:

Hammering the copper bracelet on the mandrel

Be sure to hammer both ends into a nice curve too:

Hammer the ends of the copper bracelet

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

Copper cuff bracelet

. . . and this:

Handmade copper cuff bracelet

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:

Rustic Cuff Bracelets by Rena Klingenberg

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  • OH. MY. GOSH. A vitamin bottle!! Of course! You’re a genius. OK…you’re at least more clever than me. LOL I’m going to fill my empty vitamin bottle with sand to give it some weight and make it more solid so I can hammer on it.

    I can’t wait to try this.

  • Hey, that’s a great idea to fill it with sand! I hadn’t thought of that. I did think about the vitamins being removed first, though. 🙂

  • Thyme says:

    Totally love it! And I’m super stoked to make some! Love it love it!

  • Niki says:

    This is great! I am always looking for fun new jewelry ideas, and I am loving cuffs lately too! I’ve never made my own jewelry before but this seems doable for me! I’m going to try it!

  • Cyndi L says:

    Hi Rena! In October, Beading Arts is going to be featuring metal. May I share a link to your tutorial with my readers? I’ve got a couple of my own tutorials that use this type of patina, plus some that use a torch, and I’d love to show them some other results since each piece ends up looking so unique! Thanks for your consideration!

  • Hi Cyndi! Thanks so much – I’d be thrilled to have my tutorial link in Beading Arts. Please feel free to use any of my photos too!

    I’ll look forward to seeing what else you’ll be showing in your October metal feature. I love the fascinating colors of torch patinas! 🙂

  • Cyndi L says:

    Thanks so much! I’ll be back to “steal” some pictures 😉 And don’t even get me started on torch patinas…the reds and purples…sigh!

  • Colleen says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this cuff. Thank you for putting up a step by step and simply worded tutorial. I can’t wait to make a couple. Going to break out the torch too. Thanks for sharing your ideas and fun.

  • Great tutorial!
    Lots of great ideas….like a nice center piece to bead embroidery around!
    Thank you Rina

  • zoraida says:

    I love these, Rena! You know I love those large, rustic, copper cuffs, especially with a patina.
    I’ve probably sold more of this type of bracelet than any other. They look great on men or women.
    Great tutorial!


  • Janet says:

    I seriously have to try this!!!

    Jan @Door251

  • JB says:

    This is such a great idea! I’m definitely going to keep this in mind to try out!

  • Honey says:

    Oh, this is stunning! Thank you for sharing your project at Potpourri Friday!

  • What a great tutorial! I love them! Thank you for joinining TTF this week. have a fun weekend!

  • Love this cuff. Thanks for the great tips and ideas. Vitamin bottle, I will have to try that. My mandrel is one of those that is large on one end then tapers down to a smaller end, so I don’t use it much, because my bracelets seem to come out a little lop sided even when I keep turning them around. Thanks for sharing your wonderful tutorial.

  • Christine says:

    SO AMAZING!!!! I want one!! Way to go!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!

  • Christina says:

    that’s beautiful – I love the finished cuff!!

  • Oh my…this is so awesome. I cannot wait to make one!

  • Tiffany S. says:

    Great tute! Where did you get the mandrel?

  • Thank you so much for all your kind words! I hope you have fun with this project and the fab things your patina does to your metalwork!

    Tiffany, I’ve had that mandrel for years. I’m sorry that don’t remember where I got it, but I’m sure it was from an online jewelry supplier. You might check for one at any of your favorite suppliers – or even just do an online search.

    Or, as I mentioned in the list of supplies, there are a lot of other things you can use as mandrels if you don’t have an “official” one! 🙂

  • Heidi says:

    The finished rustic look is so cool! Great tutorial.

  • Love your cuffs! Great tutorial.

  • Judy says:

    I love this look, but being new to patina’s I’m looking for a good sealant I can count on. What type of Johnson Wax is best (I see liquid and paste). Or should I wait and invest in the Renaissance Wax as I’ll want something that will last and not turn sticky with repeated use. And do you put this on both sides? Thanks!

  • sharon says:

    I am a fan , love you ideas , what a talent. hope to see more,

  • Love the simplicity of construction and design. This will work back with so many pieces I already have…but we got to come up with a better name or term to describe this style of jewelry. Cuff suggest locked in. locked up, overprotected.

  • Nalini says:

    This is lovely Rena! I cannot wait to try this. I need a suggestion on where I can buy blank bracelets. I don;t think I want to invest in a sheet yet.

  • JaneEllen says:

    Wow I had no idea it was possible to make your own cuff. I’ve seen smaller sheets of metal (what weight is needed?) at Michaels or can get the blank cuff already cut. With coupon that would be affordable for most people.
    I love cuffs but have hard time finding one that fits my wrists. I think cuffs are outstanding looking with many outfits. Guess can dress up a cuff with different elements.
    If/when I buy a metal sheet will have to have hubs cut it for me, my hands just can’t do it anymore, arthritis and lack of strength. So glad I clicked on your post on 36th Ave party. Appreciate tips on having a business, how to market, etc. Will come back to this so I can read more of business tips.
    Happy Fall

  • Thank you, JaneEllen! I recommend 22 or 24 gauge metal for this project.

  • Gretchen says:

    These are awesome! I didn’t have a mandrel or a big enough bottle to use. Then I found my son’s little league wooden bat and its perfect! 8 inches around at the thickest part and i think it goes down to 5 inches.

  • Joan S says:

    What is the brand name of your shears/snips?

  • Hi Joan, thanks for asking! The black-handled tin snips shown in this tutorial came from a local home improvement / hardware store. I also have a different pair, actual jeweler’s metal shears (they’re smaller, lighter weight and more nimble with cutting out shapes); they’re the red-handled pair you can see in this tutorial: Metalwork Arrowhead Pendant Tutorial. I got the red-handled shears from an Etsy seller several years ago. You can do Etsy searches (or general online searches) for “jewelers metal shears” to find these and many other kinds of metal cutters. I hope this helps, and I’d love to see what you’re making with metal! 🙂

  • Ryan says:

    Hi there,

    I don’t own a bracelet mandrel but when forming my bracelets I have found using the end of an aluminum baseball bat works great for bracelets. They are pretty cheap to buy, sturdy and you can bang the crap out of it…lol. I thought this tip might help some of your readers. Love your site and tips. Thanks Rena! 🙂

  • Ryan, thanks so much for this great tip! And I bet your aluminum bat will out-last my wooden bracelet mandrel.

  • I am learning so much from this site….can’t wait to try the patina.

  • I’m so glad to hear that, Veronica! You will love playing with patinas. 🙂

  • Laurie says:

    Very awesome tutorial. Thanks. I have a large roll of 22 gauge aluminum, Do you think that would work instead of copper?

  • Thank you, Laurie! I haven’t made much jewelry with aluminum sheet, so I’m not sure how it will work for this project. But since you have a large roll of the aluminum, you might want to experiment by making a small bracelet and see if it seems sturdy enough when it’s finished.

  • Jen says:

    Can’t wait to try this! Just wondering if your bracelet mandrel is tapered? All the ones that I am finding are, and I would think a tapered one would cause a wide bracelet such as this to be smaller on one side.

  • Hi Jen, great question! My usual bracelet mandrel is indeed tapered. I find that for wide cuff bracelets, the bracelet fits better with that taper. Most arms are smaller at the wrist and get wider at the forearm. So the narrower end of the bracelet is worn nearer to the wrist, and the wider end of bracelet is toward the forearm. Thanks for asking, and I hope this helps! 🙂

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