Tips For Sizing Your Beaded Bangle Bracelets

After making a few beaded bangle bracelets from projects in Beadwork magazine, I realized that I'd fallen in love with the technique of making beaded bangle bracelets using peyote stitch and brick stitch. So many possibilities! So many ways to embellish that beaded base with netting or right-angle weave! But unlike other bracelet making techniques, sizing your bangle bracelets can be a little tricky, because, let's face it: no one likes to tear out rows and rows of bead-weaving when they discover that they've made a bangle bracelet that's the wrong size.

Sizing those bracelet making projects must be something that a lot of people struggle with, because I found three blogs here on Beading Daily by me, Jean Campbell, and Michelle Mach, all about ways to size you bracelets. The great thing about bracelet making, I think, is that it's such a personal form of jewelry. For some reason, it feels as though it's so much easier to size a necklace than a bracelet, right? But I just can't put my finger on why that is. (If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them through a comment here on the blog!)

I asked a couple of my beading friends how they measure and size their wrists for beaded bangles, and Cynthia Newcomer Daniel provided me with some great basic instructions:

Wrap your tape measure around the thickest part of your hand, with your thumb positioned as shown in the photo. Wrap the tape firmly, but not too tightly; you should be able to move the tape on your hand, as if it were a bangle bracelet.

My hand measures just over 8.25 inches; to make the bangle easy to slide on and off, I make my bangles with a circumference of 8.5 inches.

Bead artist and author Paulette Baron also suggests that once you have your measurement, you draw a circle (use a compass to get an accurately sized circle) so that you can match up the inside diameters of the beaded bangle. Remember, it's the inside diameter that counts with these types of bracelet making projects — you want them to fit snugly over the knuckles so that they can be taken on and off, but so that they don't just fall off your wrist or get in the way of performing everyday tasks while you're wearing the finished bracelet.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my new beading tools wish list, and because I'm enjoying making my beaded bangles so much, I splurged and spent a few dollars on a metal bangle sizer from Cool Tools, and it's turned out to be a worthwhile investment — I'm using it to both measure my wrist before I start stitching and to check the size of my beaded bangle base before I start to add my beaded embellishments. And it's not just great for bead-woven bangles, it also works well for my wire bangle bracelet projects, too!

Do you need a little inspiration for your bracelet making projects? Take a look at the incredible jewelry designs in our new special issue, Creative Jewelry: 101 All-New Designs for Bracelets, Necklaces, and Earrings. These exciting all-new jewelry-making projects use lots of the newest beads, findings, and components that you can find at your local bead shop, plus lots of ways to dive in to your stash and use up old favorites. Best of all, you can choose from either the print or digital edition, so you can download your copy right onto your favorite desktop or laptop computer and be beading in just minutes! Get your copy of Creative Jewelry: 101 All-New Designs for Bracelets, Necklaces, and Earrings and find new ways to play with your jewelry designs!

Have you tried making beaded bangle bracelets yet? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your stories, tips, and techniques with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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