Metal Stamping, Texturing, Piercing: Make Perfectly Formed Cuff Bracelets in Minutes (Great for Kids!)
My best friend told me a few days ago that it's 17 days until school's out for my godson. While I'm imagining taking him for ice cream and on a train ride and maybe to the zoo, I know she's already wondering how she's going to fill the days at Camp Mom–as I'm sure many other moms are doing. Not long after that, I found out my cousin's 12-year-old daughter Sophia is coming to visit my aunt and uncle, her grandparents, for a few weeks this summer, and I can't wait to hang out with her.
So I started thinking about fun ideas for jewelry making with kids that I can do with my crafty little friend. She's an excellent polymer clay artist and can draw anything, and I'm looking forward to making jewelry with her. Polymer clay and epoxy clay with some bling are on the list, and I think she'd like to put some of her awesome drawings in bezels under resin to make jewelry with her artwork. Just as I was making my list of projects to do with her, I got a package in the mail: ImpressArt's new Bracelet Bender Tool.
Now I have another fun project on our list! I know Sophia will like making cuff bracelets. The aluminum blanks included with the tool are easy to work with: easy to stamp on, easy to color if that suits her fancy, and easy to bend in the tool. Plus, the tool comes with seven aluminum bracelet blanks for a very nice price–making it perfect for jewelry making with kids this summer.
The first bracelet I tried with the bender tool was inspired by a cross-stitch ring I saw on Pinterest. The artist pierced a grid of holes in a silver band (similar to cross-stitch canvas) and then cross-stitched a colorful design with embroidery floss. I love the contrast of colorful fibers with sterling silver.
With my drill on loan, I used my riveting hole-punching tool to pierce the metal bracelet blank . . . but with soooo many holes to punch, that was slow, finger-fatiguing work. So after a few rows, I decided I'd have to put that idea on hold until my drill resurfaces. I decided to punch a random pattern of holes in another bracelet blank (much quicker work). Then I just had to decide what's next: leave the bracelet pierced, letting the dots be design elements (which I like), or should I keep going? I'm trying to decide whether to stitch a random design through all of the holes using embroidery thread, or to just tie colorful knots in each hole. I might also wire some beads onto the frame. I want to have some samples to show Sophia. What do you suggest? I'd love to hear in the comments below.
Note: If you pierce holes in your bracelet blank, take care not to have any holes aligned vertically (as the bracelet sits flat). The metal is weaker at that point and will kink the cuff when you bend it instead of forming a nice curve.
Piercing aside, I just received some fun design stamps I wanted to try on the aluminum blanks, since I rarely stamp on aluminum and almost never have such a nice large canvas to work with. I stamped a new paisley design stamp along with some heart, star, happy face, and flower stamps (included in the Lollipop alphabet stamp set) all over one blank. I stamp randomly all over a blank and then turn it around to view and stamp from a new perspective. I make a point to stamp both directions with stamps like hearts and happy faces that have a right side up, so you never have to worry about which way to wear the cuff. I also think it makes for a more interesting design. Then I stamped the word "BLOOM" surrounded by flowers on another blank, placing some stamps on the edges as well. This works best when using designs that are symmetrical enough that it won't matter, like flowers and stars. We don't want half of a happy face, right?
With all my designs completed, it was time to turn them into cuffs. Here's a glimpse at how easy the bracelet tool is:
I love it when I find a great tool that does what it's supposed to do. I love it even more when it's affordable! If you're ready to create armfuls of bracelets for spring and summer, don't miss our bracelet-making kits. Whether you pick the basic or deluxe version, you'll get lots of expert instruction plus a handy tool to help you create bracelets quickly and easily with perfect form. And if you're really into metal stamping, check out our special value metal stamping kit!