Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ahoy, Matey! Charm Bracelet

Yes, I'm a rather busy bee this time of year. Christmas is only 2 days away and having been out of a job for 9 months now, I'm making use of the stuff that's been sitting in my craft box to make unique, one-of-a-kind gifts for those closest to me.

I'm quite fond of nautical themed stuff but I prefer more old fashioned, antique nautical stuff, like compass roses and whatnot, so this is a little more modern and contemporary then what I would normally do, but hey, it's for my mom, so the aesthetic is a little different.

My materials all came from Michaels Arts & Crafts on this one:

7 (seven) nautical themed charms by Charm Gallery.
4 (four) dark blue 8mm biconals
2 (two) light blue 8mm biconals
2 (two) light green 8 mm biconals
silver head pins
silver chains
silver clasp findings

I started by cutting a length of chain to about 5 1/2 inches, roughly. I needed the chain to be a little shorter then the actual wrist, otherwise when I add the clasps, it'll be too big. Once I cut the chain to a size of my liking, I took an "O" ring and attached it to one end, using this to secure a lobster claw clasp to the length of chain. I repeated this process on the other end, securing an "O" ring to act as the connector to the lobster claw clasp.

Once I had the clasp findings secured, I then held the chain up, allowing gravity to pull it so that the exact middle link of the chain hung down. To this, I attached the first of my charms, in this case, the pirate ship charm.

I tend to work instinctively, very rarely ever drawing or planning out my designs but if you want to, you can.

After I had attached the central charm, I took my 6 remaining charms and organized them so that the nautical theme was interspersed among the beachy themes.

I then took the remaining charms and spaced them out every 4 (four) chain links from the center chain, keeping in mind that I planned on attaching 8mm biconals to the links between the charms, to add a bit of colour.

Now, once you have your central charm, you should have 3 charms hung on either side of it, making a total of 7 (seven) charms, however you can add as many as you like. I generally like a nice odd number, it makes planning a piece a lot easier, but to each their own.

After I have connected my 6 (six) remaining charms, I then turn my focus to the biconals I intend to attach to add a splash of colour. The strand I selected had a nice nautical appearance to it, being blue and green. Having 3 (three) different colours to choose from, I decided to use all three, taking 2 (two) biconals of both the light blue and green, and 4 (four) of the dark blue biconals.

I threaded the biconal beads onto silver headpins, also by Jewelry Essentials and proceeded to create a wrapped loop (visit for a lovely tutorial + how to video). I then too my "O" rings and used them to attach the biconals to the chain.

Remember, I had earlier spaced my charms 4(four) links apart, that leaves 3(three) links between each charm in which to place my biconal beads.

Having 3(three) links between my charms, I can perfectly center my biconal beads and effective eliminate the guesswork by placing the biconals on the 2nd link between each chain, leaving 1(one) link between the charm and the bead on both sides.

After attaching the biconal beads between each charm, I then go in, and applying the same rule of thirds, apply a 2nd set of the dark blue beads 2(two) links up from the last of the charms on both ends of the chain, thus adding my final touches as well as keeping a single link between the charm, the bead, and the clasp on both ends of the chain.

And thus we have our nautical themed charm bracelet however, once again, you do not necessarily have to do it as a nautical themed bracelet, you can do any colour beads that you want, any charms that you want.

The important thing is to be creative and have fun. Again, I like odd numbers, I use them in pretty much every design I devise but to each their own. You can add as many or as few charms as you want, same with the beads. You don't even need to use the biconal beads. I chose them because I liked their geometric shape and how they looked between the charms.

SKILL LEVEL: easy to moderate, requires basic skills with needle nose pliers as well as the ability to create a loop. I rate it in-between because creating a wrapped loop can be tricky and requires a bit of trial and error.

TOTAL TIME: approx. 1 hour (60 mins)- 2 hours (120 mins) depending on skill level and experience.
UPDATE, 12/25/2009
Well, it's xmas morning and I'm happy to report that I gave my mom her bracelet today and she absolutely loved it. She didn't know I made it and was absolutely flabbergasted (love that word!) when I told her that it was a one-of-a-kind original. She was like "you made this!?" and I was like "yes I did, while you were asleep on the couch the other night" and she was like "it's so pretty!!!" I absolutely love that sense of satisfaction from giving someone a gift that I know they can't/won't find in stores.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope you all have a safe holiday!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment