Here’s the video episode:
This week I’ll teach you how to make a fun hardware bracelet, but first, I wanted to just talk a little bit more about unconventional materials in jewelry making.
I love using unconventional materials in jewelry making because it can really make your pieces unique and funky. Also you can save the earth by not contributing to the manufacturing of new materials and instead reusing materials that are already around.
I was a recycled jewelry designer mostly when I was selling a lot more and teaching less, and for most pieces I use either recycled or upcycled elements. Some of my most popular designs were hardware jewelry.
Hardware jewelry is great because it’s unique, it’s a conversation starter and hardware really looks like it was made for making jewelry!
The bracelet I will show you is relatively simple, but you really can go wild with hardware in your jewelry making.
- Mixing hardware with jewelry techniques you already know. (Add a bead dangle or make a multi-strand bracelet with some beads on the other strand)
- Using just one type of hardware for a uniform look.
- Mixing hardware.
- Adding a couple strands of hardware with different looks for each strand (maybe a strand of nuts, a strand of washers and a strand of the square washers)
Sourcing Hardware to Use in Jewelry Making:
- Look in your shed or garage,
- Your family members’ garages (with their permission, of course),
- Laying around on the ground,
- Habitat for Humanity restore (or look for other similar types of stores. Maybe even thrift stores!)
- Garage, yard or tag sales, or
- Hardware stores.
Step-by-Step Photo Instructions:
This the same tutorial that’s in the video above.
- Something to seal the hardware: I use Midas Finish Seal Lacquer from Rio Grande.
- A variety of hardware
- Jump rings: you’ll mostly need 7mm jump rings, but if you have large or thick hardware you may need 9 mm or larger.
- A lobster clasp
- Chain nose and another pair of pliers
If your hardware has been laying around in a dirty shed, the ground or you’re not sure where’s it has been, wipe it off. You may want to do a more thorough cleaning with mild soap and water. Make sure it’s completely dry before continuing.
Then seal the hardware.
I have heard of people who have metal allergies using clear nail polish to seal inexpensive jewelry to protect their skin from touching it. I don’t think that’s a great solution because it may chip or yellow eventually.
I use Midas Finish Seal Lacquer. You just apply it and allow it to dry for 10 minutes. (I usually let it dry longer).
Lay out the design for your bracelet. Keep in mind that anything that might poke the skin could be layered with another washer. You can layer pieces, use different hardware or use all the same hardware for a more uniform look.
Add two jump rings to each segment of your hardware bracelet. For the smaller pieces usually 7 mm jump rings work perfectly. For larger hardware you may need 9 mm or even larger jump rings. Sometimes you just have to test it out to see if it will fit or not.
(In the episode video I show you how to open and close jump rings properly.)
Ideas to customize your bracelet:
- See the list above for some great ideas.
- Add some bead links in between the hardware segments.
- Add bead dangles.
- Dangle some hardware off the bracelet to make it more funky and fun.
- Let your creativity run wild!
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