This week’s episode includes:
- A creativity booster (something to help you find, rediscover or pump up your creativity);
- How to open and close jump rings properly; and
- A fun tutorial: How to Make a Button Charm Bracelet.
The tutorial in this week’s episode looks so impressive, but it really only takes one technique that you likely already know how to do: opening and closing jump rings. And even if you don’t know how to do that, I’ll show you in the video!
A creativity booster is a term I came up with for my eCourse Rediscover Your Creativity Through Making Jewelry. Basically, it’s something that gets your creativity flowing. In the eCourse there is a creativity booster each week followed by jewelry lessons and jewelry project.
This time of year I like going to flea markets. There are a bunch nearby where I live. My favorite is Shupps Grove. What I love most about Shupps is that it’s in the woods. You are surrounding by trees while digging through vintage and antique stuff. (Plus Shupps doesn’t all those cell phone accessory, fake Nike sneaker vendors that other flea markets tend to have.)
I found some great buttons while I’m there. (I know, I’m trying to cut down my collection, but….)
Why a flea market can boost your creativity:
Going anywhere you don’t normally go can boost your creativity. You see new things and talk to new people.
In the case of a flea market, you’re going in looking for supplies, which will boost your creativity just thinking about the possibilities. And you don’t need to know why you are purchasing a particular thing when you buy it. I often am asked why I’m buying something and I don’t know. I’ll make jewelry with it, but I don’t have the design yet.
Things you can look for include: buttons (of course!), old jewelry to take apart and make into something new, anything small that catches your eye that you could potentially make into jewelry: keys, hardware, tiny bottles, etc.
You can also look at the vintage and antique jewelry there to get inspiration. You may find some beautiful jewelry pieces to look at that you wouldn’t purchase to take apart, but you admire their beauty.
Don’t have a flea market nearby?
If you don’t have a flea market nearby, you can do the same thing at a thrift store. Or I’m sure there are yard/garage/tag sales near you throughout the summer. Check those out to see what you can find!
Like I said, this is an easy bracelet to make. You just need to know how to open and close jump rings.
Materials and Tools:
- Buttons of your choice *
- Jump rings that fit around your buttons
- Chain nose pliers
- Another pair of pliers. I prefer to use chain nose and bent nose to open jump rings, but you can really use any other pliers you have and feel comfortable with. (Just not round nose pliers)
*The buttons you use you will probably want to be small or medium sized. The large buttons are great, but probably not for this particular bracelet with the technique I’m showing you here.
The jump rings I used were 9mm and fit nicely around the sort of medium sized and small buttons I used. You can use larger jump rings for larger buttons and smaller jump rings for smaller buttons.
How to Open and Close Jump Rings:
You’ll need 2 pairs of pliers. I use chain nose and bent nose pliers.
You want to go forward with one wrist and back toward you with the other. The circle will be maintained. Do not pull the circle apart by pulling to the sides. (The jump ring would look like a U and it’s difficult to get it back to the circle shape again.)
To close a jump ring:
To the exact same thing, but in reverse. I like to go slightly past the point of closing a few times and then click the jump ring closed. You may actually hear or feel the jump ring click closed.
Now on to the tutorial:
I like my bracelets slightly loose. So typically I measure the chain tightly around my wrist and then when I add the clasp the length is just how I like it.
If you like your bracelets to fit a little more snug or you’d like more control over the exact size then measure around your wrist the exact size you would like. (Use a tape measure or use a piece of string and then measure it with a ruler. Or you could simply measure a bracelet that fits the way you like.)
Measure your clasp. If you’re using a toggle clasp just measure the round part. If you’re using a lobster clasp make sure to take into consideration the jump ring(s) you’ll use on the other end to close it.
Subtract the clasp length from the total length you’d like your bracelet to be and that’s how long your chain should be.
Note: If you make a bracelet like mine with lots of buttons that are layered, that could affect the size a little and you may want to add just a little length. You can always shorten it later.
At this point you can layout your design. Pick out your buttons and place them in the order that you want to place them on your bracelet.
Alternatively (and this is what I did) you can just design as you go.
You will want to think about if you would like a chunky bracelet like I made where the buttons are kind of layered or if you want a more elegant dainty bracelet. For a full bracelet like mine, you’ll put a button on every single link of the chain. For a less full bracelet put charms on every other link or even every third link.
Repeat until all the buttons are on the chain.
You can use 4mm jump rings to attach your clasp to the end of your bracelet.
I really hope you enjoyed this episode of ECT TV. I send PDF versions of each episode to my newsletter subscribers (so you can download and save or print them). To get future episodes, sign up for my newsletter.
Want to find, rediscover or boost your creativity? Check out my eCourse Rediscover Your Creativity Through Making Jewelry. Join in on a multidisciplinary creativity exploration where you will feel creative, express yourself, be inspired, make art and learn how to make jewelry.
Start anytime and dip in and out with lifetime access.
Learn more here: Rediscover Your Creativity Through Making Jewelry