ECT TV Episode 10: How to Make a Hardware Bracelet

ECT TV Episode 10Emerging Creatively Tutorials Episode 10!

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.

Hardware in jewelry makingI 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,
  • Toolbox,
  • 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.

How to make a hardware braceletTools and Materials:

  • 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

Step #1

How to make a hardware braceletIf 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).

Step #2

How to make a hardware braceletLay 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.

IMG_0311How to make a hardware braceletStep #3

How to make a hardware braceletAdd 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.)

How to make a hardware braceletStep #4

Hardware Bracelet tutorialAttach all the hardware segments together using 7 mm jump rings.  You could use 4 mm jump rings for this part.

Step #5

How to make a hardware braceletAttach the lobster clasp to one side and a couple of extra jump rings to the other side to finish the bracelet.

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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12 Ideas for Alternative Jewelry Supplies

Alternative Jewelry SuppliesAs you may know, I am a recycled jewelry artist.  (Though, I’ve been on a bit of a break to teach.)

You may wonder what exactly that means.  I make jewelry from materials that are upcycled and/or recycled.  I use materials that are either destined for the landfills or sitting around in sheds and cabinets and transform them into wearable art.  I use little to no new resources, and the new resources I do use I try my very best to use recycled or sustainable products or products from companies whose beliefs align with mine.

Once I started watching for alternative materials to make jewelry, I started to find them everywhere.  My dad’s garage, antique stores, thrift store, auctions, yard sales, the recycling bin, etc.  Friends started giving me things.  Their chandelier fell apart?  Okay, give it to Kim.  Old keys that no longer unlock anything.  Give it to Kim.  Scrabble tile games (and more and more and more Scrabble games lol) found at auctions.  Give them to Kim.

Alternative suppliesStrolling through the rows of a flea market you might find any number of interesting little pieces just calling out to be made into jewelry.

CompassThink of the adventure bracelet you could make with an old mini compass.

Fabric Buttons 4Or the awesome button rings you could make with these beautiful buttons!

Here’s a list of even more ideas of unconventional items to use in your jewelry making:

  1. Hardware:  washers, nuts and other hardware.
  2. Keys:  Skeleton keys are awesome, but other keys can be fun, too!
  3. Buttons (of course!)
  4. Game pieces:  Dominoes, Scrabble Tiles, Rumikub pieces, Monopoly and others.
  5. Coins
  6. Old bits of things:  pieces of rulers and other items.
  7. Old little numbers and letters.
  8. Clock hands
  9. Crystals from chandeliers
  10. Keyhole covers
  11. Old milk lids
  12. Plastic bottles:  cut them up into whatever shape you want!

Just keep an open mind and see what you find!  Just remember, be careful when thinking about making earrings to not make them with materials that are too heavy.  If you find things that are rusty, you can seal them so they’re safe against your skin.

Have fun!


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Wire Wrapping for Beginners Day 22: Wire Wrapped Hardware Ring from Side

wire wrapped hardware ringThis month I’m working my way though my own book, Wire Wrapping For Beginners, and making 1 project per day.  I wanted to show you different examples of the projects while making myself some new jewelry!

Today is Day 21 and the project is the Wire Wrapped Hardware Ring from Side.

wire wrapped hardware ringAs you can see, you can use any hardware to really customize this ring.  You just have to make sure that you’re not using hardware that will scratch your finger on the bottom.  In this ring I used a regular washer on the bottom to alleviate that problem.

wire wrapped hardware ring

The Wire Wrapped Hardware Ring from Side is in my book Wire Wrapping for Beginners.

Wire Wrapping for Beginners Day 21: Wire Wrapped Hardware Ring

Wire Wrapped Hardware RingThis month I’m working my way though my own book, Wire Wrapping For Beginners, and making 1 project per day.  I wanted to show you different examples of the projects while making myself some new jewelry!

Today is Day 21 and the project is the Wire Wrapped Hardware Ring.

Hardware Wire wrapped ring

In the book, I show a ring with nuts as the main component, so this time I used a variety of hardware.  I think it makes a really stunning and funky ring.

wire wrapped hardware ring

The Wire Wrapped Hardware Ring is in my book Wire Wrapping for Beginners.

New Hardware Jewelry Tutorial Available! Hardware Bunch Earrings

Hardware Bunch Earrings

I’m so excited to announce the release of my newest earring tutorial!  Hardware Bunch Earrings! 

Hardware Bunch Earrings

Learn how to make these eco-friendly and funky earrings!

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Hardware Bunch EarringsLearn how to make these funky and unique earrings with a step by step tutorial with clear close up shots and easy to follow directions.

If you are a beginner, that’s fine, I teach you everything you need to know. If you already know how to make jewelry, you’ll learn this new technique to make these fun hardware earrings.

Also included are ways to customize your earrings!

This is the perfect time of year for earrings!

These go great with my Hardware Jewelry Workshop and/or my Hardware Bib Necklace Tutorial.Hardware Bunch EarringsGet started right now for just $4.00!

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Hardware Bunch EarringsClick here to purchase