Coloring for Adults: Textured Metal Bracelets
Create armloads of colorful, lightweight, inexpensive brass bracelets using just a few basic tools!
We created several custom color blends of 4mm Swarovski bicone crystals (or Crystal Jams) inspired by our favorite songs! Keep a few jams on hand to add a bit of sparkle to your designs — these harmonized palettes of beads are perfect when playing with color!
Using one piece of patterned brass sheet metal you can make several bracelets. The 24-gauge sheet is sold in 4″ by 2-1/2″ pieces, which cut nicely into long strips.
- Step One: Begin by deciding on the width you want for each bracelet (the set shown is 6mm). Mark the back side of the sheet metal using a permanent marker. Carefully cut each strip using metal shears, flattening metal as needed with a nylon hammer or rawhide mallet.
Step Two: Punch a single hole at both ends ends of each strip. The screw-action on our favorite hole punch takes a bit of getting used to, but once you have mastered it you will reach for it time and again. It makes perfect holes in two sizes (1/16″ & 3/32″), without damaging the metal. It is fast, requires no electricity and is an absolute workhorse.
Step Three: File metal strips as needed to remove any sharp points or burrs. No bench is complete without a rubber square soft-anvil work surface, perfect for sanding and polishing! We call the Grobet® Swiss flat hand file the “Butter File” because it moves through metal like butter! It is smooth and quick.
(Side note: I cut my sanding sponges into several small squares, as I typically am working with tiny pieces of metal. These flat sponges are perfect for lifting off only the top layer, without disturbing the color held in the recesses.)
Step Four: Use bracelet bending pliers to form the connector; it shapes the metal strips perfectly! (Consideration: it is generally best to do this before applying color and sealant, to prevent cracking).
Step Five: Apply color to the metal blank! Experiment and play! For tips on oxidizing, applying patina or coloring metal, please read our blog on the subject.
- Work in a well-ventilated area and avoid contact with eyes, skin and clothing. Consider wearing gloves to protect your hands.
- Make sure your metal is clean (free of dirt, oil, grease, scale) and dry.
- Test the chemical(s) on a small sample of the goods.
- Apply before assembling. Some applications can be layered or mixed for different finishes.
- After application is dry, buff gently with a sanding pad to create antiqued crevices and shiny high points.
- Store colorants, patinas and antiquing solutions upright in sealed plastic bags.
Vintaj Patinas are festive, opaque, permanent, fast-drying inks specially formulated to adhere to metal! They create durable and beautiful effects on metal, and can be blended and layered for an endless array of results. A dauber is great for applying inks to large surfaces.
Gilder’s Paste provides very durable, opaque finish. It is great for highlighting metal. Polishing the Metallic Gilders Paste with a soft cloth produces a gilded finish. For more tips, check out a previous blog article.
Win-Ox blackens brass quickly and completely. If not sealed properly, a container of Win-ox will oxidize the closest metals. We recommend that you overbag the bottle and store away from all metal materials.
Step Six: Seal the color. Reniassance Wax (Micro-Crystalline Wax Polish) is a great way to finish your piece as it dries instantly, does not show finger prints, will not discolor, and imparts a beautiful soft sheen. You can also use the amazing ultra-polish pads which are tight-bond foam pads, permanently bonded micro-abrasives, great for adding highlights to oxidized items, removing tarnish and polishing to a high shine.
Step Seven: Cut the chain to fit, and attach it to the connector using jump rings. Attach a split ring to the end of one side of the chain and a clasp to the other side. Check out our basic jewelry making guide for tips.
Have fun playing with color!!!
PS: Before ordering, make sure you are aware of any hazardous shipping restrictions for the items mentioned. (There are colorful warnings next to products that have “HZ” shipping restrictions.)