Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Button Bracelet Tutorial

So, what do you do when you have some buttons you love but can't find a sweater they'd look good on?  Make a bracelet!!  It's super simple - just one skill to practice a bit!  First, gather three buttons, chain, a clasp, jump rings (make sure five of them are big enough to fit through a buttonhole and then through another jump ring), some headpins, and a bunch of beads.  You'll also need needle nosed jewelry pliers, regular jewelry pliers, a wire cutter, and round nosed jewelry pliers.  I thought I was going to be using pearls on these seashore inspired buttons ....

... but after I got to the part where I put them on the bracelet, they didn't look casual enough, so I found these polished tourmaline nuggets that have been sitting around for awhile.  I love how they look like beach glass!

First, take one of your large jump rings and put it through a hole of one of the buttons.  If you haven't used jump rings before, see this past post.

Add a large jump ring to another button and, before you close the ring, hook it through the jump ring of the first button.  And sorry about the ugly bandaid in the photo - I had a run in with a kiln stilt!

It should look like this.

Repeat with the last button ...

... and add a large jump ring to the empty holes on the end buttons.

Measure your wrist - not loosely, but fairly snug.  Cut a piece of chain and add it to the jump ring of one of the end buttons.

Attach the other end of the chain to the jump ring of the other end button.  Don't panic!  It won't stay looking like this!

Find the middle of the chain and open that ring.

Add a jump ring ....

... and the clasp.

It should look like this!

Try the bracelet on - if you like how it fits, great!  If not, add a few links from the extra chain to the non-clasp end to make it a bit longer.

Now comes the fun part!  And what might be a new skill to practice for some of you.  Take one of the beads you want to attach and a headpin.  A headpin is just a piece of wire with a flat end that keeps it from going all the way through the bead.

Put the headpin through the bead.

Take your needle nosed pliers and place them next to the bead.

Make a right angle on the wire and cut off the extra, leaving about a half inch.

Place your round nosed pliers at the end of the wire and use them to bend the wire into a loop, making sure it closes completely.  This seemed like a hard skill before I tried it, but with a few times practicing, it worked!  Not as beautifully as a professional jewelry designer, but serviceable for me!  I take the pliers out a few times, rearrange, and make the wire rounder each time.  Find some cheap wire and practice, practice, practice!!  And if you want to see the technique in action, this short You Tube Video is good.

Here's mine.

Either before you close the loop on the end of the bead (or open it back up if you forget, like I often do), attach it through a chain link on the bracelet.

Keep doing this until your bracelet has the number of beads you want it - I put one on every other link.

If you're looking for some art ceramic buttons to try out on this bracelet (or for sewing with!), there's a new update in my shop of 17 new button sets - and some ceramic jewelry findings based on my forest walks.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

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