Handcrafted bracelets can look artsy or elegant, depending on the jewelry design. There are so many ways to make bracelets, from forming your own cuff bracelets out of metal to knitting wire in elaborate patterns, from making a wire-wrapped bracelet to knotting a simple leather rope around your wrist. Here you’ll learn how to make traditional artisan bead bracelets with toggle clasps. Toggle clasps are the ideal clasp for bracelets, as they are easy to get on one-handed. You can also use a lobster claw clasp or a box clasp, if you prefer. This bracelet design calls for .024 inch beading wire such as Accu-Flex or Soft Flex. This is a thick, sturdy beading wire ideal for bracelets, as bracelets take the most wear and tear of any kind of jewelry. For more delicate, formal-occasion styles, use .019 inch beading wire. If your design includes pearls, which have very small drill holes, use .014 or .012 inch wire.
Things You'll Need
Cut the .024-inch beading wire to 11 inches, using the flush cutters. This will make a standard 7 1/2-inch bracelet. If the wrist is larger, add 3 to 4 inches to the wrist size and cut the wire to that length.
Thread one end of the jewelery wire into a crimp bead, then straight into the small ring on the bar part of the toggle clasp. Loop the wire back down the crimp bead. The bar part of the toggle clasp is now loosely fastened to the beading wire. Flatten the crimp bead and secure the bar by squeezing the crimp between the chain-nose pliers.
Thread the wire with an assortment of beads. Use focal beads and spacer beads—which are small beads that set off the larger, more prominent beads—in any pattern you like. Thread a few small beads first, since the bar end of the toggle clasp will need to bend back to fasten onto the ring, and larger beads would get in the way. Stop threading when the bracelet is about 7 inches long, as measured with the bar lying perpendicular to the strand.
Fasten the ring onto the bracelet. To do this, loop the loose end of the beading wire onto the remaining crimp bead, then into the small ring on the ring part of the toggle clasp. Loop the wire back through the crimp bead as before.
Test its length of the bracelet around your wrist, while the bracelet is temporarily fastened like this. If it is too long, remove excess beads, and if it’s too short, add more beads. Then, loop around the crimp and toggle again and compress with the chain-nose pliers, securing the bracelet.
You can use plated crimp beads, but sterling silver crimp beads or gold crimp beads tend to hold better.
Care for your bracelet by avoiding getting it wet and using a soft, dry polishing cloth to clean it. Keep any natural beads like pearls or coral out of sunlight. Don’t let perfumes or chemical sprays get on natural or gemstone beads. Polish sterling silver beads with a treated polishing cloth. Don’t use treated cloths on silver plate or gold plate.