Arte Es Vida

Self-Linking Copper Wire Bracelet by arteesvida
December 10, 2006, 4:52 pm
Filed under: Wire Work


This bracelet is adapted from techniques in Making Wire Jewelry By Helen Clegg & Mary Larom and Creative Wire Jewelry by Kathy Peterson. Both are excellent books and I highly recommended them for your jewelry-making library.

The beauty of this project lies in its simple elegance. Unlike many wire work projects that require jump rings or head pins to link different elements, the design of this bracelet allows each mandrel-wrapped piece to link onto the next one, forming a self-sustaining chain.


Approximately 3 yards of 16 to 18 gauge wire (about 120 inches for a 7 1/2 inch bracelet). For this project I used copper, but you could also use silver, gold, bronze, or colored art wire. I made a funkier version of this bracelet in alternating links of purple and green art wire for my stepdaughter and it looks really wild and fun!A 3/8 inch sized mandrel ( #2 pencil or knitting needle will suit just fine!)

Wire cutters

Round nosed pliers

A metal file (I use an attachment on my rotary tool for this!)

Jeweler’s glue such as Jewel Glue or E-6000 (optional)

The Bracelet:

Wind the wire over the mandrel keeping the wire as straight and even as possible and the circles of wire as close together as possible. This is easier accomplished when you keep the spool of wire as close to the mandrel as possible. Instead of unwrapping from the spool and then onto the wire, I use the spool as the mechanism to wrap directly onto the mandrel, therefore the wire is handled less and is less likely to be bent or warped.

Slide your coil off the mandrel and snip the wire into smaller coils four wraps in length. It will take approximately 22 coils of four wraps each to complete a standards sized bracelet.

With a metal file, smooth down the rough edges of the wire from where you snipped the coils.

Holding one coil at a 90 degree angle from the first one, wind all four loops through the side of the first coil.

Assemble the rest of the bracelet with this technique, adding coils at a 90-degree angle to the preceding coil.

The Clasp:

Should you wish to skip this next section, you can add enough coils to make the bracelet a slip on, and just attach the “last” coil to the “first” to make an endless ring.

Create two jump rings by snipping off a coil of only one loop from the mandrel. File the ends of the jump rings as well (you can also use pre-made jump rings, though you may have difficulty matching the type and gauge of the metal you are working with on this project), and attach one jump ring to each end of the bracelet

Any kind of bracelet friendly pre-made clasp will work on this project, simply attach it to your jump rings. However you can also make an easy Oblong Eye Clasp out of the same wire you used for this project (or better yet, the same type of wire in a slightly thicker gauge).

Cut a 1 1/2 inch piece of wire and bend it in half with your round nose pliers, then loop one of the ends up facing outwards.

Wrap the unlooped end around the top of the looped end. Bend the top in half. The bottom part will attach to the jump ring on one side of your bracelet and the top half with hook over the other jump ring for the wearer to close it.

Make sure you tightly close the jump rings on each side, you can seal the ends with a dab of clear drying jeweler’s glue for extra security.

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