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Braided Memory Wire Bracelet
I've been seeing a lot of similar bracelets on teenagers and in stores that cater to a mostly younger market. While the bracelets aren't very expensive, they also aren't hard at all to make and in the exact colors you want. They also make a fun project to do with "tweens".
If you haven't worked with memory wire before,it's a steel wire that's tempered to hold it's shape. You can use it with glue on ends, or turn the ends in loops to hold the beads in place. Because it holds it's shape so well, clasps are unnecessary with it.
It's also very hard. So you won't want to use your favorite pair of round nose pliers and you really don't want to use a good pair of wire cutters on it. I use an old pair of round nose pliers that I keep specifically for memory wire and cutting pliers that are made for harder wires. You can get memory wire and good wire cutters from Rings and Things. They sell memory wire by the ounce, and an ounce of bracelet memory wire has enough coils to make at least 6 bracelets using 9 strands each.
To make this bracelet, you'll need:
Beading wire- 20 gauge, because it's for a piece of fashion jewelry, I just went ahead and used an inexpensive wire.
Memory wire in a bracelet size
Memory wire cutters
Sturdy pair of round nose pliers
beads- for this bracelet, seed beads,short bugle beads, and smaller fire polish crystals are best.
Cut loops of memory wire. A multiple of 3. For my example I used 9 loops. You can cut them so the ends overlap an inch if you want a little extra room in your finished bracelet. I just cut them even.
Using your round nose pliers, turn a loop on the end of each piece, working away from the circle of the memory wire. To turn the loop on memory wire, I grasp it firmly at the tip of the wire with the round nose pliers, then I turn the pliers to turn the loop. After the loop it turned, adjust it with the pliers so the gap between the end of the loop and the rest of the bracelet wire is as small as possible.
String the wires with the beads, same number of beads on each piece, turning the ends when you finish stringing them. Using the alternating colors like on my example made it easy to see if each piece had the same number of beads without counting. I just held a finished one up to the one I was working on and lined up the white beads.
After you've finished stringing all your pieces of memory wire, cut 2 pieces of the beading wire about 2 inches long.Make an eye big enough to not to go through the loops on the memory wire on one end of each piece.
String the set of loops on one wire, and make an eye on the other end of the wire to hold them in place. If you want, you can use spacer beads between the memory wire ends. I preferred the way it looked without.
Separate the coils into 3 equal groups, and holding them flat, braid them.When the braid is complete, slip the other piece of beading wire through the opposite ends of the memory wire and make another loop.
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