How to Fake a Stacked Bracelet with Memory Wire
These super easy bracelets are great projects with younger beaders and simulate the look of stacked bracelets but are really just a coil of memory wire. They are also a good way to use up "bead soup" and a great way to play with colors.
This project includes some information about working with memory wires for beginners.
You will need:
- Bracelet memory wire- 6 coils works well
- Glue on memory wire end caps
- Strong adhesive- more about that below
- Beads in different sizes and colors
- to cut memory wire- parrot memory wire cutters
Memory wire is a hardened spring steel wire that retains it's shape. It can be stretched, opened, and pulled and like a Slinky, it goes right back to it's original shape. Because it's so hard, you need cutters made for it. Memory wire chews up regular wire cutters and ruins them. My favorite cutters for memory wire are an inexpensive pair of parrot cutters available from Cousin. There is a link at the end of the article.
Memory wire ends look like beads that are closed at one end. They are cemented into place. People use various kinds of glues for these. As always, the strongest bond for something that doesn't need to flex is a 2 part epoxy. You would mix just a drop of each part well and do the first end by dipping the end of the wire into the epoxy then pushing it into the end cap. Then use a tooth pick to apply more epoxy to the top of the end cap around the wire, and slide on the first bead. Make sure it's secure and set it aside to cure. If that's more than you want to do, you can use a good gel type super glue or E-6000 in the same way. Glue the wire into the end cap, fill it over the top with a toothpick, and glue the first bead on top of it, set it aside to cure/dry.
So to make this bracelet, it's just stringing. You'll plan out what you want on each "bracelet". If you look at my photo above, you'll see there are 4 fine bands and 2 chunky. After experimenting, I found what worked best was to separate each larger bead wrap with smaller beads. Small beads are anything 4mm and under. So this is a good time to use size 8s, triangles, seed bead soup and all sorts of things. Larger beads can be pretty big. The polished stones on my bracelet are pretty chunky and the pearls are 8 mm. The final wrap should be smaller beads to help adjust if necessary for the end cap.
The smaller beads create the look of fine bangles and the larger beads make a more fashion bracelet look.
After you finish all the wraps of the memory wire, repeat the end cap procedure for the final end cap. A little bit of bare wire is fine, don't try to trim it down to fit exactly. So before gluing, check the end cap, make sure it has room to fit completely on the end. Add or remove seed beads so the end cap sits securely on the end of the wire. Take it off, and then glue it into place. Put some glue on the end of the end cap, then dip the end of the wire into the glue, and push it all together. Hold it long enough to set, then put it aside to cure completely.
Now it's done. Fun and easy for casual fashion.
These are my favorite memory wire cutters- I have a couple pairs.
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