I tend to make a lot of necklaces and earrings and not that many bracelets. I have a hard time making a bunch of matching pieces with nice holes, and they take up more material than, say, a pendant. Plus they have to be available in different sizes.
But I like to have a well rounded selection, so I’ve been trying to make more. A while ago I made a tutorial of a stamped tile bracelet (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). It was cute and I spent a lot of time on the posts, but it could have been done better in some ways.
Recently I made another tile bracelet, this time with cane slices instead of stamping. I’ve been practicing with canes a lot and this one is the unexpected result of several attempts at tree silhouettes. Anyway, I wanted to share some improvements I’ve learned.
- Using the right brand of clay. Bracelets are likely to get banged around a bit so you want something strong. There are a lot of options – I used Sculpey Soufflé and Sculpey Premo here – I just wouldn’t use something like Sculpey III again for this project.
- Making your tiles nice and thick. The original bracelet had about 1/8″ thick tiles, which is fine for some items, but you want more like 1/4″ to make room for the holes without weakening the tiles.
- Lining up your holes ahead of time. Teresa Pandora Salgado made a great video (Easy Bangle and Tile Bracelets) on how to do this, which kick-started the remaking of this project.
- Using proper findings. I used tigertail wire and matching glass beads like last time – stretch cord would be fine too – but added crimp bead covers for a more finished look, wire guardians for extra durability (here’s How to Use Wire Guardians), and a two-holed sliding clasp to match the two-strand design.
Other notes: I keep large blocks of black, white, and translucent clay so I have them for backgrounds and such, and I’m working on stocking up on other colors. I used a square cutter to make the tiles this time because I liked the rounded corners and consistent shape. And I added a little liquid clay (Kato) for a shiny finish.
Some of these tips are of course optional, but I hope you will find this helpful, especially if you too have a hard time making bracelets.
In keeping with the original posts, here is a picture of my cat crashing my workspace!