Charm bracelets are beautiful and they can be a great way to show off your hobbies, the things that you like, and your personality. You can even make the charm bracelet in a way that really shows off your personality. There are lots of options and getting creative is a great way to go.
What is a Charm Bracelet?
A charm bracelet is a bracelet that has some sort of base. Many times this is a chain. Charms are then added to that base. The idea is that you can attach as many charms as you want. You can choose a huge variety of charms from animals to symbols that represent the things you like to do and the things that you are. Charm bracelets are certainly nothing new. In fact, the first charm bracelets were worn from around 600-400 B.C.E. Many cultures were waring them including the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Hittites.
How to Make Your Own Charm Bracelets
You can always buy a charm bracelet. However, nice ones are expensive and it can be hard to find special ones. Plus the same charms that you would put onto a purchased charm bracelet can be used on your hand crafted one. You will need some basic jewelry making skills, but even if you have never made jewelry before you can create a beautiful charm bracelet.
Creating a Base
The base will consist of something to hook the charms on and some sort of clasp. There are lots and lots of different choices and each one has its benefits. Some of them are very easy and require very little equipment and others are fancier and very different for those looking for something beyond the norm.
Chain- By far, the most common option for making your own charm bracelet is chain. This is also a common choice for bracelets that you buy. To make a chain bracelet is very easy. You will need two pairs of pliers (preferably jewelry making pliers), a length of chain that fits around your wrist, and a clasp. You can use any chain that has a link for you to attach charms to.
You will use the two pairs of pliers to open the end of the chain. To do this hold it in one pair of pliers and use the other to bend the other side away from you. Your goal is to twist it open and not pull it open. This will allow you to close it tightly by twisting it back.
Add one half of the clasp by sliding it over one end and then twist it back together. You want the link in the chain to be lined up really well so that it doesn't fall apart. You can also add a drop of Bead Fix or other glue to help secure it. Adjust the length if you need to by opening a link and sliding the rest of it off. You will then add the other half of the clasp, close it, and add glue. Now your chain bracelet is ready for you to add charms to.
Ribbons or Cords - Another easy way to make a charm bracelet is with ribbons or cords. To do this you will want to take a pretty ribbon or cord and get some cord ends. There are a wide variety out there. Some are round and you stick the end of your ribbon or cord in and crush them, others are tri fold and you fold them up on the cord or ribbon, and the final kind look like a little spring and you have to trap the cord or ribbon to the spring (sometimes called a cord coil). I would avoid the springs unless you have used them before. You will also want scissors, a pair of flat nosed pliers, and a measuring tool.
You will need to create a way for your bracelet to hold onto the charms or they will all slide down to the bottom. To do this you can use beads or knots. In either case you should carefully measure the distance between each one.
First cut one end of the ribbon or cord. You don't want any frayed edges. Then place it into a cord end. Add a bit of glue for security. When it is dry you should measure about an inch up and add a bead or create a knot. From there add beads or knots about every ¼ or ½ inch (choose one). This will allow you to space your charms out. When you have almost finished make sure that the other end is about 1 inch from the end. Then trim off any excess and add another end. Finally attach your clasp to the “eyes” of the cord ends unless it already has a clasp attached to it.
Beaded Charm Bracelet - A beaded charm bracelet is the most difficult option. However, it is also the one that you have the most flexibility with if you already possess some jewelry making skills. You can use fancy stitches to make a “chain” to attach charms to. You can also use fancy options for beading or can mix beading with chains as well. However, if you have very little previous skill, you can still make a beaded charm bracelet. To do that you will need nylon coated beading wire, crimp beads or tubes, crimp pliers, scissors, a clasp, and beads of your choice. The beads should consist of small beads under 3mm or seed beads (preferably) and larger beads that are at least 5mm in size. This will allow you to use the larger beads to hold the charms in place.
Create a pattern where your small beads and larger beads alternate. You want the larger beads to be 1/4” to 1/2” apart. Now cut a length of nylon coated beading wire that is about 3 inches larger than your wrist. Fold over one end so that you have about 1” on one side and the rest of the bracelet on the other side. You will then slide the clasp on so it is on the U of the wire. Add a crimp bead so it slides over both wires. Use your crimp pliers to crimp the bead. To do this you will place the bead in the notch closes to the handle, crust it, rotate the bead so that the dimple in it faces outward, and crush it again. This forces the bead to fold on itself trapping the wire in it. You can add glue if you want to.
Next you will add your beads in the pattern you have chosen. Then add a crimp bead and the other half of the clasp. Fold the wire over and stick it through the crimp bead and the last several beads on the wire. Pull it tight. Then crimp the last crimp bead and add the glue if you want to.
Charms are available in so many locations it would be impossible to list them all. You can find a number of them in craft stores in the beading section and in the department stores. You can find some where you buy jewelry and you can even have most jewelers make some for you. You can find them online at beading websites, jewelry websites, Amazon, and eBay. They are every where and come in all sorts of different types.
Some Examples of Charms
Charms come in a wide variety of materials as well as styles. Metal is the most common option and it can be found in brass, silver, copper, and alloys. You can find some with stones and other materials added as well.
As for the different types of charms I could go on for days listing your options, but here are some.
- Places – You can find some symbols that represent the places that you have seen, long to see, or love. Some examples are the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
- Symbols – There are lots of choices for symbols as well. You can find tons of different kinds of hearts, diamonds, spades, clubs, crosses, stars, and more.
- Animals – You can find almost any animal that you can think of. The most common are probably dogs, cats, and butterflies. However, that doesn't stop other animals from making an appearance. You can find frogs, turtles, fish, monkeys, and even rhinoceros!
Putting It All Together
Once you have your base made and you have your charms picked out you will want to put it all together. You have three options for putting it all together. You can use wire which will be the most permanent option. You can use jump rings which work well, but are a pain to use. Or you can attach the charm to a clasp. There are a few different clasp options, but most work like the lobster claw clasp. This isn't always the look you want, so you will have to decide. The big advantage to doing this is that it is really easy to attach the clasps and remove them later.
Adding Your Charms with Wire
If you decide to add them with wire you will want to take a small length of wire. Make a U with a short wire and a longer one on one end and add your charm. Then run the longer end over your bracelet where you want to attach the charm. Carefully fold it over and wrap it around both wires in the middle to form a figure eight.
Adding Your Charms with Jump Rings
Jump rings are small circles or D's (depending on the kind). You will hold one side of the jump ring with a pair of pliers and the other side with a second pair and twist away from yourself to twist them open (just like with the chain). Add the charm to the jump ring, slide it onto your bracelet, and close it.
Adding Your Charms with Clasps
You will want a clasp that can open and close around your chain or other base. You will need one for each charm you wish to add to your bracelet. You can attach the charm to the clasp using wire or a jump ring. Then you can simply open the clasp, attach it to the bracelet, and wear it until you want something different.
Charm bracelets can be beautiful works of art that show off who you are. You can enjoy them even more if you make them and you can craft one that is all about you. You can also make them with others in mind and give them as gifts. This can be a great gift to a young girl or woman so that she can add charms and grow it up with her. Have fun with it and you are sure to create something that will last a long time.