Part One: Getting Started
This is the first tutorial I’ll be doing here on my blog so I’m excited to share a little of my Freak Show methods with you! Having been an only child, my mother had to work extra hard at teaching me to share and I believe she was successful. In a jewelry industry full of artists that are completely secretive about their methods, I plan to be different and share and share alike. This isn’t rocket science or a magic formula, this is FUN! So, if you like what your learn and have the opportunity, share the fun with someone else out there and teach them too!
I will be doing this in two parts and this is first part.
Charm bracelets seem to be a top seller in my Etsy shop and are the most requested type custom order I create. Usually these bracelets tell a story when I make them but for this tutorial, lets just begin with some basic lovelies to get started.
Above you will see the items I used in the piece and many of them are Cousin brand. I know it looks like a lot of stuff and it is but these are VERY basic, easy to acquire jewelry findings, beads and charms. Feel free to use similar items and colors that YOU love. Sizes aren’t very important here. While one person likes a big and chunky piece, another may enjoy something on the lighter side. Although, the balance of the items used and the technique in which you build the bracelet is very important for the final product.
Here is what I used:
A variety of great purple acrylic and mesh beads from Cousin
Gunmetal circle link textured chain from Cousin
Purple cracked glass beads
Gunmetal flower beads
AB crystal teardrops
Crystal AB rondelle and bicone beads
Faceted metallic beads
A variety of bead caps
Gunmetal head pins, ball pins and decorative head pins
A variety of gunmetal and silvertone flower charms
Tiny AB flatback crystals
Gunmetal oval jump rings
Gunmetal lobster clasp
You will also need a bead mat, a couple of pins, a ruler, an etcher (optional), a jewel picker, a toothpick, a super fast drying gel type glue, a flush wire cutter, 2 long nose pliers and a round tip plier. I use the Cousin brand tools for my work and that’s is what you see pictured.
The first thing I need to do for this piece is set the tiny crystals into these flower charms. Whenever gluing something to metal, it’s important to rough up the exact surface area of it. I used a diamond tipped etcher to rough up the inside of these little bezels where the crystals will go before I begin gluing. I use a “superglue” gel type of glue to set crystals because honestly, jewelers glue takes too long to dry and this type of glue holds even better. I really don’t think one brand is better than the other but do make sure you are using the gel type. Use a toothpick to apply the glue into each tiny bezel area ( a little goes a long way) and then use a jewel picker to pick up each crystal to place them. A jewel picker has a sticky tip and is a must for setting crystals. This needs 10 minutes at the most to dry.
Now that you have set your crystals, you can remove a length of chain about 8 inches in length for your bracelet and use a jump ring to attach the lobster clasp.
Continue onto Part Two…