Because a cuff bracelet takes a lot more metal than say, a charm, I ordered aluminum bracelet blanks.  (That’s a whole lot of metal to make a mistake on, LOL.)  Aluminum is a bit softer than silver, I found, so it makes for a very easy stamping medium.  I also got to try out my brand-new bracelet bender, and that thing is really cool!  (If you’re looking for the same supplies as I used here, I ordered from Gotta Get A Deal on Etsy and was happy with the transaction.)

First things first – I needed to stamp my message.  I wanted to make a snowflake design, so I thought that “one of a kind” would be a fun sentiment.  It’s for a friend of mine.  I measured against my own wrist to approximate how much of the bracelet the “top” would represent.  It can curve over the edges a little, but I wanted it to be as legible as possible.  So I just measured and centered my blank on my bench block.
Then, I stamped my message.  I’m not going to get into tips in this post, but if you would like to know more about stamping, I shared a post back in the Spring that has info about how to get started with metal stamping for jewelry projects.

Once I had my message stamped, I added a few snowflakes, because I’ve been dying to use them.  (They are from ImpressArt.) Once I added a couple, then I decided to add some more… and some more.  Until I covered the whole bracelet.  It was just so fun, I couldn’t stop, and as I worked, I found that I really liked the all-over effect.  I played with stamping some normally, and some more lightly to make a light impression.  I found that was a cute way to fill some of my blank areas without the design becoming too overwhelming.

Once I had it all stamped, I debated whether to darken my impressions (this can easily be done with a Sharpie marker – if you’re using silver, then liver of sulfur would make a more permanent darkening, but it won’t work on aluminum).  Ultimately I decided that I’d go without contrast on this piece and go with the more subtle pattern.  (I did buy a 6-pack of blanks, so I can always try it the other way, when I play with those!)
Now – these blanks are thick enough that you can stamp a message on the backside, if you want.  I did. But it’s staying secret…  I don’t think my friend will read this post before Christmas, but I’m going to play it safe.
Now – to bend the blank into a bracelet shape.  It seems intimidating but it is really, really easy.  Just tuck one end of your blank into the crease, and bend the blank around the curved portion of the bender (stop when you get to the corner).  Repeat the process on the other side.  Bam – instant cuff bracelet.  I am going to LOVE this tool, I already know it.

That’s it!  It’s a lot simpler project than it looks (shhhh… don’t tell!)  The hardest part really is getting comfortable enough with your stamping to achieve a result you like the looks of.

What personal gifts are you making for friends and family this year?

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