6 Steps to Make Cuff Bracelets

A step-by-step beginner's guide to making cuff bracelets.

Cuff bracelets are great projects for budding metalsmiths. Cuff bracelet making allows you to use basic skills in several areas such as forming, annealing, stamping, texturing and finishing. Cuffs do not have to be sized too precisely so this is a great beginner project.

  1. Sheet prep – Cuffs need to stand up to a fair amount of wear and tear on the wrist while holding their distinctive c-shape. They should be made of 22 gauge metal or heavier. Most cuffs are either 20 gauge or 18 gauge. You can buy sheet and cut it to size or purchase pre-cut cuff bracelet blanks to avoid a lot of sawing or purchasing an expensive guillotine shear. Most cuffs are made from metal of varying widths that are about 6 inches long. Women with small wrists may want to shorten the 6 inches down to 5.5 or so. Copper is a great starter metal if you are new to metalsmithing. Brass will be quite a bit harder to work with.

    Sheet Prep: SWS24, CB5266, BR5266, SCF202

  2. Filing & sanding – You will want to cut or saw the corners of your long, flat rectangular cuff blank so they are rounded instead of pointed. Use shears or a saw to create a rounded edge that will be comfortable on the wrist. Then use files and sandpaper to smooth the edges and remove burrs. Also sand out any surface scratches on your metal at this time.
    Filing & Sanding Tools: CB5266, X344, X343, X536, XJ1051, X9400
  3. Add texture or stamping – You should use your texture hammers or design stamps while your cuff blank is still flat.
    Jewelry Hammers and Metal Texturing Tools
  4.  Anneal – After texturing and stamping your blank may be work hardened so it will be too stiff to form. Anneal your piece to soften the metal but be careful not to over-heat. Quench and pickle after.
    Soldering Supplies: Halstead Item x584, x302, x420, x521, x741,
  5. Form your metal – You are now ready to bend your cuff into a bracelet shape. It is easiest to use a bracelet mandrel with a rawhide or nylon hammer. With thinner gauge metals you may be able to bend the blank by hand or with a pair of bending pliers. If forming hardens your metal you may need to anneal again during this stage.
    Metal Forming Tools: Halstead Items CB5261, X394, X421, CU152, X220, X311
  6. Polish – Use polishing compound or treated cloth to shine up your metal and your new cuff is ready to wear. Enjoy!
    Polishing Supplies: Halstead Items X705, CU152, XJ149

Once you have experimented with cuff designs you will be ready to explore soldered bangles and more complex design elements such as bezel cup settings and sawed cut-outs. Have fun with all the possibilities of this versatile jewelry piece and enjoy the bracelet trend to its fullest. Happy hammering!

Update! One of our favorite jewelry tools in the Halstead Employee Studio is our bracelet bending block. Watch the video below to see why…

 

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  • I’d be THRILLED to win this great package of tools & materials .. it looks GREAT!! … I’d like EITHER; the brass because of the lovely patinas over time and the copper with it’s healing properties for arthritis and rich color and malleability.
    Thanks very much for the opportunity! 🙂

  • I think I prefer the copper because it looks warmer to me, and I’ve never worked with copper, so for me it would be exciting to use something new, I also know that when heating copper you can get brilliant colors from copper and that is something that I would love to try doing too!

  • I prefer copper because of the color changes that you can achieve with the torch, the warmth of the color, memories from childhood, and I like that you can easily copperplate your seams to make the silver solder match the copper.

  • I would LOVE to win that fabulous set! Thank you for the chance to enter 🙂 I prefer copper because that metal appeals to my senses..its warm and natural, and has a variety of shades and brightness depending on the tarnish or if its hammered etc. I love to mix different metals together, the contrast is beautiful.

  • This blog will become part of my reference library. This is exactly what I need to start making cuffs. Copper is my preferred metal, I love all the different ways you can texture and patina copper.

  • Even if I don’t win – the step by step directions here are very helpful! I am bookmarking this page for when I am brave enough to start playing with fire

  • I have only made a few cuffs because I don’t have proper tools but the ones I have made have made have been from copper and I love working with it. It takes texture and Latinas so well or ages naturally.

  • I love the look of copper- there are so many ways you can use it. I’m really looking forward to working more with it.

  • I originally read the giveaway page, but I’m glad I went further to learn more about metal-smithing! I usually just wrap wire, but I’d love to get into this!

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