Monday, June 28, 2010

Tutorial for Standard Cuff Bracelet

Click on each picture to enlarge and better see the details.

This tutorial is for a Very Basic Method - one version of making the Standard or Basic Cuff Bracelet. There are many methods to accomplish this project. 
Explore! Experiment! Adapt!

Many gauges of wire are suitable, from 20 to 10.
Use beads - of many sizes and a number of shapes, or use no beads at all.
Use many shapes of wire - round, square, half round, or twisted square.
Use many types of metal - copper, brass, sterling, gold, whatever you are able to manipulate.
Materials used in this tutorial  -
*Four copper 14g for the base/frame wires (allow 1-1/2 inches longer than your wrist size, to allow turning under the ends.)
***Edit 4/13 --- I'm using a single 12g rather than 2 14g for the outside wires and like the cuff strength much better.
*Four 8mm cubes
*Nine 8mm hematite rounds
*Beads are strung on 18g wire 
*18g round for the binding. (I don't have a note for how much wire this cuff used. Whenever possible, I work from the coil or spool, so I don't run short, or have scrap. The tutorial uses round wire, but half round is much easier to manipulate.)
***Edit 4/13 - I love 16g 1/2 round for the bindings between beads and 18g round for the end wraps.
*A terrific clamp for heavy wire bundles*
I found this package of 4 clamps at Walmart, with the tarps and bungees. It snugs down really tight and is not too large or bulky. They are also available at many auto parts or sporting goods/camping supply stores.

Step 1
*Assembled pieces held with painter's tape*
Four 14g base wires, four 8mm cubes, nine 8mm hematite rounds strung on 18g. Tape one end or use clamps. This design is totally flexible - change the size of the wire, the beads, the numbers, where you put the binding wires, and on and on.
----You may find it easier to start with just the center section of beads - for instance here, just the 3 cubes and the 2 rounds between them - always binding between beads to hold the spacing in the frame, adding more beads as you go along.

Step 2
*Make a hook*
Wrap 3 or more times around between beads. Pull tight after each turn and squeeze the bend with your pliers to tighten it.
You may find it easier to start the binding with a longer tail. 
If your first binding wrap sux, pull it up and tighten it or cut it off. You'll get better with practice.
Press the ends down into the gap so they don't scratch or pull loose later.

Step 3
*Hook on and wrap*
Pull the wire tight as you wrap around the base, squeezing after the bend to make it tight.

Step 4
*Underside finished*
Tuck the ends inside the bracelet so they don't scratch.

Step 5
*Bend the ends together*
I find it easiest to bend both wires over the bead, (like the top wire in the photo), then bend them straight, into the finished position, (like the inner wire, second from the top)

Step 6
*One end finished, one in progress*

Step 7
*All ends shaped and laying together*

Step 8
*Ready to wrap the end - Method One*
Make a 90 degree bend in the center wire, which holds the beads. Wrap around the base wires, back toward the beads. Use pliers to hold the center wire steady when beginning the wrap, if necessary.

Step 10
*Alternate method for the end wrap - L hook*
Make two small bends, to hook over the base wires. See next photo for size.

Step 11
*Hooked over and wrap started *
This version wraps away from the beads, giving more flexibility to the final length of the cuff. The final end of the wrap wire will be hidden under the folded base wires (next photo). 
***Gently but firmly squeeze the wrap wire each time you make a wrap. 
Pull HARD as you wrap it around, but not so hard that the frame gets distorted.

Step 12
*One end finished*
Clip the base/frame wires even and bend them over, to the inside of the cuff. File all rough spots, before and after bending.

Step 13
Shape the cuff
Hold one end against a pvc coupling and bend half way around, repeat for the other end. This coupling measures 1 1/2 inch across the end, just about wrist size. Find pvc couplings at the hardware store, gray in the electrical dept and white in the plumbing dept, the same item except for color. Very large cuffs require a bit more fiddling to get the size.
This small cuff is done with 12g frame, 16g 1/2 round bindings and 18g end wraps.

A little hand shaping to get the size right and there ya go!

 Finished cuff!

Now, experiment!
Leave a comment!
Questions are invited and welcome. Leave a link to your version of the Basic, or Standard, or multitude of other names, Cuff Bracelet!


  1. This comment was posted on Webshots, thank you, m'dear! I'm taking down the Webshots albums, so I'm transferring parts here -

    said dlw0221
    01.18.2007 at 01:52:36 PST
    "It is so great when someone with such great talent is willing to give the rest of us a "leg up" by sharing her craft. Thanks soooooooooooo much from a wire wrap newbie! DanaLee


  2. Wow what a great design! Thank you for sharing


  3. Awesome! I'm your new fan and subscriber!

  4. Can't wait to try this out. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Y'all are Most welcome! Experiment and play. The possibilities are endless. I would love to see photos, come back and share a link!

  6. What a great bracelet and thank you so much for sharing how to make it with us, newbies to the world of wire wrapping. By the way, I LOVE your designs.

  7. You're Welcome, m'dear!
    Thanks for the kind words!

  8. Sherry,
    You have a fan for life! I normally am a soapmaker who runs my butt off during the summer doing 3 local Farmer's Markets but I have been wanting to try my hand at wire wrapping when my season slowed down and I am so excited I have found your blog.

  9. Welllllll, Howdy and welcome! Make yourself at home!