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Video:How to Make a Hammered Bangle Bracelet

with Jeanette Caines

Bangle bracelets are an essential accessory. Learn how to make your own unique hammered bangle bracelet.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Make a Hammered Bangle Bracelet

Hi. I'm Jeanette Caines. I'm an instructor at The Jewelry Arts Institute and I'm here for About.com. Today, we're going to make a hammered sterling silver bangle. My apprentice, Valerie Bloom, is going to be learning a long with you today.

Tools Needed to Make Bangle Bracelets

  • 8 inches of sterling silver half-round wire
  • Hard and possibly some medium solder
  • Paste flux
  • Soldering board to work on top of
  • Planishing hammer for texture
  • File
  • Torch
  • Tweezers

Texturize the Bangle Bracelet

We're going to start putting texture into our bangle. Whenever you hammer you really just want to pick the hammer up and let it fall. Doing a lot of repetitive work like this is probably going to give you an injury and at least give you a very tired arm. I'm just going to use the file to flatten the ends to get them nice and even so we can solder them together. I find the easiest way is to do it up against the bench, like this. Just go straight across. I'm doing it to both sides. I need to get them to meet really beautifully. Well, we need to anneal our metal, because after hammering and working the molecules get packed together tightly and eventually they'll start to crack. I'm going to go ahead and anneal with a soft flame. This is sterling silver, so it's going to turn dark, a little yellowy-brown first and then probably black as I anneal it. That's normal.

Clean and Solder the Bangle Bracelet

I'm going to let it cool a little bit and then I'm going to pickle it. This is commonly called pickle, sodium bi-sulfate, a swimming pool acid. You always want to let your metal cool before putting it in the pickle. Quenching in the pickle will release a fine spray up into the air, which will enter your lungs and is not good for you. You'll know that it's done when all the oxidation has been removed and it's nice and clean. I'm going to fish it out using my coppers tongs. You can't use ferrous metal or it will cause a plating reaction. We're going to dry off our metal and then we're going to hammer our two ends together and solder it shut.

I'm getting ready to solder. I'm holding it up with a third arm, very aptly named and very handy. I have a couple of big fat pieces of medium solder. I'm going to ball up the solder using my torch and then I'm going to place it on the seam. I'm going to use a little paste flux. I started it off by heating it a little gently, because I've got my paste flux it has to dry. And my solder will probably jump all over the place and that's why I have my tweezers, to put it back in position. My solders moving a little bit, it's just about to flow.

Now that we've soldered we have to let the metal cool a little bit. After a minute or so, I'll put it in the water. It'll probably take you approximately three rounds of annealing and pickling and hammering to get it together. You'll notice that your seam is kind of crusty and black and the whole piece is dirty. You'll want to clean that up, so that's pickling again.

Hammer the Bangle Bracelet Into Shape

Now Valerie used our big steel bracelet mandrel to make this nice shape. However, at home I have to tell you that an old wooden baseball bat chopped into sections makes a fantastic bracelet mandrel. The wood is nice and tough and it's hard enough to hammer on.

Well, now we have our bracelet. It's at the perfect shape, it really looks great. The only thing that's left is a little bit of polishing. You have to sand away any extra solder anything like that. You can use a lapidary tumbler, you can use the micro torque or a flexible shaft like I said with any of the silicone polishing wheels. You can also use something as simple as 600 sand paper that you can get right at any home improvement store or hardware store.

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