Updated: Jul 18
This tutorial will walk you through the steps for making an adjustable bangle and ring with our Cowgirl Rustic Flower Bangles or Rings pressing.
PURCHASE A COWGIRL RUSTIC FLOWER BANGLES OR RINGS PRESSING FROM METAL MAVEN.
To purchase these pressings click on the pressings below.
For this tutorial, Metal Maven used an 18-gauge copper pressing and an 18-gauge sterling silver pressing.
With this pressing, you can make any size adjustable or soldered ring and bangle bracelets.
PREPARING THE BANGLE BAND FOR CUTTING WITH A GUILLOTINE SHEAR OR JEWELER'S SAW
Use a fine tip marker to draw a line along the outside border of the bangle strip you want to cut. This will help you see the edge when lining up the metal in your shear or when using a jeweler's saw.
CUTTING THE BANGLE STRIP
Place your marked pressing on your Guillotine Shear and cut at the line you marked along the border of the bangle strip. If you don't have a Guillotine Shear, use a jeweler's saw to saw along the line.
Metal Maven Tip: I use a Saw Blade Size of #2/0 when sawing 20-gauge metal, a #1/0 saw blade when sawing 18-gauge metal and a #1 saw blade when sawing 16-gauge metal. Check out this saw blade specification chart on Rio Grande's website for recommended Saw Blade Sizes.
Next, mark a line along the bottom border of the bangle strip and trim off the excess metal.
FILING AND SANDING
The bangle strip is now ready for the next steps. In order to make the bangle comfortable to wear, you need to round the sharp corners and smooth the edges with a file.
Metal Maven used a small belt sander from Micro Mark to sand the edges and round the corners. If you do not have a belt sander, use a #5 file to smooth the edges and round the corners.
Next, Metal Maven used a JOOLTOOL to further smooth the edges and the corners of the bangle strip. Use a Very Fine 3M Scratch Eraser on the JOOLTOOL to burnish the edges.
If you don't have access to a JOOLTOOL, use 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper to smooth the edges of the entire bangle strip edges and the rounded corners.
Metal Maven Tip: An easy way to sand the sides and ends is to lay a piece of sandpaper on a clean flat surface, hold the bangle strip on it's edge and slide it back and forth. Tilt the bangle strip at an angle to round and smooth the edges.
Next, further smooth the edges of the long sides and ends again with 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper.
Here is a close-up of a bangle strip that has smooth edges and rounded corners and is ready for the next step. If you are making rings, skip ahead to the Making a Ring section of this tutorial.
ADDING A PATINA
This step is optional.
Adding a patina brings out the details of your piece and adds an antique-looking quality.
Oxidize with Liver of Sulfur or your choice of blackening agent.
Next use 2000 grit extra fine wet/dry sandpaper to very lightly sand the oxidation from the raised areas on the bracelet. Wet/dry sandpaper can be purchased at most home improvement stores.
FORMING THE BANGLE BRACELET
You will need to use a Oval Bracelet Forming Mandrel and a nylon hammer, a urethane hammer, or a rawhide mallet to form the bracelet. Line up the middle of the bracelet strip on top of the mandrel and push the edges down to form a U-shape. Next, hold the two ends from underneath so that the bracelet doesn't shift, and use your hammer or mallet to continue forming the bracelet around the mandrel by tapping lightly.
Metal Maven Tip: I prefer a Stepped Oval Bracelet Mandrel because each step on the mandrel has graduated sizes and a level surface instead of of being cone shaped.
If you don't have a bracelet mandrel, I can recommend the Cast-Iron Stepped Oval Bracelet Mandrel with Tang from Rio Grande. This is the one that I use. (Rio has not paid me or compensated me in any way for recommending their products.)
You can find the Mandrel here:
Metal Maven Tip: To protect the inside surface of the bracelet, cover your mandrel with a piece of soft leather so that as you hammer, marks from your mandrel will not transfer onto the inside of your bracelet.
Metal Maven Tip: You can also use Joni Kisro's Bracelet Bender for ring, bracelet, and bangle forming. I own one of these and I highly recommend it, it's a fantastic tool. Joni has given me permission to share her Youtube video showing how to use the Bracelet Bender.
Joni’s Bracelet Bender available from Daniel Urrea website.
Your bracelet should look something like this.
This tutorial shows making an oval shaped bracelet. Some people prefer to make them round, so it is up to you as to what shape you make your bracelet.
FINAL POLISHING WITH A ROTARY TUMBLER
Your bracelet is now ready to polish with a rotary tumbler. If you don't have a tumbler you can hand polish with a Sunshine Polishing Cloth.
When using a rotary tumbler, fill the tumbler barrel half full with stainless steel shot, add tap water just to the top of the steel shot, add a drop or two of Dawn, then tumble for at least 2 hours.
MAKING A RING
For this ring, Metal Maven used a strip from the Cowgirl Rustic Flower Bangles or Rings pressing and marked 2-1/2" using a Sharpie and cut the piece where marked. This made a size 10 thumb ring.
Metal Maven Tip: For other sizes, follow the steps for creating a Ring Template in our Adjustable Vine Ring Tutorial. Scroll down to the Making a Ring Size Template section in that tutorial.
FILING AND SANDING
The ring strip is now ready for the next steps. In order to make the ring comfortable to wear, you need to round the sharp corners and smooth the edges with a file.
Metal Maven used a small belt sander from Micro Mart to sand the edges and round the corners. If you do not have a belt sander, use a #5 file to smooth the edges and round the corners.
Next, Metal Maven used a JOOLTOOL to further smooth the edges and the corners of the ring strip. Use a Very Fine 3M Scratch Eraser on the JOOLTOOL to burnish the edges.
If you don't have access to a JOOLTOOL, use 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper to smooth the edges of the entire ring strip edges and the rounded corners.