Updated: Jul 18, 2022
Using the Cowgirl Rustic Sunflowers Cuff Bracelet Pressing you can make your own cuff bracelet. Here's a quick tutorial to walk you through the steps!
From start to finish Metal Maven was able to make a cuff bracelet in less than 20 minutes.
This pressing is called “Cowgirl Rustic“ because it has design elements that mimic hand tooled leather designs commonly found on western saddlery and other items like western belts and boots.
The pressing provides you with two cuff bracelet patterns that are a little over 1-1/8" wide and 5-7/8" long. There is a border around all of the patterns that looks like stitched leather.
To create your bracelet you will need Metal Maven's Cowgirl Rustic Sunflower Cuff Bracelet pressing in Copper or Sterling Silver.
ADDING A PATINA
Adding a patina brings out the details of your piece and adds an antique-looking quality.
We recommend adding patina to the whole pressing before you saw out the pieces because it’s much easier to buff as one piece instead of multiple small pieces.
First scrub the surface of the metal using Dawn detergent and a soft brush, then rinse and dry. Then apply patina following the manufacturer’s instructions. Midas Gel Liver of Sulfur works great for copper and Gosiba or Jax Silver Blackener work well for silver.
After applying patina, use a 240 grit nail salon buffing block or 1000 grit sandpaper to lightly sand the raised areas to highlight the details.
CUTTING THE CUFF BRACELET
Use a guillotine shear and trim close to the edges of the border.
If you don't have a Guillotine Shear, use a jeweler's saw to saw along the edges of the border.
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.
FILING AND SANDING
The cuff strip is now ready for the next steps. In order to make the cuff comfortable to wear, you need to round the sharp corners and smooth the edges.
Metal Maven used a small benchtop 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 cuff strip. Use a Very Fine 3M Scratch Eraser Disc 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 cuff strip 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 cuff strip on it's edge and slide it back and forth. Tilt the cuff 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.
POLISH THE CUFF BRACELET
Polish the bracelet with a buffing machine or hand polish with a Sunshine polishing cloth.
FORMING THE CUFF BRACELET
Metal Maven used Joni Kisro's Bracelet Bender to form this cuff.
You can get Joni's Bracelet Bender from Daniel Urrea's website. Here's a link to the bender.
If you don't have Joni's Bracelet Bender, use a Stepped 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. I also lay a piece of leather across the base of my Joni's Bracelet Bender to protect the face of my cuffs from getting scratched.