Monday, January 16, 2012

Bangle...Bangle...Bo Jangle!

A long weekend with ZERO just what I needed.  I had thought that I would start my craftiness on Friday night...but my mom and I decided to go see the new movie Joyful Noise.  It is definitely a feel good movie...and if you loved Sister Act, Sister Act II, Glee, or High School Musical (I, II, III) will enjoy it.  So Friday night was out of the question, but I did dedicate Saturday and Sunday to some craftin'!

Again this was an idea that I found on pinterest...and I actually found three different blogs that explored different twists and angles on creating your own bangle bracelets out of polymer clay!  

Delighted Momma...explained how to create a marble style bangle!

Delighted Momma...also showed us how to create a braided bangle!

Polyform...explained how to make bangles with a wire decor!
I set out to Hobby Lobby to buy my supplies once I had decided that the braided ones were what I really wanted to re-create...but I thought I bet I could try em all! It is important to watch the sales ads of Hobby Lobby, Michael's, and Joann's Fabrics.  As in one week's time, I found the polymer clay on sale 50% off at both Hobby Lobby and Joann's. That is a good sale, and I took advantage on BOTH occasions! :)

[Here are all of the supplies that you need to create your own jewelry!]
What you need to buy:

  • Polymer clay ( I ended up buying 7 colors to start.  Each 2 ounce block was $1.99 and then 50% off! I decided to get all neutral colors that could be very versatile at first. I purchased jewelry gold, black, silver, copper, bronze, beige, and chocolate. I will go back for funky colors next time).
  • Aluminum wire (click here to see) in the jewelry making section.  It was $1.99.
  • Clay roller (click here to see) in the clay section. It was $5.99.  If you have a kitchen roller that will work fine too!
  • X-acto knife (see my blog about my PIMPed earphones!)
  • Soda can (save one when you are having a beverage)
  • Bangle (that you already own)
Overall the process is simple.  It was definitely painless and I found a rhythm to it as I continued to work. Once you unwrap the clay brick that you will be working with, you should cut it in to even pieces.  I noticed quickly that my bronze clay was extremely hard.  And later found out that others were super soft.  It might be something to "feel" for when you are in the store. The picture below shows the difference between the appearance of the hard and soft clays.  It didn't hurt my bracelets one way or the other.  It just took a while longer to "mash" it up.  You want to soften it by rolling it out and spinning it into a ball in the palm of your hand.  

As it softens you will feel the difference in the clay and then it is ready to be rolled out.  You will roll the clay with your hand on a flat surface. You want long, thin tubes of clay.  The nice thing is if you are not 100% satisfied with the clay tubes, you just roll it back up and start again.  For the braided bracelet you want three equal long, thin tubes.  You will lay them parallel to each other, mash up the top of them (you will cut this off later, so it is OK if it is "ugly"), and then begin to braid. Use the can to measure the size of your bracelet.  I used the bangle and the can to see the difference.  You will also leave the bracelet on the can to bake!  Cut the length that you have decided is right with the X-acto knife, then take the two ends and gently connect them.  This is the tricky part to make sure it does not look too, too bad.  I got better at it as time went on. Below you can see the finished product with this braided bangle.  
Look below to see how to measure with the bangle!
I also decided to try the marble style bangle.  This is definitely a trial and error process.  I am not even 50% happy with the results.  However, my friend and fellow crafter, Shannon found a book that may help us the next time.  You follow the same steps as above, but instead of braiding, you take two tubes and wrap them around one another.  Next roll them together until they are mixed.  I only rolled them one time. Shannon read that we should roll them multiple times, so hopefully next time that will help.
The solid bangles were the exact steps from above except there isn't any braiding or twisting.  You just have to roll out the desired size and then measure it onto the can or bangle measurement.  Once they were baked, I took the aluminum wire and wrapped it (10 times) around the connecting spot.  You can see them in the finished products collage below.  Truthfully I think they were my favorite! They have a uniqueness to their style as each one turned out a tad differently.  I will probably wear them the most.

I read on several blogs about different temperatures needed and different time lengths.  Some even said you HAD to buy the clay oven.  I proved those people wrong! LOL I baked my bracelets at 275 degrees for 23 minutes.  It seemed to be the best combo of the suggested times I had found...and my bracelets turned out just fine.

I ended up not LOVING the bronze color...I thought it was too dark for my liking.  And similarly I did not like the jewelry turned out very yellow.  However the silver, black, and copper--I LOVE! I already wore my silver braided bangle out to dinner last night!  I saved the beige and chocolate for the next time.  Not to mention the fun colors I plan to buy!

Side Note:
I just wanted to share a shop I found on Etsy.  The shop is called Sienna's Closet and the owner, Melissa handcrafts perfect, elegant boot socks and leg warmers.  I have ordered three pairs from her already.  I wore my first pair out yesterday shopping and I just am so pleased!  If you like them, visit her shop!

That's....just what jess is up to! :)

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