How to Make Medical ID Bracelets Special
by Judy Ellis
Today I wanted to share a special article from one of our contributors. Thought it might be an inspiration for our readers that have friends, family, customers or themselves that have a similar need to wear a Medical ID bracelet or necklace and would like to make them a special piece of jewelry.
Something that I usually don't talk about often is my medical history, but today I'd like to share a bit of it. I have life-threatening food allergies as well as asthma. Luckily I outgrew many of my food allergies, but I'm still very allergic to milk, eggs, tree nuts, and peanuts. Let me tell you, I am saddened by the rise of allergies and things like gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease - but I'm delighted by the new range of gluten-free, milk-free, egg-free, and nut-free foods that just wasn't available 10 or 20 years ago!
The Bracelet I Loved to Hate

I've had allergies and asthma all my life, and it was a lot to learn about as a child - I learned to read ingredient labels before I read Dick and Jane. But one of the big things I had to learn was to always wear my medic alert bracelet, which was a metal box with the medical insignia that I wore around my wrist; the box opened to reveal a page of waterproof paper with my allergies and doctor information on it. I wore my medical bracelet so that if I started to have an allergic reaction, an adult could call 911 and paramedics would know to use my Epi-Pen. And so began my love/hate relationship with jewelry.

You see, I was a very small child and the jewelry wasn't designed well for children - the band dug into my wrist, was heavy, stuck on hot days, was very unattractive, and I got teased for it in school - but it protected my life.

I "upgraded" to a more standard medical alert bracelet as time went on and I could explain my medical issues to strangers. I got a simple engraved plate with my name, allergies, and "Call 911" written on it with the standard red medical symbol. But it came with an ugly curb chain that didn't fit well and I hated looking at it.

I have to admit - many days, I would just stuff it in my pocket. Luckily I never needed to use it during that time - I'm sure paramedics are used to looking for medical jewelry on wrists and around the neck, but wouldn't dig through my pockets!
Then I Saw a Solution to Unwearable Medical Jewelry

Then one day in school, I noticed another girl who wore a medical bracelet, and she had wire wrapped beautiful glass beads on links to attach her medical ID - no curb chain there! And it fit beautifully. I was amazed. Who knew that was possible?

Well, now I know. My ideal medical id bracelet will have wire wrapped beaded links that are interchangeable with the medical tag, so I can match my outfit. The links will be fairly heavy, to balance the medical ID plate in the middle of the bracelet, so it doesn't slide around my wrist all day. And the bracelet will have a toggle clasp, rather than a lobster claw clasp. I like toggles so much better than lobster claw clasps - there was a time when I didn't know there was another kind, and I had to clasp and unclasp my darn bracelet myself every day!

You can find many generic medical id pendants and bracelets in drug stores, near the pharmacy, and there are also many medical id tag sellers online who will engrave your information and customize it for you.

I had to have some information changed, so I am waiting for my new medical id tag to come in the mail. I can't wait to dress it up!

Here are just a few pictures to give you some ideas to play around with:
1. Click here for information on making the Irradiated Quartz Necklace by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

2. Click here for information on making the Easy Agate Anklet

3. This is one of the patterns available in Dale Armstrong's Intermediate DVD Series. It allows both sides of the item being wrapped to be viewed. Very important with a medical Id charm.

4. This also is available in Dale Armstrong's Intermediate DVD Series This bracelet design would take some modifying of the center section, but what a fun challenge and a beautiful way to frame the Medical alert Id.

5. This sample of a Twisted Chainmaille Bracelet and Earrings could easily be used to connect to a Medical Alert ID.
Judy Ellis's How to Make Medical ID Bracelets Special - , General Education, Lashing, Wire Lashing, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, Weaving, Wire Weaving, Weaving Wire, Beads, , Beaded chain
Judy Ellis's How to Make Medical ID Bracelets Special - , General Education, Lashing, Wire Lashing, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, Weaving, Wire Weaving, Weaving Wire, Beads, , Beaded chain
Judy Ellis's How to Make Medical ID Bracelets Special - , General Education, Lashing, Wire Lashing, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, Weaving, Wire Weaving, Weaving Wire, Beads, , Two sided wire wrap
Judy Ellis's How to Make Medical ID Bracelets Special - , General Education, Lashing, Wire Lashing, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, Weaving, Wire Weaving, Weaving Wire, Beads, , Bracelet
Judy Ellis's How to Make Medical ID Bracelets Special - , General Education, Lashing, Wire Lashing, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, Weaving, Wire Weaving, Weaving Wire, Beads, , Chain maille set
Do You Make Medical Jewelry More Wearable?

I'm sure there are many jewelry artists who've found creative solutions to wear their medical jewelry, or ways to dress up friends' and clients' medical jewelry. It's a great service that you can mention when you see people wearing medical jewelry that are checking out your jewelry booth, too. While it's careful to make sure paramedics will still recognize it as a medic alert bracelet, I'm sure there are a lot of people like me who would love a customized option. You can make wire wrapped links, as I did (use the patterns above for inspiration!); incorporate the medical tag into a wire bangle; use chainmaille techniques or a charm-style bracelet; or even create your own perfect style of wire wrapping medical id tags.

How about you? Have you helped a friend or relative design their own medical jewelry, or medical jewelry for yourself? Leave a comment below about your wire solution to such an important piece of jewelry!

Happy Jewelry Making!

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WireJewelry - Ultimate Wire-Pliers Jewelry Pliers with Case, Set of 5
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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Lashing, Wrapping, Weaving, Beading, General Education