Judy Larson's Wire Bangles, Contemporary Wire Jewelry. Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder. My daughter loves bangles but, just like me, has smaller than average hands and wrists so purchased bangles are WAY too large.
Wire Bangles
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Technique(s): Butane Torch Techniques
  • Skill Level: Beginner
My daughter loves bangles but, just like me, has smaller than average hands and wrists so purchased bangles are WAY too large. I made a set of 3 silver, 1 gold and 1 rose gold bangles to fit her and she wears them every day. Change the number of bangles, the gauges of wire and the types of metals to suit your tastes.

Materials

10 Gauge Round Dead Soft Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-10D
  • Lesson Quantity: 3.00 feet
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 5FT
  • Price: $135.22
  • Gold Club Price: $101.42
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Silver Solder Paste Medium SS70 - 1/4 T.O.
SOL-822.15
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $18.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.21
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Silver Solder Paste Soft SS65- 1/4 T.O.
SOL-822.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $16.95
  • Gold Club Price: $12.71
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Tools

Handy Flame Butane Torch
SOL-315.00
  • SOL-315.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $29.95
  • Gold Club Price: $22.46
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7 Piece Mini TruStrike Hammer Set with Stand
HAM-520.70
  • HAM-520.70
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $140.54
  • Gold Club Price: $105.40
Out of Stock
Medium Rawhide Hammer 1 1/4 inch - Pack of 1
G3-7
  • G3-7
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $24.95
  • Gold Club Price: $18.71
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Instructions
Step 1
Unfortunately, I was a bit distracted when I was making one of the bangles and instead of soldering the ends together, I heated the join a bit too long and melted the ends apart. Since my hands do not bend like they used to, I can no longer wear bangles, just cuffs. So, the "OOPS" turned into a nice little cuff for me-Yay!
How do I know what size to make? Hint: Make a single copper bangle, very inexpensive to make, in each of the sizes you might make. Attach a size charm to each one. The best way to determine size it to measure a bangle that fits. See Step 10.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Step 2
Read through all the directions before beginning the project.
Use heavy duty cutters or aviation shears, shown here, to cut 10 gauge round wire to the length needed for the chosen bangle size. Memory wire cutters will make a more flat cut so less filing will be needed before soldering.
Size XX-Small 6-5/8" X-Small 6-7/8" Small 7 ¼" Medium 7¾" Large 8-1/8" X-Large 8-3/8"

If a plain wire bangle with no texture is desired, cut 10 gauge wire longer slightly than needed. File to the length listed.
Size XX-Small 7-5/16" X-Small 7-23/32" Small 8-3/32" Medium 8-15/32" Large 8-27/32" X-Large 9 ¼"

Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Step 3
So a perfect solder join can be made, the ends of each wire must be perfectly flat. In a perfect world, there would be access to a Miter Joint Jig Vise. Secure one end of the wire in the larger diamond shaped opening in the vice so the portion with cut marks can be removed. File the end of the wire flat, flush with the surface of the vise. Repeat with the other end of the wire. Note: The vise used here is for 45 and 90 degree angles. Use the flat 90 degree portion.
If a Miter Joint Jig Vise is not available, a pair of flat nose pliers will work. Place the wire as close as possible to the fulcrum of the pliers. This area will provide a 90 degree angle for the wire end to be filed flat. This will also allow for less pressure needed to grip the handles of the pliers to hold the wire and less chance of marring the wire. Hint: Wrap electricians tape around the jaws of the pliers to help prevent marring. Place the end of the plier jaws on the edge of the work surface. File the wire flat and flush with the top of the pliers.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Step 4
Bend the wire into an oval shape, matching the ends up as perfectly as possible. No light should be seen between the ends from any angle. Hint: Forming the wire into a "smile" and then pulling the wires back so the ends touch can help to create a flush connection between the wire ends.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Step 5
Place a small amount of paste solder on the join. Solder the join closed. Remove the heat immediately after the solder flows. Wait for the unit to cool a bit before quenching. Hint: Quenching immediately after soldering can split the join so wait a bit before placing the bangle in water to cool it.
Pro Tip: Because this is a larger piece and a heavy gauge wire, a small butane micro-torch will not work. Butane can still be used if the flame is larger, as with this torch head which attached to a butane canister used in camping.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Step 6
Pickle the piece to remove fire scale. 320 grit sandpaper can be used to clean excess solder around the join.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Step 7
Use bracelet bending pliers to round the bangle. Start at the join and work outward around the entire bangle. The bangle does not need to be a perfect circle, just oval enough to fit over the end of the bracelet mandrel.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Step 8
Slide the bangle loosely down onto a bracelet mandrel. Strike the bangle with a rawhide mallet to help round it. Keep turning the mandrel until the bangle is round.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Step 9
Place the bangle on a bench block. Strike the bangle using rawhide mallet until it is flat.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Step 10
It is time to make a design decision: What texture hammer should be used on the bangle? The bangle on the left was textured with a Mini TruStrike Sharp Designer Hammer and the one on the right was textured with a large domed face hammer (a Mini TruStrike Planishing Hammer could also be used).
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Step 11
Texture the outside of the bangle as well as the top and bottom. If using a texturing hammer other than a domed face one, use the domed face hammer to stretch the metal until it is at least halfway to the desired diameter. There will be less chance of splitting the bangle that way. A Sharp Raising Hammer does not move or expand metal as fast as a domed face hammer. The bangle also gets larger faster when hammered on a bench block. Check the size often.
Hammer out to an inside diameter of: XX-Small: 2¼" X-Small 2-3/8" Small 2½" Medium 2-5/8 Large 2¾" X-Large 2-7/8"
Pro Tip: Measure the diameter with a clear ruler both horizontally (shown) and vertically until the desired size is reached.
Pro Tip: When making multiples, slide a finished bangle on the bracelet mandrel. Use a fine point Sharpie marker to draw a line above and below it. It will then be easy to tell when the bangle is getting close to the desired size.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Step 12
Tumble the bangle in steel shot, water and a drop of dish liquid to work harden it and bring up a beautiful shine.
Step 13
Leave the bangle bright and shiny, in which case the bangle is done. Or use liver of sulfur to patina the bangle. Buff with 0000 steel wool to bring out the dimension of the texturing.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire bangles
Step 14
What about that OOPS! Cuff? I was making an XX-Small Argentium silver bangle when I OOPSED. I then alternated melting the silver ends until the wire measured a scant 6" long, a hair more than 5/8" shorter than the original length. The 5/8" shorter can be done for all the sizes.
Cut 10-gauge wire for size: XX-Small 6-5/8" X-Small 6-7/8" Small 7 ¼" Medium 7¾" Large 8-1/8" X-Large 8-3/8"
Melt ends to length of: XX-small 6" X-small 6¼" Small 6-5/8" Medium 7-1/8" Large 7½" X-large 7¾"
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire cuff
Step 15
Place the balled end wire on a bench block and straighten it using a rawhide mallet. Keep turning the wire on the block to make sure it is as straight as possible.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire cuff
Step 16
Place the wire, flat side of the balled ends facing up, under one of the sections on the stepped bracelet mandrel. Form the wire around that step.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire cuff
Step 17
Use bracelet bending pliers to finesse the shape to better fit a wrist. Hint: Place the cuff on a grid to check symmetry.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire cuff
Step 18
Tumble the bangle in steel shot, water and a drop of dish liquid to work harden it and bring up a beautiful shine.
Judy Larson's Wire Bangles - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, wire cuff
Step 19
Leave the bangle bright and shiny, in which case the bangle is done. Or use liver of sulfur to patina the bangle. Buff with 0000 steel wool to bring out the dimension of the texturing.
Step 20
Buffing with steel wool creates a satin finish on the metal. If desired, tumble the pieces for about 30 minutes to bring up a shine. Tumbling will not affect the patina.
Oh, the possibilities! Consider twisting two 14- or 12-gauge wires together to make this cuff. Or maybe twist a single 8- or 10-gauge square wire. Flattening twisted wire slightly would make a beautiful cuff. Placing two wires side by side would be beautiful, as well. If the balled ends are flattened slightly, they can be stamped.