How to Make a Charm Bracelet

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A charm bracelet is more than just a piece of jewelry; it can keep you entertained when you're stuck in traffic or in a waiting room; it's a conversation piece people will comment on; it can serve as a record of your travels and life's milestones; and it might become an heirloom. A charm bracelet is also a great place to use odd, one-of-a-kind beads and baubles that don't fit into other jewelry pieces.

Things You'll Need

  • 7 to 8 inches of wide-link jewelry chain
  • Magnetic or lobster-claw fastener
  • Small jump rings
  • Head pins
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Assortment of beads and charms
  • Use good-quality chain, either sterling silver or heavy gold electroplated, with links at least 1/4-inch wide. Attach the fastener components to either end, using small jump rings. Use pliers to close jump rings securely.

  • Collect your charms. Online auctions are a great source if you're looking for something specific. Charms with moving parts,such as globes and windmills that turn, are more expensive, but also more entertaining. Select charms that have meaning to your life, representing your background, hobbies and interests. To commemorate children, have blank charms engraved with their names and birth dates.

  • Using jump rings, attach your five favorite charms equal distances apart. Determine where to place charms by counting the links and dividing by the number of charms. Notice that the links sometimes alternate in orientation (one link straight up, the next at a right angle to the first, the next straight up, etc.) If you're using only a few charms, be sure to attach charms to correct links so they all hang in the same direction. (In a fully loaded bracelet, charms can point every which-way.)

  • Make "filler" charms using headpins and beads. This is a great use for beautiful single beads or single earrings. Finish top of each filler charm by using needle-nose pliers to create a loop. Using jump rings, attach filler charms in between other charms. Include one charm that can dangle from the clasp.

  • Try on the charm bracelet and check for empty spaces; move the charms and fill in with colorful filler charms, as necessary. Mixing gold and silver and all different colors is perfectly acceptable. Use as many or as few charms as you like; a sparsely decorated bracelet looks more elegant and is lighter, but a "loaded" bracelet is more fun.

Tips & Warnings

  • To make your charm bracelet more comfortable to wear, keep your charms short (less than 1 inch) and your bracelet as light as possible by using hollow shapes and non-ceramic beads.
  • A magnetic clasp will make it easier to put on and remove your charm bracelet.
  • Look for charms when you travel; ask for charms as gifts for special occasions.
  • Feel free to change out charms when you find something new that you like.
  • Charm collecting can be addictive!

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