DIY Adjustable Bangle Bracelet with Charms

DIY Adjustable Bangle Bracelet with Charms
DIY Adjustable Bangle Bracelet with Charms
(similar to Alex and Ani bracelets)
These adjustable bracelets are stackable, and they are designed to be collected and worn together.  Have fun creating your own designs!
You will need:
  • 16 gauge wire (11-12 inches) We used Bead Smith Craft Wire.
  • Charms (3 small and 1 larger) We used TierraCast charms.
  • Jump rings to add charms (4)
  • Wire cutters
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Round nose pliers
  • Beads with large enough holes to fit over 16 ga. wire optional
Open a jump ring and string on one charm.
Carefully close the jump ring.
Repeat to add a jump ring to each charm.

Cut 11 inches of wire for a 7 inch bangle or 12 inches of wire for an 8 inch bangle.  Remember, the bangle is adjustable to fit over your hand.  Be careful to keep the rounded shape of the wire.  Don’t bend the wire!  If necessary, re-shape the wire around a round object, like a water bottle.  The wire should overlap by about 3 inches.

Bend one side of the wire toward the other side of the wire about 12mm from the end.  Make sure that you’ve created a 90 degree angle.

 Use your round nose pliers to form a loop.

 String on the three smaller charms.

String the open side of the wire through the formed loop.  This will hold the three charms in place on the bangle.

 String the larger charm onto the open wire.

 Bend the wire into a 90 degree angle 12mm from the end.

 Use your round nose pliers to form the beginning of a loop.  Make sure the loop faces the other side of the wire.

 Hook the loop around the other side of the wire and press it closed.
This is the classic “Alex and Ani” style bracelet.  The wires loops can slide, making the bracelet adjustable.
Some Alex and Ani bracelets have beads rather than open wire with charms.
To make the beaded style of adjustable bangle, bead 4-5 inches of the wire.  Any beads will do, as long as they can fit on 16 gauge wire.
Follow the previous directions to form a loop in one side of the wire.  Then thread the other side of the wire through the loop.

The bangle will look like this.

String one charm onto the open wire.
Follow the previous instructions to form a second loop and close it around the other side of the wire, locking the charm in place.
27 comments on “DIY Adjustable Bangle Bracelet with Charms
  1. Hey, I was just cruising the internet and found your blog. I make jewelry also and I never tried to make Pandoras or Alex and Ani Braceletes but my sister gave me one and I loved it. I tried my hand at making some with brass wire and some old charms I founf on thrift store jewelry and I must say, they come out nice. Some of the most beautiful things are the simplest. GREAT BLOG!!!!

    • Lezli Goodwin says:

      I totally agree! You can work wonders with simple materials and some care. I’m glad you’re having fun with our instructions!

  2. jaime gooding says:

    I am needing a bit more information on this. first. what size jump rings are you using and what gague? second, what size beads are those? I have lots of beads but Im not sure the holes in them are large enough for a 16ga wire. Thank you

    • Lezli Goodwin says:

      I used size 5 Miyuki seed beads, and they have a nice large hole. The jump rings I used are 6mm outer diameter, 18 gauge. Any jump ring will work as long as it’s 19 gauge or thicker and is large enough to easily fit over the wire. You can probably use whatever is in your stash. Thanks for your clarifying questions!

  3. Jaime says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for this step-by-step tutorial! I love my A&A bracelets but am also a jewelry designer, myself, so I’ve been curious as to how I could add something similar to my collection. Thank you!

  4. Lillian says:

    What gauge wire are real Alex and Ani bracelets. Are Alex and Ani bracelets ‘memory wire’? I’m trying to mimic original Alex and Ani bracelets, so any info you can provide would be so helpful. Thank you.

    • Lezli Goodwin says:

      Alex & Ani bracelets appear to be made of 12 gauge steel, which is bent with special machinery. Best of luck getting the look you desire!

    • Pamela E. says:

      I have an Alex and Ani bracelet. And I thought they were 12 gauge wire. So I bought 12 gauge wire to try and duplicate them. The 12 gauge wire was a LOT thicker. So I’m thinking NO bigger than 14 gauge but my guess was 16. I’m going to try 16 gauge.

      I see the Alex and Ani bracelets have a “charm” that has a patent number on it. Does anyone know what exactly is patented on the Alex and Ani bracelet? I thought it was the design of the adjustable bangle. But I see so many people duplicating it. Any input would be appreciated.

      • Lezli Goodwin says:

        Thank you for the feedback, Pamela. I’ve seen a couple of different gauges of Alex and Ani bracelets at this point. I do know that working with 12 gauge wire by hand is not fun. That’s why our tutorial went with thinner wire. My understanding is that their patent is for their adjustable bangle design. However, to uphold a patent, the replication has to be exact. Changing the kind of wire (as non of use are working with steel), minor variations such as the omission of the round bead on each end of the wire, etc. all make psuedo-replications non-violators of the patent. Indeed, you can buy very similar bangles online. I would encourage each of us to put our own spin on this trend, so there is no issue.

        • Pamela E. says:

          Thank you, Lezli!! I had no idea!! I had lots of ideas for designs that are close to the Alex and Ani Bracelet but nothing exact. But I was hesitating on putting anything on Etsy for fear I’d be in violation. So this is helpful. I actually thought of a design that I’d never seen, while I was trying to go to sleep last night (of all things!! Lol!). If I didn’t have 80 million other things to do, I would have tried it first thing this morning :-)!

          I ordered some 16 gauge wire last night. I’m anxious to try it. Luckily (or not, depending on how you look at it) the 12 gauge wire I bought was aluminum so it was very easy to be bend. It just doesn’t hold its shape well. I guess that’s something I’ll learn as I go along. I just got into the whole jewelry thing because I was looking for a hobby to take my mind off my chronic pain issues. So I went on Amazon and went click happy, adding stuff to an “untitled” wish list. It was so I could go back later, read up on some things, pick and choose what I wanted. Low and behold, my sneaky husband bought me EVERYTHING on my list for Christmas!! Unfortunately, neither one of us noticed the duplicate metal stamps I put on the list. And some of them won’t let me exchange. So I have to find a place to sell them. Bummer! Lol!

          Thanks again for the tip. I’m looking forward to following the blog and making new friends!

      • May says:

        I have see many different types of these bracelets being made. What might be patented on the A and A bracelets is the type loop. It appears to me that many people have a different loop around their bracelets. Some have an open loop, whereas others may wrap their loops around the wire a couple times. I would advise maybe looking up the A and A bracelets and do a comparison to other bracelets of that type.

  5. Dion Freels says:

    I am trying to duplicate the Alex and Ani Beaded bangle. I am having a hard time with 18g keeping its shape? I went up from 16g to accomodate for the hole in the beads. Is there a specific thpe pf 18g I can use to maintain the shape after it has been stretched open to wear?
    ps. Love your blog. Very VERY informative…

    • Lezli Goodwin says:

      I haven’t sound an 18 gauge wire that holds its shape well enough for this project, which is why I used 16 gauge. You might try using a copper core wire and work hardening the wire by hammering it lightly with a rubber or rawhide mallet. This process works best with copper and sterling silver wires, but a lot of plated wires have a copper core. There’s a chance 18 gauge will hold up if it has been work hardened. Otherwise, you may have to sacrifice working with smaller-holed beads in order to have a higher success rate with the 16 gauge wire. Some clients have tried 14 gauge as well, with mixed success. Let us know how your project unfolds!

    • Pamela E. says:

      I’m still VERY MUCH in the learning process. But what I can tell you is, you can buy different hardness of wire. There’s dead soft, half hard, and I’m not sure what the hardest is called. So far, I’ve only used aluminum 12 gauge and 16 gauge and I’m having the same issue with it holding the shape. You can “work harden” your wire, which I’m still learning how to do. In laymen’ terms, keep straightening and messing with your wire and it’ll get harder.” Lol. I’ve had better luck since getting a few better tools. Nylon tipped straightening pliers and nylon tipped bracelet bending pliers are AWESOME but take some getting used to. I made a bracelet last night, first 1 with the 16 gauge wire using the above pliers and gave it to my daughter. She was shocked at how much better it came out. While it was in my hand, I wasn’t impressed. But as I sat there looking at it on her wrist, I thought “huh, I didn’t do too bad!!” :-)! I think, as I get more and more into it, I’m realizing just how plain the Alex and Ani bracelets are. And how much of a racket they have going when you consider what people pay for them, I had WAY less than $1 worth of materials in the bracelet I made yesterday. And that included 4 charms.

      Good luck. Hope I helped despite being a newbie myself. I started the jewelry making thing because I needed a hobby that could take my mind off chronic pain. If I can get myself started, it helps. But when I hurt really bad, my ever growing box of supplies and tools sit there calling my name while I ignore it and continue moaning. I haven’t created anything worth selling yet but I’d like to since I have no income. I’ve made a couple gifts that included beads as well and those are always prettier. The beads add a lot of beauty. I’ll be interested to hear if you have any luck with the 18 gauge. Cuz my 16 bends all over the place. My 12 does too. But you can tell that’s way too thick. Especially if you want to use beads too.

      Good luck!

      • LouKYMom says:

        Pam, I’ve been making jewelry for some time now. However, I started in much the same manner as you. I have chronic pain as well and needed something or some way to express myself in a creative manner. I’ve always had extremely “logical” type jobs/careers so I felt I used just one side of my brain. Since my condition, I had to quit working and realized I missed being creative as I was all my years through college (until I had to “work” for a living ;-D). I absolutely love being creative through jewelry; however, I have picked up a few other hobbies as well. I do sell my jewelry locally but it’s definitely not a full-time job, it’s not even part-time to be honest. I just don’t have the energy ALL of the time. Good luck with your jewelry making hobby or career. I just had to contact you given our similar situation with chronic pain. Stay well, as much as possible and soft hugs.

        • May says:

          Hello LouKYMom, I am so sorry you suffer from pain, I too suffer debilitating nerve pain, and started making jewelry as a form of therapy while trying to survive lung cancer. I am hesitant to say that 18 gauge wire is too thin for these bracelets. There are many different forms of wire available. I believe stainless is about the strongest, and harder to manipulate. All of the wire I use is either 925 silver, or 14/20K gold filled. There is dead soft, half hard, hard, and I think some sort of spring wire. Obviously, the softer the wire, the more malleable it is. However, even dead soft wire can be work hardened, as well as heat hardened to be as soft, or hard as you need it to be. I also have a tumbler I can put mine in that will help harden the wire. So…it is possible to have an 18 gauge wire hard enough to make a bangle with. And yes, there probably are places you can find pre-made bangles (though I wish I knew where…lol) for less money than you can make them for, but there is nothing better than family members opening a gift from me on Christmas morning that I made with my own two hands. And as far as I’m concerned, these bangles will never go out of style. And I would like to thank Lezli for making this tutorial available for us to enjoy. And what a great job you did on it as well!

  6. Anna says:

    Thanks for the info. Started to make these also, I have five daughters and including myself, we all love them, but it seems like I could get some viable spending cash learning to do this well along with all the jewelry supplies already have. I began with 18 gauge, Made 2 bracelets, and wore those for an evening, and they definitely don’t hold their shape as well as the originals. Ever the beaded one I made with the 18 gauge is passable. I think if I go to 16 gauge, I can get away with doing the beaded ones with that. We’re the ones that are the simple bangle, I’ll be buying those off etsy. There are some dealers selling three for $2.80 each and others with price is close to that. It’s not worth my time to beat that price.

    • Lezli Goodwin says:

      I’m glad you are enjoying making jewelry with and for your daughters! That’s a great family bonding activity. Regarding the bangles, I agree that 18 gauge is generally too soft for regular wear in this context. That said, I’ve had readers comment that they LOVE the 18 gauge bracelets. SO I hesitate to say something “won’t” work, as there are many kinds of wire and that different people seem to have varying degrees of success with the different wires. Indeed there are purchasable simple bangle blanks for sale on various websites. As this is a “How to Bead” blog, we gave the instructions on how to make them yourself. “Go buy them” wouldn’t make a very interesting tutorial! LOL Also, you may note that this tutorial was originally published almost two years ago, long before imitation bangle blanks were widely available. Thank goodness we live in an infinite universe with lots of options!

  7. Amanda says:

    Great tutorial! I’m just curious, if I was to use a premade form purchased at a craft store, would I be able to bead in the same way?
    Thank you 🙂

    • Bailey Ienuso says:

      Thank you!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Unfortunately I’m not sure if the forms from a craft store would work the same way as I’m not familiar with those specific forms.

  8. Amanda says:

    I made a bracket last night using 16guage wire and it isn’t holding its shape. Should I lower my wire gauge?

    • Bailey Ienuso says:

      You certainly can try a thicker gauge of wire! The stability is dependent on the type of wire used, as well as if it is half hard or dead soft. You can also try to work harden your bangle to help it retain it’s shape. Using a traditional hammer will flatten your wire though, so I would suggest using a rubber or rawhide mallet.

  9. Sherry says:

    I first made an adjustable bangle out of memory wire & it is just flimsy. It pulls apart on it’s own when closed. I then purchased 14 gauge Artistic wire making a beaded A&A style bracelet. It is doing the same exact thing as the flimsy memory wire one. It absolutely will not stay closed and falls open about 1/2-3/4″ on each side of the closed loops in the front. Does anyone have any ideas why my bracelets fall open expanding on their own & will not stay closed? Help Please!!

    • Bailey Ienuso says:

      Without seeing the bracelet myself, I would assume it may be an issue of initial wire hardness and/or work hardening. Wires come in dead soft, half hard, and fully hardened wires (like memory wire). Memory wire would not work for a project like this because it has been engineered to be a specific shape. It is incredibly difficult to bend memory wire, which would make creating the bends you need for this project nearly impossible. You can’t really bend memory wire and making the loop to hold the other side of the wire would be really tough. I would assume that you probably weren’t able to make the loop tight enough and that’s why it won’t stay closed.

      For the 14 gauge wire, it would depend on if the wire initially started out dead soft or half hard. If it is half hard it may be too difficult to bend and make the loops (similar to the memory wire). This happens with thick gauge wires. If it is dead soft you would need to work harden it after shaping it to get it to hold its shape.

      Another potential issue is if the weight of the beads you are using is pulling against the wire. You can try using lighter weight beads/charms to see if that helps.

      I hope these help you troubleshoot the issue!! If not you can send me photos and I’ll see if I have any other ideas for you to try.

  10. Marlene Grove says:

    Thank you for sharing this lovely simple design of a bracelet!

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