Making a Bracelet Using Polymer Clay Disc Beads and Copper Wire

Disc Bead Cuff Bracelet

How To Turn Your Focal Beads Into Beautiful Jewelry Pieces … Perfect for Giving:

Today’s photo is of a cuff bracelet featuring large disc beads, stone chips and two gauges of copper wire. It has an open and airy, yet substantial look. Hopefully my mom likes it… because she’s getting this piece of jewelry as a birthday present.

You’ve probably seen similar styled cuff bracelets out there before. I wanted to try it without a whole lot of beads on it so that the disc beads would become more of a focus along with the wire itself.

Heavy 14 gauge copper wire was first bent and shaped to form the main frame work of the cuff. Finer 24 gauge copper wire was used to secure sections where 2 pieces of heavy wire came together in the design.

Then, using a chasing hammer and a steel block, I work-hardened the heavy gauge wire, being careful not to hit or nick the finer wire. This hardening process provides artistic character… and it helps to keep the bracelet from bending and getting out of shape.

Using the 24 gauge copper wire, I then attached and wrapped the disc beads plus the stone chips, to the bracelet frame.

One thing I really like about this bracelet, is how it can be squeezed in a bit to match the size of your wrist.  This makes it so that it’s always just the right size for anyone that wears it.

Crossing my fingers that my Mom likes it. It was designed to go with the convertible copper necklace that I made for her at Christmas time.

What do you think? Would you wear a piece of jewelry like this?

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Joyce R, 24 April, 2009

    I love it! I would definitely wear something like this. It gave me more ideas on things to do with the few beads I’ve made so far. (My husband said, yes, those are nice, but what are you going to do with them?)

  2. Anna Sabina, 24 April, 2009

    I love it too. You have the luckiest Mom in the world, her friends must be jealous. I love how you showed us how to use large disc beads, this is the kind of help I need; how to make really cool beads and work them into a piece of jewelry. Did you get the copper wire from the hardware store? I know you made this suggestion in the past becasue it is cheaper.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 24 April, 2009

    @Joyce: Thanks! I know it can be hard sometimes to visualize your beads in a finished piece. I thought it may help if you all could see how great these larger focal beads can look when they are showcased like this. Once you start making a few projects with your beads, your husband will stop asking what you’ll do with your beads and instead will ask how he can help you sand them! (Possibly wishful thinking, but worth dreaming about!) ;-)

    @Anna: Thank you too! Yes I did get both gauges of copper wire at the hardware store. They have huge spools of bare wire in the electrical department of places like Home Depot where you can get the heavy gauge copper wire. The finer gauge is on small spools along with many other wires, usually in the screws, hinges, nuts and bolts, etc. section.

  4. Maria, 24 April, 2009

    Cindy, I love it! I am currently “getting into” the whole concept of decorative wire jewelry making for my beads and hope to learn as much as I can. You don’t by any chance have any sites to refer us, your students, to learn techniques with wire?

  5. Sue Werner, 24 April, 2009

    Hi Cindy,
    I really like this cuff. I have seen other wire and bead cuffs that are very elaborate and beautiful in their way, but I agree that this design is more “airy” and really shows the focal beads off. I also really like the chips you used as a counterpoint to the larger beads. Elegant! Just a question about your copper 14 guage wire. I bought some recently (could also be 12 guage, don’t really know) but I can’t find a good way to cut it. I’m not strong enough to use my diagonal cutter on it and get a good cut. What did you use?

  6. Cindy Lietz, 25 April, 2009

    @Maria: I love wire working too. I am looking at a few different wire working sites to see which ones I like best. Still in the researching phase so I don’t have any recommendations as of yet.

    @Sue: You could try to find a strong man! ;-) Failing that, try using wire cutters from the hardware store that have longer handles. They give better leverage so it’s easier to cut the wire with. They don’t cut that cleanly though, so you can then file the ends with a metal file or one of those cool cup burr tools for rounding the ends of wires. (Still need to get me one of those!) You could also use a hacksaw to cut the wire if your hands aren’t strong enough to squeeze but it’s more fiddly and takes longer than using wire cutters.

  7. Lois, 28 April, 2009

    Hi Cindy,
    That is simply beautiful. You know how I love copper. Wonderful beads too. They compliment so well.

  8. Cindy Lietz, 30 April, 2009

    Thanks Lois! This kind of bracelet would look cool done in that square copper wire you sell too. You should try making one!

  9. Lupe Meter, 25 May, 2009

    I absolutely love it! I love working with wire, chain, and brass. I think it goes so well with the polymer clay. I have just started to add chain, wire, and brass to mine and I think it gives it a vintage look. Yours is just beautiful!

  10. Cindy Lietz, 29 May, 2009

    Thank you Lupe! I love all the metals with polymer clay. They seem to really suit it.

  11. MJ, 05 June, 2009


    For wire wrapping techniques and design ideas especially for beginners, is a great site.


  12. Cindy Lietz, 08 June, 2009

    Thanks for the reference MJ! I’ve heard that the wigjig tool those guys sell for making jewelry is pretty neat… but I have not had a chance to try it yet.

  13. Nathalie, 30 September, 2009

    Hi Cindy! That’s a really nice bracelet. :)
    I’ve been wanting to try wireworking for a long time now, but when wrapping thinner wires around thicker ones, I can’t seem to stop the thinner wire from warping and twisting unexpectedly. How do you get around this? Thanks :)

  14. Cindy Lietz, 02 October, 2009

    @Natalie: Try and straighten the wire between your thumb and your forefinger, every once in awhile. This may help with the twisting.

  15. Joyce R, 31 January, 2010

    I would love a video tutorial on this bracelet or one similar!

  16. Kat, 11 March, 2010

    Great wire/polymer cuff! Wow, I am discovering some really great stuff around here I haven’t seen before. I guess that’s to be expected—this place is HUGE. Great work, Cindy. You sure do know how to provide inspiration!

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