Originally from India, the bangle style bracelet has spread across the world. It is a timeless and popular piece of jewelry that can be worn on wrists, ankles, or the upper arm. They are also versatile and can be as complex or simple as you’d like them to be.
Check out these simple steps to make your own DIY bangle, or watch our video!
Bangles vs Bracelets?
All bangles are bracelets, but not all bracelets are bangles. Bangles are made from one or two pieces of rigid material and are round in shape. Whereas bracelets are flexible sets of beads/threads/hinged pieces linked together with a clasp at the end to close it.
Bangles come in two main designs: a solid collar or split ring. For this DIY bangle, we’ll be making a split ring. Though you can easily make the collar using this same pattern.
DIY Bangle Material List
Metal Tube – We used 0.25″ diameter Copper tube, though any other round tube can be used. We discuss some of the strengths and considerations of different materials below.
- Anvil – Or other flat surface to hammer on. We used a large chunk of stainless steel round stock
- Some sort of polish – We used Brasso
- A sponge with an abrasive side
- Paper towels
- A file and/or sandpaper
Step 1 – Select and Acquire tube
This step requires the most forethought.
Normally for a project like this, we’d just put a notice at the bottom of the materials list. However, there is enough thought that needs to go into this to warrant its own section.
Firstly, the type of metal you choose will determine how easy it is to work as well as how it reacts to your skin.
Copper and steel will require some sort of clear coat to prevent your skin from tarnishing the metal. Brass doesn’t need it, but it helps. Lastly, aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel don’t need a clear coat.
Next, consider the length and thickness you need. Because bangles are oversized and fit different parts of your body, you need to carefully consider what you want. Measure the circumference of the limb you will wear this on, then add a few inches. Lastly, the thinner the wall of the tube, the easier it will be to work.
Step 2 – File edges
Next, make sure the edges are filed smooth.
The tube will have some sharp edges here, so make sure they are smoothed out and any debris is cleaned off.
Once you have hammered the piece flat in the next step, you might want to file rounded edges for style.
Step 3 – Hammer tube flat
Make sure your hammering surface is flat. Also, make sure that your hammer and tube are cleaned from any debris. This will help make sure that extra scratching or gouges don’t occur.
You will want to keep flipping the piece over as you go, or the tube will start to curl from the impacts.
Step 4 – Bend tube into a circle
This is, without a doubt, the most challenging part of the process. I can personally attest to this.
Having the proper tools is really helpful on this step. Some sort of round piece of material that is roughly the size you want is a lifesaver.
Bend the material around your guide and gently hammer where necessary to get it to stay.
Also, here is where you can make your DIY bangle either a full collar or a split circle. I can say from experience that split circles are a bit easier to make. Additionally, they are a little easier to fit onto your person.
Two things to keep in mind:
1. If you just try to bend it freely with your hands, you will probably get angles and creases. This happens instead of the smoother circle you want. (I admit I had this problem while making this piece.)
2. The metal has some strength and will spring back if you aren’t able to apply enough force to bend it. This is why having something like a thick tube or the rounding spike on a real anvil is extremely helpful.
Step 5 – Polish and seal
Next, take your polish and apply it to the rough side of your sponge. Work the piece until it is nice and shiny.
Now, here’s the part where you decide what to do next. If you want to do extra decoration, such as acid etching or working the piece, do so now. Once you are done with that, or if you are happy with the hammered piece as it is, seal it. Certain metals, such as stainless steel or aluminum, don’t really need this. But copper certainly does. The oils and moisture in your skin will tarnish the piece to a deeper brown color.
If you want that, then cool, don’t bother with the sealant. If you want to keep it shiny though, apply that clear coat now!
Congratulations, you’ve got your own DIY bangle!
Would you like to know more?
Now that you have the basic plans on how to make a DIY bangle, maybe you’d like to embellish it? Check out our post on DIY acid etching, which can easily be applied to this project. Or perhaps you want to do the full collar style but the metal isn’t cooperating? Well, we’ve got information on welding, in case you want to weld it into a complete circle!