DIY Adjustable Wire Bangles

2012-08-19 11.58.50

Its Sunday and between creating the wedding invitations with the help of Photoshop (that oh so unfamiliar program on my laptop) and preparing for another round of overnight floor moves, I’ve been somewhat preoccupied.  But that doesn’t mean I have nothing to share.  Today I have an older DIY post that is actually quite fitting as many of us prepare for Spring.  What better way to adorn those limbs of yours that have been covered these past months than with some fancy new wire bangles?  Check out the tutorial below and get to it…the possibilities are really endless with this one.


As I’ve mentioned before, the fiance and I have visited Newport, RI almost every year for the past 9 years.  Some may think its about time to find a new vacation spot but for us it never gets old.  Yes we run into some of the same people and yeah nothing new (in terms of retail) has really popped up over these years.  But one major change has been the ever increasing Alex and Ani store.  What was once a very small location sandwhiched between a souvenier shop and great little boutique that carries a decent sized Ralph Lauren selection for men blossomed into two level boutique (year 4 or 5) and has now taken over the sovenier shop and half the retail space of the boutique.  Its absolutely amazing and wrist after wrist all you see is an Alex and Ani.  Its pretty much like the new Pandora.
Intrigued the first time I came across the store, I wandered in only to wander right back out after seeing how beautifully simple the bracelets were and how scary the prices were on a few of my favorites.  Now I know they aren’t Tiffany’s prices and I’m pretty sure some of those heavily charmed Pandora bracelets cost about 30 Alex and Ani’s but for me it just didn’t seem fair and once I returned home to my needle nose pliers and wire cutters, I got right down to business.
w h a t  t o  b u y :
  • Jewelry Wire – preferebly the smaller, memory wire coils for bracelets but any jewelry specific wire will do that.  You just want to make sure that the wire itself if rigid and not that maleable
  • Wire cutters
  • Assorted jewelry charms
  • Assorted beads and seed beads
  • Round needle nose pliers
  • A round cylinder to shape the wire to – just incase or if you didn’t pick up the bracelet memory wire
  • Small jump rings
w h a t  t o  d o :
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  • With all your supplies handy, find one of the ends to the wire coil and snip off about a coil and half.
  • Slightly pinching the meeting point of the coils, slip it over your hand making sure that
                                              1. Its a good fit for your wrist (if its a little big thats fine) and
                                              2. As it goes over your fist there is a bit of excess wire on either side of the                                                           pinch.  The main idea of the bracelet is it’s adjustable size.  It can only work                                                                                              if there is enough give so it can open as you put it on but it still has to snap                                                            back to a comfortable fit once on your wrist.
  • Got the right size after one cut?  Great.  If not, no biggie. Just cut again.
  • With the right size you can now begin making the loops that allow the bracelet to grow and shrink.

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  • Using your round needle nose pliers, take one of the overlapping ends and bend the wire crossing it back over the main coil
  • Create a small but loose loop over the main coil.  Make it’s not to tight or it will not stretch or shrink easily
  • Next take the other loose coil end and repeat.
  • Add your charms and wear out

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But don’t just stop with these.

  • Cut off a larger piece of wire…at least 2 coils.
  • String along some cool beads whether creating a color blocked pattern or mix it all up.
  • Leave at least a 1/2 inch of plain wire on either side.
  • Create the loops over the part of the wire like before and wear them all out together with your other favorite arm party essentials.

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Trust me this one is addictive and before you know it you will have enough wire bangles to open your own store. Also if you want to glam up the bangles a bit head on over to my other DIY adjustable wire bangles tutorial for some more fun.
***DIY Notes***
If you aren’t a fan of free roaming charm, there are a couple of tricks you can do to keep the bad boy contained and always visible
  • attach it to one of the adjusting loops
  • attach it to the wire  in between the two adjusting loops
  • add a very small amount of super glue to the area where you would like the charm to live and position the connecting jump on it.  Allow it to dry and your charm should stay in place
  • After cutting your desired amount of wire and using your round nose pliers create a small loop within the coil using the excess wire to wrap around the pliers.  Once the loop is made you will notice that the wire will still have its curve but the newly formed loop lives facing towards the inside of the bracelet. You want it to face the outside so the charm still hangs unobstructed.  Holding the coil steady, use your needle nose pliers to reposition the loop to the outside.   Some reshaping of the bangle’s curve may be needed.

39 thoughts on “DIY Adjustable Wire Bangles

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I love Alex and Ani as well, but can’t deal with the prices. Your blog looks interesting and I look forward to exploring it. Thanks again😉

  2. Pingback: Adjustable fashion bangles - Creative Mind and Hands

    • 16 or 18 gauge wire works the best but if you use memory wire (which will help avoid the loss of shape during use) for bracelets you could get away with a higher gauge because that wire will be extremely rigid.

      Thanks for checking out my DIY!!!

    • I would try Michaels or Joan Fabrics. They have selection of various wire gauges so you can see which one you would prefer. Also give Etsy a try. Many sellers there actually make their own and you would be supporting a new artist.

    • 16 or 18 gauge wire works the best but if you use memory wire (which will help avoid the loss of shape during use) for bracelets you could get away with a higher gauge because that wire will be extremely rigid

      Thanks for checking out my DIY!!!

  3. thank you for your response. I cannot find memory wire @ 16/18 gauge. I used aluminum wire but it does not hold shape. Suggestions?

    • Although a few of these Etsy sellers did not list the wire by gauge, any one of the options below would work perfectly and give you the rigidity you need to make the bracelet. I, too, originally tried this with aluminum wire and had the same problem. Let me know if you need anymore help.




      • Omg i can’t wait to do this project. Do you have a video on how you did this? If so could you please post it.. I really want to watch you do just one.. Thanks Therese

      • I’m glad you liked the project and do send pictures of your bracelets when your done. I’d love to see them!!! Unfortunately I do not have a video for this DIY but I will keep the thought in mind for my next one.

  4. I’ve made my own: comparing wire gauge side by side to Alex and Ani – I actually think it’s 14 gauge. I needed 10.5 inches to get as close to an actual Alex and Ani. This is before seeing your DIY. Your technique made it look so much easier to do. I’m going to try it your way next time. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I bought the memory wire 16 gauge at Michaels but isn’t strong, what kind of wire could I buy to get a close look like the Alex and anni bracelets, their wire it’s really strong which I like… I like your technique but I can get a good wire, pls help me, and thanks for share with us…

  6. I’m so happy to find this. Your instructions are fabulous. I have a bracelet mandrel (just so I can buy more wire @ once)….I’m definitely going to try the memory wire….I will be in touch XO ***BTW, We spend part of our summers in Newport, too😉

  7. love your tutorial. Are you familiar with the Alex and Ani bracelets? This is like theirs! My question is, what gauge wire do you recommend? Your’s looks thicker than memory wire. Memory wire is very hard to bend and cut. Is there a different type of wire that works?

    • It was either 20 or 24 gauge memory wire and yes it is difficult to bend but when making these bangles you really want something that will continually hold its shape. Most of the other wire is aluminum and way to soft for constant stretching. Etsy and a few other websites online offer various gauge memory wire if your local craft store doesn’t. For better handling of the memory wire try using regular flat nose pliers and wire cutters found in the hardware section and with the pliers just wrap them with a thin soft cloth to avoid damaging the wire.

  8. Thank you for your tutorial!! I am serious!! THANK YOU!! I’m a huge Alex & Ani fan but this holiday season I am trying to be a creator and not a consumer. I bought Silver Plate 16 gauge silver (1.3 mm) from Amazon yesterday using my Prime account and received it today. The brand is “Artistic Wire” it was 10ft and it cost me $9.52 which I thought was a good deal. I think I may also try the 18 gauge version of this wire sometime. Your photos look like 18 but photos can be deceiving. Your bracelets are quite beautiful. I am going to grab a few cans of food in my cupboard to create a nice smoothe roundness. I love everyone’s comments. Hearing from other people and their experiences and ideas is always very helpful when learning a new hobby.

    • So glad the tutorial was helpful and good luck making the bracelets. Be careful, this DIY is addicting but I’m sure everyone will love them if not more than the Alex & Ani ones. Hand made gifts are always the way to go!!

    • I did but when I noticed that I re looked at the loops and tried to get them as close to flush as possible. You could also try filing down the ends with a bit if fine grain sandpaper. Open the loop a bit to really sand down the cut end and then re close the loop.

      • Thank you for your awesome and quick response! I’m thinking of doing a bunch of these for fundraising “grab bags”. I think they would be a fun find. Thank you, thank you!

  9. This is what I have been looking for! Great DIY! I have been trying to find the right wire not only sturdy enough but also Non tarnishing! Do you have any suggestions?
    What brand and kind did you use?
    Thank you!!

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