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4-layer cuff bracelet

Make a bracelet with industrial appeal using items from your local hardware store

Mixing up metals and using mesh adds color and texture to your work, and layering metal adds dimension and style. The biggest challenge in making this casual cuff is measuring everything carefully so all the pieces fit together smoothly. Once you get the hang of it, though, you’ll have a recipe for a dimensional bracelet that won’t take too much time or money to make. Feel free to substitute other materials for your layers to give your cuff a personal look. 

Read the project instructions below, or click here for the free project PDF.

Materials 

  • Copper sheet: 22-gauge (0.6 mm), dead-soft, 6 1⁄2 x 2 1⁄2 in. (16.5 x 6.4 cm)
  • Brass mesh: 3 x 2 in. (76 x 51 mm)
  • Perforated aluminum sheet: 2 1⁄2 x 1 in. (64 x 25.5 mm)
  • Copper wire: 26-gauge (0.4 mm), round, dead-soft, 9 in. (22.9 cm)
  • Brass micro bolts: 4
  • Polymer clay: 1⁄2 oz. (optional)

Additional tools & supplies

  • Metal shears
  • Sandpaper, various grits
  • Bracelet mandrel
  • Rawhide mallet
  • Micro bolt socket wrenches
  • Acetone or nail polish remover
  • Super glue

Suppliers

  • Copper, tools (Rio Grande, www.riogrande.com)
  • Brass mesh, perforated aluminum (Local hardware or craft store)
  • Micro bolts (Micro Fasteners, www.microfasteners.com)
  • Polymer clay supplies (Local craft store)

Toolboxes

Instructions

4 layer cuff bracelet 1
Photo 1
Cut out the metal layers. Use metal shears or a jeweler’s saw with a 4/0 blade to cut (Basics) a 6 1/2 x 1 3⁄8-in. (16.5 x 3.5 cm) piece of 22-gauge (0.6 mm) copper sheet for the cuff. Use shears to cut a 2 5⁄8 x 1 1⁄8-in. (67 x 29 mm) strip of brass mesh for the second layer, a 2 1⁄4 x 7⁄8-in. (57 x 22 mm) strip of the copper sheet for the third layer, and a 2 x 5⁄8-in. (51 x 16 mm) strip of perforated aluminum for the top layer [1].
Tip!
Cut the perforated aluminum so the metal between two rows of holes lies along the horizontal center of the strip. By doing this, you ensure that your aluminum layer will be wired evenly on top of the copper layer. Cut the aluminum a bit larger than the desired final size to allow for filing down the rough edges.

File and sand the metal edges. Round off the corners of all of your metal pieces with a hand file. Sand the entire surface of both copper pieces, starting with 220-grit sandpaper and working through progressively finer grits to 400 grit. Mark the horizontal and vertical midlines on both copper pieces and the brass piece; this will help you align all the layers.

4 layer cuff bracelet 2
Photo 2
Mark and drill lacing holes. Lay the aluminum layer over the copper layer, and center the aluminum so the two rows of perforations straddle the midline on the copper. With a fine-tip permanent marker, mark the copper layer close to the inside edge of each perforation of the aluminum layer [2]. Use a center punch to make a divot at each mark, then drill each divot with a #53 (1⁄16-in./1.5 mm) drill bit. Sand around the edges of the drilled holes to remove any burrs.
Tip!
You’ll eventually drill holes in the corners of the copper layer piece and the brass mesh to hold connecting bolts. Wait to drill these holes until after you have shaped the bracelet layers, so that the holes will align better and the bolts won’t break.
4 layer cuff bracelet 3
Photo 3

Shape the metal. Use a rawhide mallet to shape the copper cuff on a bracelet mandrel [3]. Shape the copper, brass, and aluminum layers in the same way to mimic the curve at the center of the cuff.

Mark and drill guide holes. Make a mark at each corner of the copper layer piece, 1⁄16 in. (1.5 mm) from the edges. Make a divot at each mark and drill all four divots with the #53 (1⁄16-in./1.5 mm) drill bit. These holes will be your guides to mark and drill bolt holes in the other layers.

4 layer cuff bracelet 4
Photo 4

Connect the copper and aluminum layers. Cut a 9-in. (22.9 cm) piece of 26-gauge (0.4 mm) copper wire. Align the aluminum layer on the copper layer. Hold the layers together vertically, with the topmost lacing hole on the left. Thread the copper wire from the back of the copper through the top drilled hole and the corresponding hole in the aluminum grid.

Make a stitch by threading the wire through the next lower hole (diagonally) from the front, bringing the wire end to the back of the copper. Thread the next lower hole from the back as before, and make another diagonal stitch [4].

4 layer cuff bracelet figure 1
Figure 1

Repeat down the length of the layers; your wire stitches should all be in the same direction and your wire end should be at the back of the copper [Figure 1].

To complete the stitched look, thread the wire end through the bottom hole from the back, bringing the wire end to the front as before. Make a stitch by threading the wire through the next higher hole (diagonally) from the front, bringing the wire end to the back of the copper.

4 layer cuff bracelet figure 2
Figure 2

Repeat up the length of the layers; you should now have a neat stitch and both wire ends should be at the back of the copper [Figure 2]. Twist the wire ends together twice behind the copper, and cut them flat so they are not visible.

Mark and drill the first bolt hole. Align the stitched copper layer over the brass mesh. Using one of the drilled corner holes on the copper layer as a guide, make a corresponding mark on one corner of the brass mesh. Drill the mark.

Align the brass mesh over the copper cuff. Using the drilled hole in the mesh as a guide, make a corresponding mark on the copper cuff. Make a divot at the mark on the cuff, and drill the hole. Sand around the holes to remove any burrs.

Tip!
Do not drill more than one bolt hole in the cuff or brass mesh at a time. You will mark and drill each new hole after you have bolted the previous hole. This will ensure that your holes line up correctly.
4 layer cuff bracelet 5
Photo 5
Set the first bolt. Align the stitched copper and aluminum layers on top of the brass mesh layer. Thread a micro bolt through the drilled corner hole from the front, through the copper, then through the brass. Then thread the bolt through the drilled hole in the copper cuff, connecting all the layers. Use a set of micro wrenches to secure the bolt [5], but do not tighten the bolt completely.
Tip!
You want a small amount of give in the bolt so that you can adjust the layers before drilling the second hole. If you tighten it too much right away, your layers may become misaligned.

Drill the second bolt hole. Make sure your layers are aligned, and hold them in place firmly. Using a second drilled corner hole in the copper layer as your guide, drill through the brass mesh and copper cuff layers. Sand the back of the copper cuff to remove any burrs.

At this point, separate the layers as much as you can (with the first bolt still in place), and clean the marker alignment marks off of your metal layers with acetone or nail polish remover. You won’t be able to get in between the layers once the second bolt is set.

Tip!
After your first two bolts are set, your metal layers won’t move, so you no longer need the alignment marks to line up your layers.

Set the second bolt. Thread a micro bolt through the layers from the front, and tighten it as before. Continue to leave a small amount of give in the bolt; you will tighten all the bolts fully after you’ve set all four bolts.

Drill and set the remaining holes. Using the holes in the copper layer as guides, drill through the remaining holes. Sand off any burrs, then set the bolts as before. Once all four bolts are set, fully tighten all the bolts. To keep the nuts from unscrewing with wear, unscrew each nut halfway, dab a tiny amount of super glue onto the bolt threads where the nut will be tightened, and tighten the nut over the super glue. Let the glue dry.

Saw the end of the each bolt flush to the nut. File and sand the bolt ends until they are smooth.

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