Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Double DEMO!: Part 2, Recycled Bicycle Inner Tube Bracelet


You will need: bicycle inner tube, StazOn Opaque stamping ink, rubber stamps, scissors, masking tape, snap setter, snaps

Visit Part One of this DEMO for information on where to find materials and tips on preparing your recycled bicycle inner tubes for jewelry-making. This is also one of the many techniques I cover in my found object jewelry-making class, Junk Drawer Jewels.

Start by picking out some fun rubber stamps - I tend to like ones that create textures, broad patterns, or have an image that can be easily repeated, like these birds (and the swirls that appear later on) from the Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz collection.

To start, take your clean piece of rubber and make sure it's big enough to fit around your wrist with about an inch of overlap. You want it to be a little loose - tight rubber is generally not that comfortable (unless you're into sweaty wrists!). I find that starting with a piece that's about 3" wide and 8"-9" long works very well. Tape it down to your stamping surface using masking tape. Stretch it a bit to get it to lay flat. For my stamping surface, I use a piece of friendly foam stapled to cardboard - fancy! Ink up your stamp with StazOn Opaque ink, and stamp away! Tip: The interior of the inner tube will provide a smoother stamping surface, but the exterior is generally a darker black, leading to higher contrast. You can also stamp both sides for a reversible bracelet!

The ink will take about 5 minutes to dry. Once it's dry, trim the edges and get a good fit around your wrist. Remember that you'll want about an inch of overlap.

Now, get your snap setter ready to go! I recommend using Dritz prong snap size 25, Snap Source prong snap size 16, or other similarly sized snaps. Instruction for setting the snaps will be included in the package.

Details: There will be four pieces that make up each snap - two pieces that form the male, bottom, or attaching part of the snap; and two pieces that form the female, top, or attaching part of the snap. The female, or top, part of the snap will be the part with the decorative cover. The two parts of the male snap and the two parts of the female snap each sandwich one part of the material that you will be connecting. If that was confusing, here's a nice snap tutorial - I'm using the ones with prongs!

I start by putting in the male, or bottom, parts of the snap on first. You will want the little "stud" that forms the snap connection to be on the same side of the rubber as the image.

Once your snap parts are in the setter, position the snap setter on the rubber and squeeze to set the male, or bottom, snaps on the bracelet!

Do this twice, and you have two male, or bottom, parts of the snap attached to your bracelet! Now, you want to attach the snap tops.

Now, wrap the bracelet around your wrist to get a feel for how much you want it to overlap for a good fit. Take it off, close it up, and use the studs from the snap bottoms pressing into the overlapping rubber to mark where the snap tops need to go. As you set up your snap setter, you will want the decorative part of the snap to be on the topside, or decorated side, of the rubber bracelet. Tip: You can use a silver Sharpie to make visible marks for snap placement, as well as to add freehand decoration to the bracelet!

Center your loaded snap setter over the marks you've made, squeeze, repeat, and you have closure!

Next, trim the corners so that they're rounded and don't poke you as you wear the bracelet.

And you're done!

Option: You can also tape the rubber down to a cutting mat and cut patterns out using a very sharp craft knife, as I did with the bracelet in the center.

Now, go to Part Three of this DEMO for ideas on using these techniques to make earrings!


gl. said...

man, i love these bracelets! the cutout ones really look fab, but the stamped ones have a lot of coolness for very little effort!

Bridget said...

Hee hee - you know I am all about the instant gratification!!

david said...

Hi Bridget

I like your page about making bracelets from bicycle inner tubes. It is so creative!

I have a private website about Bicycles and Bicycling. I have added a link to your post from my page about Bicycle Bracelets.

I hope you agree..

Thank you for your lovely blog.


Dionne said...

Wow! this is very economical. I like the idea, very creative. Thank you.