Make Your Own Summer Memories Charm Bracelet

Jul 17, 2009

Every Wrist Tells a Story

Have you ever stopped to look closely at someone’s charm bracelet? Have you ever wondered what inspired them to pick certain charms? Maybe they picked them up on vacation. Maybe they all relate to a theme. Maybe it's an eclectic mix of hearts, stars, or flowers.  Or pets.  Or crosses.  Sports.  Peace signs.  Celestial symbols.  Awareness ribbons.  Oh, I could go on and on!

Charm bracelets may be found throughout history. Back in ancient times, some wore the bracelets as amulets to ward off bad luck. Queen Victoria was a big fan of charm bracelets, which created a trend among the European elite. And soldiers coming home from World War II often brought back charms made by artisans near battlegrounds. Today, many artists make charm bracelets that reflect their own personalities and that they’d be proud to wear every day.  Charm bracelets make great conversation starters since everyone has a different story to tell about her bracelet.

Make Your Own Charms

Of course, there’s nothing like making your own charms. They’re a breeze to make with your favorite beads and wire. I particularly like the spiral embellishments that Lea Worcester created for her California Dreaming bracelet, the free project offered today courtesy of Stringing magazine. She not only incorporates fun, beachy charms, but also adds vibrant color reminiscent of summertime with the beads. Lea’s goal was to link to the sight, smell, feel, and ambient sound of the ocean in the bracelet, and I think she accomplished exactly that!

If you’d like to go even further with your skills, like making your own chain for the bracelet, you must check out the new eBook offered by Jewelry Artist: 10 Wire Jewelry Projects: Best of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Volume 1. For instance, the Strata Charm Bracelet by Victoria Lansford involves fusing the chain with a torch and making bezels for the beads.  If you like a more intricate chain, check out Joyce Zborower's Chain Maille Necklace.  Or learn how to make links and dangles with Bryan and Jane Mason's Peacock Link Bracelet.  Each and every project has detailed step-by-step photos and clear, precise instructions, which is very beneficial, especially for someone like me!

The Story Behind My Own Bracelet

I’d like to share with you the story illustrated on my bracelet. There’s a buffalo charm because I am a proud native of Buffalo, New York. I also added a charm of one of my favorite sports teams, the Philadelphia Phillies. (I also believe it’s also a good luck charm, since I wore it to a winning game recently after they had a weeks-long slump!)  Since I’m getting married this year, I chose a silver double-hearts charm with the words “I Do.” The measuring spoon reflects my love of cooking. The guitar and the viola (OK, so it’s probably a violin, but they look very similar!) are the instruments I know how to play. The drama masks are for my hobby of creative writing, particularly screenplays. And the paw print is for my love of animals.

Now you know some fun facts about me.  What does your bracelet say about you? What charms would you select for your bracelet and why? How many charms do you currently have on your bracelet? What is the most creative charm you’ve found in your travels? Post your responses on the website.  I can’t wait to read the unique stories of our Beading Daily readers! 


New Free Project
California Dreaming
Lea Worcester

Create an original bracelet by adding your favorite charms and beads to a piece of chain.  This bracelet is one way that beach lovers can keep the sea close to them, no matter where they are.  Originally published in Stringing Spring 2005.  This project will be free for a limited time.

 


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Comments

LoriF@13 wrote
on Jul 17, 2009 5:56 AM
You've hit on one of my favorite subjects! I've loved charm bracelets since I was a child, and am so thrilled they are back in fashion. I travel on business for my company, and of course for personal pleasure as well....I have visited all 12 Canadian provinces and 23 US states so far, and my goal is to get to all of the US states. One of the souvenirs I LOVE to pick up in the US (they're not common in Canada) is flattened pennies from those machines. They're compact when you're travelling light, not too breakable...and what a fun memento! My current project is a charm bracelet made from all the flattened pennies I've picked up in my travels. Just punch a hole in one end of the pennies, add a jump ring, and voila! a charm! Lori
EdNLiz wrote
on Jul 17, 2009 5:56 AM
Two years ago my husband and I went on a short cruise, our first. The gift shop was having a sale on watches and one was a charm bracelet style (with a small watch pendant as one of the charms) and all cruise themed charms. I thought it would be the perfect souvenir. When I checked the price, it was a lot more than I wanted to spend and it wasn't sterling silver. When I got home, I thought about that for a while and then made my own bracelet. Instead of all large open links, I made mine with 2 knot segments of Byzantine chain maille connected with a larger jump ring link. I found a pendant style watch that was the perfect size for the bracelet and hung it from the center link. Then I hung ocean themed charms (including a cruise ship charm) from the other links. It was all sterling silver and was half the cost of the one I could have bought on the ship. It turned out to be a great bracelet and I get lots of compliments on it when I wear it!
Iluvperles wrote
on Jul 17, 2009 8:07 AM
I too am very happy that charm bracelets are back in style. I've had one since I was a kid that was given to me as a gift and I've added charms over the years. A few of my charms include: diplomas with graduation dates, stop lights for when I got my drivers license, a wise owl given to me by my shorthand teacher for achieving 60 words per minute, a typewriter from a typing teacher for achieving 80 words per minute (of course that was on a manual typewriter); the Disney castle from a trip to Disney in Florida; a Lhasa Apso charm representing a family pet; a camera for my love of photography. Most of my charms are sterling silver as that is what was popular when I got them and I do tend to keep to that way. It might be interesting to start a new bracelet though and my local bead shop recently got in a product that allows you to attach or transfer a picture to metal so it might be cool to make one of those.
MissCat wrote
on Jul 17, 2009 8:30 AM
I have a charm bracelet given to me by my mother and step-father my 16th Christmas. It has my Senior key (added a year and a half later when I graduated high school), a Santa Claus, a mortarboard and a sweet 16 charm. It needs some repair and cleaning (it's older than the hills...actually almost 30 years old) and I would like to add some new charms...ones to represent my grandson and granddaughter, my 3 sons, maybe an elf and leprechaun (my husband is a little person and we dress up as elves and leprechauns at Christmas and St. Patty's Day) and definitely a charm from Lake Tahoe, CA. where we got married this past June!
MonicaS@32 wrote
on Jul 17, 2009 8:48 AM
I have never had a charm bracelet as mother said I would loose it. So now I may create one in beads as I am not adding wire work to my hobbies. I have a few charms that I use for other media such as cats, wine fruits and birds and would love to find an RV, cooking utensils and sewing machine. When we travel I make a journal of the trip and often add small charms or recycled items that have something to do with the region visited.
SarahF@51 wrote
on Jul 17, 2009 9:13 AM
I also created a charm bracelet made up of different small necklace pendants and earings, where I had lost one of the earings. I just love it! My husband bought be all of the pendants, so now I get to wear them all at once.
Roxane@5 wrote
on Jul 17, 2009 10:01 AM
I, too, love charm bracelets. I just counted the other day & have 40 charms! Mom started it for me in 4th grade when she & Dad took me to see the Metropolitan Opera in far away Minnesota. We picked out a harp, my favorite instrument. I grew up out West and Mom would get a charm for any cool place we visited. The last ones she purchased were an engagement ring (with a place for the date) & double wine glasses for my marriage. I picked it up from there. I love a little bear from Yellowstone, who even has foot prints. I've since colleted a piano for my musical kid, a bulldog for my USMC kid and a swimmer for #3 son. I think the flattened penny idea is a good one, something I've also thought of doing on a different bracelet. Mom went with sterling as gold was pricy in the 60s, as it is now! It's a very special thing she did for me, one out of 5 kids. I'll always treasure it.
merrielyn wrote
on Jul 17, 2009 10:06 AM
Love my bracelet. It keeps going in and out of fashion, and when it is in again, I pick up a couple new charms to reflect my current interests. What a chronicle of my life! I really enjoy charms that move. Wheels that turn, a toaster that pops up, a loader on a little tractir that lifts. What fun
on Jul 17, 2009 10:55 AM
I think my bracelets would say i was a little eccentric and sometimes strange...they would be right LOL!
Carly@6 wrote
on Jul 17, 2009 11:14 AM
This is encouraging me to get out my charm bracelet my god-mother started for me as a child. It is gold with a charm w/ my birthdate, a 4-leaf clover, a x-mas tree with gems for bulbs...now I'm curious what the other charm is that I can't remember!! She never did finish it....guess gold got too expensive!! I started a charm necklace for my daughter when she was a child. That's what was in style in her "time"
Jjezewski wrote
on Jul 17, 2009 4:17 PM
Sara, A fellow Buffalonian! Thanks for the inspiration in your article. I recently sold my one and only watch charm bracelet and your article reminded me to make a little something for myself. Perhaps something with beach glass and seashells. :) Joyce from Buffalo
empjcmp wrote
on Jul 17, 2009 9:24 PM
I , too, still have my charm bracelet but don't often wear jewelry. I started making shepherd hook bookmarks but could only use 2 or 3 charms. This made for a lot of bookmarks. Then I got the idea of adding 3 lengths of chain to the bookmark. Now when ever I get a charm, I just add it to my bookmark.
JoseyG wrote
on Jul 17, 2009 11:49 PM
I too love charm bracelets. My mother started my first charm bracelet when I was sixteen, graduation charm, an airplane for my first flight, a license when I got my Drivers license. It was so special to me, I started another when I married and had my three children. This bracelet has a head charm with name and birth date for each of my children and of course back then kids received a picture charm with school photos so I added them, then there is all the activities, basketball, baseball, cheerleading etc. My husband thought it would be great to start one for ourselves and we started a third. The bracelets are so very important to me since my mother and husband both passed away so I now have a bracelet of beautiful memories. I have now inherited my mothers charm bracelets which is another bracelet of memories. I am still building more but for grandchildren now.
Sharon Mc wrote
on Jul 19, 2009 2:41 PM
When I was a teenager my mother started collecting silver charms for me. My parents began travelling a lot together and they would bring me a charm from some of their exotic (and not so exotic locations). I have charms from the Bahamas, Alaska, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia. But one of my favorite charms is one they got me from Colorado--a pinecone. As I got older charm bracelets gave way to charm necklaces, so I put them all on a necklace. After reading this article I would love to make several charm bracelets with themes and beads. I can't wait to start!
on Jul 20, 2009 5:37 AM
Wow, some really nice stories on here. Thank you for sharing them! (Sorry for my delay in responding, I was actually off on Friday when this was published!) Keep 'em coming. I'm happy that I wrote on a topic which touched and inspired so many of you! Thanks, Sara P.S. Hi back to Joyce! Happy to see another WNYer on here! :)
smokey@3 wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 2:39 PM
I've made a charm necklace. I was prompted to use my lost earrings that I loved and didn't want to get rid of the one left. Since that time, I/ve added charms and other found loves. I starts many a wonderful conversation. So, if you don't like braclets becacuse the get in the way, at work? then make yourself a wonderful necklace.
on Jul 26, 2009 8:32 PM
I never really liked charm bracelets--too much bother and they catch on everything--so when i received a sterling bracelet w a few starter charms, I was a bit dismayed. Then I realized I could take one of each of my most coveted strand of beads that I'm hoarding--for what ever potential fantastic project I come up with--and decorate it, and then feel better about making something w the strands bc I'd always have one! And I made another with wrapped loops instead of chain: http://picasaweb.google.com/ensemblepieces/SemiPreciousBraceletsAnklets#5259333427169971826