Tips For Sizing Your Beaded Bangle Bracelets

Jun 27, 2014

After making a few beaded bangle bracelets from projects in Beadwork magazine, I realized that I'd fallen in love with the technique of making beaded bangle bracelets using peyote stitch and brick stitch. So many possibilities! So many ways to embellish that beaded base with netting or right-angle weave! But unlike other bracelet making techniques, sizing your bangle bracelets can be a little tricky, because, let's face it: no one likes to tear out rows and rows of bead-weaving when they discover that they've made a bangle bracelet that's the wrong size.

Sizing those bracelet making projects must be something that a lot of people struggle with, because I found three blogs here on Beading Daily by me, Jean Campbell, and Michelle Mach, all about ways to size you bracelets. The great thing about bracelet making, I think, is that it's such a personal form of jewelry. For some reason, it feels as though it's so much easier to size a necklace than a bracelet, right? But I just can't put my finger on why that is. (If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them through a comment here on the blog!)

I asked a couple of my beading friends how they measure and size their wrists for beaded bangles, and Cynthia Newcomer Daniel provided me with some great basic instructions:

Wrap your tape measure around the thickest part of your hand, with your thumb positioned as shown in the photo. Wrap the tape firmly, but not too tightly; you should be able to move the tape on your hand, as if it were a bangle bracelet.

My hand measures just over 8.25 inches; to make the bangle easy to slide on and off, I make my bangles with a circumference of 8.5 inches.

Bead artist and author Paulette Baron also suggests that once you have your measurement, you draw a circle (use a compass to get an accurately sized circle) so that you can match up the inside diameters of the beaded bangle. Remember, it's the inside diameter that counts with these types of bracelet making projects -- you want them to fit snugly over the knuckles so that they can be taken on and off, but so that they don't just fall off your wrist or get in the way of performing everyday tasks while you're wearing the finished bracelet.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my new beading tools wish list, and because I'm enjoying making my beaded bangles so much, I splurged and spent a few dollars on a metal bangle sizer from Cool Tools, and it's turned out to be a worthwhile investment -- I'm using it to both measure my wrist before I start stitching and to check the size of my beaded bangle base before I start to add my beaded embellishments. And it's not just great for bead-woven bangles, it also works well for my wire bangle bracelet projects, too!

Do you need a little inspiration for your bracelet making projects? Take a look at the incredible jewelry designs in our new special issue, Creative Jewelry: 101 All-New Designs for Bracelets, Necklaces, and Earrings. These exciting all-new jewelry-making projects use lots of the newest beads, findings, and components that you can find at your local bead shop, plus lots of ways to dive in to your stash and use up old favorites. Best of all, you can choose from either the print or digital edition, so you can download your copy right onto your favorite desktop or laptop computer and be beading in just minutes! Get your copy of Creative Jewelry: 101 All-New Designs for Bracelets, Necklaces, and Earrings and find new ways to play with your jewelry designs!

Have you tried making beaded bangle bracelets yet? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your stories, tips, and techniques with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

terryvdp wrote
on Jun 27, 2014 9:20 AM

Would love to try to make a few beaded bangle bracelets in peyote and ladder stitch, but I think that I have missed the patterns. I don't have any instructions as to how to do this.

regards

Terry

beadles_az wrote
on Jun 27, 2014 10:06 AM

I am looking for a pattern for stitching beads around a skinny bangle bracelet..peyote, brick, RAW. Any suggestions?

PatriciaG@51 wrote
on Jun 27, 2014 12:12 PM

Beadles_az- Lisa Kan has a terrific pattern that I made years ago for my daughter. I'm sure you can still get it from her website.

I haven't made others as I have very small wrists and am bad at estimating size. I may have to find room in our budget for this new item from Cool Tools! Thanks for the link.

on Jun 28, 2014 4:15 AM

Maybe making bangles for oneself is more difficult than necklaces because we only have one free hand to do the measuring and adjusting.  With necklaces we have both hands to make adjustments and measurements.  

I don't know about you, but my hands are different in size by about 1/4" and it is more difficult to adjust a right hand bangle with only my left hand.   Hmmm, maybe we do need those extra hands and arms like the India Indian statues show.  I sure could use extras every once in a while.

Thank you for the tips on measuring and making a template.

BeadsNWire wrote
on Jun 28, 2014 5:09 PM

Thanks so much for the tips, Jennifer! I have been sitting here with my two sets of beads to make the "Dragon Bangle" that was published in one of the beading mags a couple of years ago. For the project, the bracelet is sized at approximately 8", and I only have a 6" wrist, so I have held off on the project until I could determine exactly what size to make mine. Thanks to your post, I now know. Great timing! Much appreciated! :D

the dragon wrote
on Jul 1, 2014 3:53 AM

Hi,  I think I find it easier to size a necklace because I have both hands free to measure whereas when I'm trying to size a bangle I'm doing it one handed.   I find bangles difficult to wear as I have severe arthirtis in my hands so I find it difficult to tuck my thumb in to put it on, but if I make it bigger it slides down my hand and is really annoying when I'm trying to bead.  If anyone has any suggestions how I can overcome this problem I would be very grateful.  Kay

BeckyP@18 wrote
on Jul 14, 2014 10:44 AM

My comment on sizing bracelets is this: necklaces can have some variance in size but bracelets are sized by the 1/4" so they need to be more exact and therefore they are harder to size.