Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Memory Wire Bracelets

I decided that for today's post I would do a short tutorial on my favorite type of bracelet - memory wire bracelets.

Memory wire is a very strong, very hard wire which always returns to its original circular shape when pulled out of shape or stretched repeatedly. It comes in a variety of sizes - from ring sized to choker sized - and in a variety of finishes.

The bracelets diameters range from 4.5cm (1.75") which would fit a childs wrist, through 5cm (2"), 5.5cm (2.2") to 7cm (2.75). I initially used 5cm diameter but found them too snug a fit even on my tiny wrists. Now I use 5.5cm memory wire. The beauty of memory wire is that there is no clasp and the bracelets will expand to fit most sizes of wrists whilst staying in a circular shape.

One important thing to invest in before working with memory wire is memory wire cutters, like the ones pictured below. These are cutters designed for memory wire and I found to my cost that if you use ordinary wire cutters, they will get damaged.

To make the bracelet -
1. Decide on how many coils your bracelet will consist of and cut the wire using your memory wire cutters.
2.Turn a loop at one end of the wire with round nose pliers - bring the loop right over to ensure as close a fit to the rest of the wire as possible. After I have made the loop, I squeeze it with flat nose pliers to ensure the loop is tightly closed. This avoids beads moving about on the bracelet.
3. Thread your chosen beads onto the wire.
4. Finish by making a loop with your round nose pliers and squeezing it tightly shut with your flat nose pliers.
It is possible to use endcaps to finish off the loops but I have read these are prone to falling off, so admit I have not used them.

With these bracelets I like to use seed and bugle beads -

silver plated spacer tubes -

or to use the spacer tubes with a focal pattern at the front of the bracelet -

I'm always working with memory wire and would love some suggestions for new colours to work with!


  1. great post ami! if you do fancy trying the memory wire end caps any time, this method works for me: i put an extra large drop of glue onto the end of the wire. then add the end cap (use tweezers, or you'll glue yourself on too!) and hold the cap bead in place for a bit (otherwise it just falls off - rather fiddly). while waiting like this, hold the wire with the end cap up, so you encourage some of the extra glue to slide back down the wire. this will go through the middle of one or two additional beads, thus making the ends *extra* secure :)

  2. Hi Ami,
    I've been bouncing around with the idea of making some memory wire bracelets and your tutorial was so much easier than what I've found! (Guess I've been looking in the wrong places! LOL) I am a huge fan of "rock star-ish" themed jewelry. Colors I would suggest: red, black, & white (clear). =)

  3. oh thanks for that maisy! I may be tempted to try them now

  4. thanks LiveLoveCreate, I will definitely try something in those colours

  5. Great tutorial -- thanks!

  6. Very cool, thanks for sharing!