Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tutorial - Family Tree Bracelet

I've made family tree bracelets for both my Grandma and my Nan as Christmas presents now, so I thought I'd share with you how I go about making them. This is the one I made for my Grandma a while ago.

This is the one I made this year for my Nan, which I'll talk you through. She's rather fond of purple :)

  • Photo frame charms. 6-10, Tibetan silver.
  • Photos. One for each frame. 
  • Assorted of other charms. 
  • Assorted small coordinating beads. 
  • Head pins. For attaching coordinating beads.
  • Chain. Enough for two strands around the wrist plus a little extra for an extension chain.
  • Jump rings. Enough to attach everything.
  • Lobster clasp and ring. One :)
  • Glue. I used my trusty gemstone glue yet again. Is there anything that stuff can't do?!

What to do:
Turn your chain into a basic bracelet
I like using two strands of chain, it just gives it a bit more texture. In my first bracelet I used two different types of chain - thick copper coloured and dainty gold coloured, in this one I used two strands of the same silver chain. Try to pick something aesthetically pleasing because it isn't completely hidden.

Undo a loop at one end of your length of chain and attach it a few centimetres from the other end of the chain, so you end up with a double stranded bracelet with a little extension chain. Attach your lobster clasp to the end of your bracelet that doesn't have the extension chain, and the loop to the base of the extension chain. I also like to attach a little Swarovski crystal or other bead to the end of the extension chain. You should end up with something like this:

To make the Swarovski crystal dangle, I used a soft silver head pin, made a loop and wrapped the excess around the top of the crystal. I forgot to take a photo, sorry :(

Print your photos in the right size
I used 6 frames for the first bracelet and 10 on the second. I wouldn't really use more than 10 myself, but it's totally up to you.When you've decided how many frames to use, you need to actually find some photos ;) I can't really help you here! But I like to make sure I have at least one photo of each immediate family member, sometimes pets too if the person is an animal lover. You could also include pictures of things the person you're making it for likes, like favourite flowers or foods or something.

It's a bit of trial and error working out what photos will look nice and printing them to fit. My biggest bit of advice here is to print them using your printer's draft setting (this uses less ink and is faster) onto scrap or plain paper before printing them onto photo quality matte or glossy paper. I usually put all the mini photos into one large image file so I can print them all at once, and I usually have two or three sizes going at a time when I'm trial printing. I would advise cutting the pictures out and making doubly sure they fit before using photo paper, not just eye balling them.

Also, I like using single tone photos for these. It's up to you what you do, but have a play around with the colour settings in your graphics program and see what you come up with. For the first bracelet I started with sepia tone and modified it to be a bit more coppery, for this one I started with black and white and modified it to be purpley :)

When you're happy, print them on photo paper (glossy, yum!), cut them out and glue them into the frames. I like these Tibetan silver frames, but gold, copper, base metal or any other charms would of course work just as well. Let these dry fully before doing anything else with them.

Attach photo frames to the bracelet
Use jump rings to attach the frames, evenly spaced, to one strand of the bracelet. Should look much like this:

Attach charms and beads to the bracelet
I liked to use charms that reflect the person I'm making the bracelet for, but you could just pick ones that look pretty or fit the theme of your bracelet. For this bracelet I used an assortment of real and glass pearls, glass beads and metal charm in silver, white and purple tones. For this, I placed one purple and one white smallish bead onto a head pin, sometimes with a small silver spacer at the bottom or between the beads. I made a few of these using different bead combinations, but trying to balance the overall colours and look.

Before finishing the head pins, I like to lay out all of the charms and beads and see if I like the balance of the overall piece.


When you're happy with the look, finish your head pin pieces by bending in a loop just above the top bead and cutting off any excess wire. I use round nose pliers for the loop bending, there's lots of tutorials online about how to do this so for now I won't go into detail.

Attach all of your charms and beaded pieces to the still-empty strand of the bracelet. I try to place them so that they fall roughly between the frames.

Viola! You're done. Congratulations :)

Update: I'm now offering to make custom bracelets just like these in my MadeIt store!


Glenda/MidSouth said...

Very pretty - you did a great job on them. What a treasure to have. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Rissa said...

Thanks so much! It's my pleasure to share :)

Alison said...

How pretty!

Rissa said...

Thanks Alison! :D

Alison said...

These are gorgeous! Do you take custom orders? I smell an Etsy shop idea....

Thanks for linking up to Fridays Unfolded this week!


Stuff and Nonsense

Rissa @ Hazel and Honeysuckle said...

Thanks so much! I offer custom bracelets at my MadeIt store, :)

I have a [long abandoned *blush*] Etsy store too, so could always put a custom listing in there if it suited someone better. I had trouble getting established there when I couldn't compete with U.S. locals for shipping on most things - lol!

Donene said...

What a nice gift! and thanks for the great tutorial!

Rissa @ Hazel and Honeysuckle said...

I'm glad you like them! :D

kim c said...

Spotted you at Craft Envy. This is gorgeous. What a wonderful keepsake.

Rissa @ Hazel and Honeysuckle said...

Thanks so much Kim!

Brooke Douglass said...

very very cute!!! I am your newest follower and hope that you will come be a follower at my blog!!! brooke
Girl Boy Girl Inspired

Rissa @ Hazel and Honeysuckle said...

Thanks so much Brooke! I'm heading to your blog to check it out right now!

AllieMakes! said...

This is SO cute!! I love that you made the pics more purple!!
You should come link this up to my weekly Thursday through Sunday Making It With Allie Link Party! I think it would make a Fabulous addition!

Rissa @ Hazel and Honeysuckle said...

Thanks so much Allie, I'm glad you like it! I'll definitely link up!

AllieMakes! said...

I just love this! I am glad you came by to link it up! I am getting the stuff to make one of these for my daughter's teacher!
Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!

Rissa @ Hazel and Honeysuckle said...

That's awesome Allie, if you happen to think of it, I'd love to see a picture when it's done!

Wendy said...

This is great, such an original idea.

Victoria ObSEUSSed said...

Beautiful. That is such a wonderful personalized gift that took a long time to make. I've tried making one with my 3 kids on it but is is not as beautiful as this. This inspires me to make a cuter one for my mom. Thanks!

Rissa @ Hazel and Honeysuckle said...

Thanks for the lovely comments! If you do make one Victoria, I would love to see how it turns out! Happy creating! :D

Julie (Legacy Crafter) said...

That is really a special bracelet. Real keepsake. Love it!

Have a nice weekend,

Margo said...

These are gorgeous!

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