paper-covered bangle tutorial

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I spied similar bangles at Anthropologie this season. Only their versions were wider and covered with initials (all A’s, all B’s, etc.), perfect for pairing with a variety of outfits due to their neutral color scheme (and a coy play on the initial trend a few years back). So I decided to try making a similar bangle for myself, only I used what papers I had lying about which happened to be sheet music dating from the mid 19th century. Its certainly a versatile craft though! I hope you’re inspired by this project as much as I was. Be sure to let me know if you make something similar–I’d love to see it!

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The supplies are simple: an inexpensive plastic bangle, a stack of old papers*, water-proof glue (I use Mod Podge) or decoupage medium, paintbrush, scissors and clothespin.
*These could be anything from old telephone books, sewing or knitting pattern instructions, outdated catalogs, photocopies of antique or vintage photographs, pages from an old poetry book, old textbook pages… The possibilities are endless!!

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Cut the paper into 3/8” to 1/2” wide strips. Any wider is unwieldy to wrap around the curve of the bangle. Cut more than you think you’ll need! I’m doing another music-theme bangle here, being sure to cut the stripes so I can utilize the design of the notes and bars.

Alternatively, you could cut small squares/rectangles (again, about 3/8”x3/8”, depending on the width of your bangle) and layer those on as opposed to wrapping strips of paper. I think this method might be best suited to larger-scale designs.

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Brush a generous amount of the glue on a small section of the bangle.

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Be sure to cover the inside too!

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Place the first strip on the inside (I tend to rip the ends as I find glue+scissors+sticky fingers=mess!).

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Begin to wrap, covering the previously wrapped section with more glue as you go. The idea is to get everything covered, saturated with glue so that it all sticks together. Its tricky to manage, and you will get your fingers covered with glue! Once you get in the rhythm, it is easier.

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The first strip wrapped. I sometimes wrap complete strips, other times just pieces I rip off as I wrap that are much shorter. It depends on the size of the section to be covered, how well the paper is responding conforming to a 3D shape and how much the glue is soaking into the paper and making it pliable.

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Starting another strip. Remember to cover the previous wrapped paper with a little glue so it all sticks together!

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Once you’ve covered the bangle, make sure you don’t have any small gaps or want to add any further paper. I’ve found once you get around the entire bangle, the section you started with is dry enough to clip between the ends of a clothespin. I prop the opposite end of the clothespin over the edge of a jar to use as a stand while its drying.

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When that is dry, you need to seal the piece. I do this by covering the entire bangle, except for the area that is clipped, with a thick coat of glue (really glop it on!). Let it dry, move the clip to another spot and repeat this another 5 times. Tedious, yes, but I’ve found that its easy to just pop in and do a coat every hour or so throughout the day. Once the last coat of glue is on, you need to let it harden for a few days, as I found initially the glue was still a little “soft” in places and dented easily. After about 48 hours (propped up with the clip so it doesn’t get accidentally hit), it should be ready to go!

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The finished bangle on my wrist (layered with another bracelet, this looks great with a long strand of pearls wrapped around the wrist, gold chains–just about anything!).

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Also, if you are inspired to make your own bangle, I’d love to see your version of it! Post a link to your pictures here or drop me an email (just replace “at” with @). I’m sure you all can come up with so many creative variations!! Enjoy!