As I've mentioned before, the fiance and I have visited Newport, RI almost every year for the past 9 years. Some may think its about time to find a new vacation spot but for us it never gets old. Yes we run into some of the same people and yeah nothing new (in terms of retail) has really popped up over these years. But one major change has been the ever increasing Alex and Ani store. What was once a very small location sandwhiched between a souvenier shop and great little boutique that carries a decent sized Ralph Lauren selection for men blossomed into two level boutique (year 4 or 5) and has now taken over the sovenier shop and half the retail space of the boutique. Its absolutely amazing and wrist after wrist all you see is an Alex and Ani. Its pretty much like the new Pandora.
Intrigued the first time I came across the store, I wandered in only to wander right back out after seeing how beautifully simple the bracelets were and how scary the prices were on a few of my favorites. Now I know they aren't Tiffany's prices and I'm pretty sure some of those heavily charmed Pandora bracelets cost about 30 Alex and Ani's but for me it just didn't seem fair and once I returned home to my needle nose pliers and wire cutters, I got right down to business. (DIY after the jump)
w h a t t o b u y :
- Jewelry Wire - preferebly the smaller, memory wire coils for bracelets but any jewelry specific wire will do that. You just want to make sure that the wire itself if rigid and not that maleable
- Wire cutters
- Assorted jewelry charms
- Assorted beads and seed beads
- Round needle nose pliers
- A round cylinder to shape the wire to - just incase or if you didn't pick up the bracelet memory wire
- Small jump rings
w h a t t o d o :
- With all your supplies handy, find one of the ends to the wire coil and snip off about a coil and half.
- Slightly pinching the meeting point of the coils, slip it over your hand making sure that
1. Its a good fit for your wrist (if its a little big thats fine) and
2. As it goes over your fist there is a bit of excess wire on either side of the pinch. The main idea of the bracelet is it's adjustable size. It can only work if there is enough give so it can open as you put it on but it still has to snap back to a comfortable fit once on your wrist.
- Got the right size after one cut? Great. If not, no biggie. Just cut again.
- With the right size you can now begin making the loops that allow the bracelet to grow and shrink.
- Using your round needle nose pliers, take one of the overlapping ends and bend the wire crossing it back over the main coil
- Create a small but loose loop over the main coil. Make it's not to tight or it will not stretch or shrink easily
- Next take the other loose coil end and repeat.
- Add your charms and wear out
But don't just stop with these.
- Cut off a larger piece of wire...at least 2 coils.
- String along some cool beads whether creating a color blocked pattern or mix it all up.
- Leave at least a 1/2 inch of plain wire on either side.
- Create the loops over the part of the wire like before and wear them all out together with your other favorite arm party essentials.
Trust me this one is addictive and before you know it you will have enough wire bangles to open your own store.
If you aren't a fan of free roaming charm, there are a couple of tricks you can do to keep the bad boy contained and always visible
- attach it to one of the adjusting loops
- attach it to the wire in between the two adjusting loops
- add a very small amount of super glue to the area where you would like the charm to live and position the connecting jump on it. Allow it to dry and your charm should stay in place
- After cutting your desired amount of wire and using your round nose pliers create a small loop within the coil using the excess wire to wrap around the pliers. Once the loop is made you will notice that the wire will still have its curve but the newly formed loop lives facing towards the inside of the bracelet. You want it to face the outside so the charm still hangs unobstructed. Holding the coil steady, use your needle nose pliers to reposition the loop to the outside. Some reshaping of the bangle's curve may be needed.