Do You Need A Bracelet Mandrel For Jewelry Making?

Do You Need A Bracelet Mandrel For Jewelry Making?

If you make jewelry you may have
wondered if you really could use a bracelet mandrel and if so what kind
wood or metal, tapered or stepped? In today’s video I’m going to go over the
pros and cons of all those options. Hey there creative people, Sandy here, welcome
to another Friday findings video at The nice folks at
Beebeecraft sent along these two bracelet mandrels for me to show you and
tell you all about – these happen to be both wood mandrels and as you can see
they are a rather different in style – this one is tapered with a smooth side
and this one is stepped, so these from lip to lip have parallel sides whereas
this is tapered all along its entire length and they have both have pros and
cons. I will say I wasn’t real impressed with this one from Beebeecraft,
it came with a chip and then there was like a sticker on there I don’t know, it
looks like it has been removed I’m sure a little Goo Gone will take care of that -they
both have a light satin finish on them. Now these are both round as you can see
they do make oval mandrels which may fit better and help your bracelets
from keep your bracelets from flipping around but if you’re selling people
usually expect bracelets to be round unless it’s a cuff bracelet. So the
benefits of having a wooden mandrel over a steel one is that steel ones are heavy
and if you spend a lot of time working on them you may get fatigued – you’ll
probably need some way of holding it – the wooden ones are of course less heavy but
you can’t hammer on them nearly as aggressively as you can on the steel
ones these ones you could put something like one of my copper bangles on and
then hammer on that lightly maybe to get it back into shape because it seems to
be quite not round at the moment just from me wearing it so you could form
bracelets and you can do light hammering on the wood – it will get dented and
dinged I can actually can just I’m using this right now to just kind of reshape this bracelet back to more of the round shape –
you could definitely hammer on it like I said lightly
you can’t wale away on it like you can on a metal mandrel and really create some
serious texture or do a major amount of shaping – so that’s something to keep in
mind is the kind of work you’re doing. Now when working on a tapered mandrel if
you’re doing something with any width to it probably anything wider than this
you’ll want to keep flipping your piece around because otherwise you’re going to
build a taper into it – that’s the benefit of a stepped mandrel that you don’t have
to do that however you can see right here the limitations of a stepped
mandrel is that you only have certain sizes – you only have these specific sizes
to work with and you can’t get the increments – one thing I did with this
stepped mandrel as soon as I got it I got out a tape measure and a sharpie and
I wrote them dimensions that I have on here. Now as far as bracelet making these
are pretty good dimensions for all the different sizes, down from a men’s a fairly large bracelet down to a child’s and if you’re forming something
on this one because these sides are parallel and not tapered you don’t have
to worry about your piece not being parallel. So what kinds of things can you
do with either of these? Well, you can use them for sizing. I’ll talk more about
that in a minute, you can use them for designing just to see you know how is
something going to look in the round, you can use it to make wire work frames in
sizes, if you need a circle that’s a certain size you can use this or this
depending on what you need. And by the way if you have these measurements here
and you want a circle that’s a certain diameter – say you’re making a wire frame
for something – all you have to do to figure that out is divide this number by 3.14 so let’s say this six-and-a-half
divided by Pi. So this one is gonna give you just a
slightly more than two inch diameter circle and you could even do that if you
do more wire forming than bracelet making you could write those numbers on
here as well and then you’ll always have them. Now you can use these to form metal
but you can form other things, you could use these for polymer clay or metal clay –
what you’d want to do is make a sleeve of paper that would go over your form
over your mandrel to protect it from the clay and the clay from it and then you
can shape things on the piece of paper on the mandrel. Now these don’t have a
tang on the end which is a block of wood you can see it here in the picture that
you use for holding your mandrel in a bench vice or another holder – now if
you hold it in a bench vise that can be problematic because it only stays in one
direction and if you’re working on a bracelet you’re probably gonna want to
turn it around and work around and around so they do make some pretty cool
holders for those. So the benefits of each: well for the tapered you can make
bangles around so you can slide something down like I was doing and get
it back in to round and you have finer increments of size, if there’s a size you
work with all the time you can use a sharpie and draw a line around at that
point so that you always have it as a reference – the benefits of the stepped are
that they’re good for planning like a multi strand bracelet so that you know
that each is the same length – another thing you can use this for is as a photo
prop, it actually looks really nice you just throw a few bracelets on there and
it’s a great way of displaying bracelets or even necklaces or other things
without having your hand in there and your wrist and having… it’s kind of
awkward to take a photo of your own wrist – photos taken this way give more of
a feel of that this is something that would be worn on a wrist. I wouldn’t buy
one of these just for that but it’s certainly a good use. Now these mandrels
were both $11.89 at Beebeecraft and if you buy
stainless-steel ones although of course they’re going to last longer be more
durable you can do more hammering and work on them, you can solder on them
which I wouldn’t recommend on these, the stainless steel mandrels can be $30-$40
dollars and up depending on the size and the brand and they also come in tapered
and stepped also this tapered one gives you a little bit more of a range from
end to end – the taper is at the very smallest up here four and five eighths
in diameter and that the widest down here is nine inches in diameter so if
that’s important that’s something to keep in mind, and of course it again it
depends on the brand that you purchase. One of my favorite things though about
using a mandrel like this is getting sizes right and I’ll show you what I
mean. Sizing can be tricky with bracelets
because you can have two bracelets and if they are different thicknesses they
need to be different lengths – these two bracelets, this little gold charm
bracelet and this one, I did a video showing how to make this I’ll link that,
fit me exactly the same – however this one is about an inch and a half
longer and that’s because it really isn’t the length that matters in sizing
a bracelet, it is the inside diameter – because if you think about it you’re
making it to fit around a round or oval shape and so what matters is what is in
here and if you have something very thick, if you have very thick beads or a
thick cord then you need more length in order to get the inside diameter that
you need. So I’ll show you what I mean, like I said these bracelets both fit me
exactly the same and I’ll show you that. So here I’m gonna pop this one
on the mandrel. I was given this bracelet by my husband many years ago and he and
my boys for a while there were regularly adding charms to it, then the price of
gold kind of went bonkers I don’t know maybe a little over a decade
ago, nobody has gotten mama any gold charms for a while, it’s too rich! So
there’s that one, now you might be amazed to see that this fits exactly the same
and it’s not just that that bracelet is stopping it it is stopping in the same
place – so that can be really helpful to you if you need to make a bracelet
that’s the exact, an exact size for a customer or a gift to have this to test
on and practice on. Now that I have them I suspect I’ll be using them a lot. It’s
not a huge investment for the wooden ones – good to try out and see if you like
it enough and if you do enough metal forming to maybe purchase metal ones in
the future. If you’re interested in the things I mentioned in this video I’ll
have a link to my blog post in the description box and also in the upper right
of the video where there will be product links and link to the videos that I
mentioned in this video. So happy creating!


  1. This was really interesting! I never thought of needing to know the diameter for making a bracelet, but when you showed the larger beaded bracelet next to the more delicate chain bracelet, it all made sense! Thank you for sharing! I owe you an email – I haven’t forgotten, just need to gather my thoughts. 💜

  2. Thanks for sharing, I didn’t even know these were a thing but now I want them. I don’t sell a ton of bracelets but when I do, sizing & photography are a bit tricky!

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