The second craft at Big Girl’s 8th birthday party were charm bracelets. One of the things I was thinking about when I was planning this party was about how I could (subtly) teach the girls something about how things are made and in doing so, empower them to feel like they too can make (instead of buy).
I figured making jewelry (other than simple beading) was something that seems especially mysterious and hard so therefore it would be a fun and exciting project to try out with the kids. Big Girl and I decided that charm bracelets were the way to go.
What you need:
We purchased chains, clasps and charms online (we ordered from Oriental Trading Company). We decided to order a pack of pink, purple and blue chains to create fun and springy bracelets. The charms we picked were all either Spring (birds, butterflies and flowers) or in the same color family. I already had jump rings and wire cutting plyers so I didn’t need those. This craft cost about $45 for 18 bracelets with lots of leftover charms for future activities.
In advance I cut the chains into approx. 6″ lengths and used a jump ring to attach the clasp to make the bracelets. For those of you who have never done this, it sounds hard but is pretty easy. You simply need to cut the chain link with the wire cutting part of needle nose pliers. The little links next to the chain in this picture are the cut links that we removed when we cut the chain.
Jump rings are those simple metal rings you’ll find on all of your jewelry. You see in this picture a pile of silver jump rings and the plastic case holding an assortment. You can use jewelry pliers to help you open and close them, but you can also often do it with your fingers.
For this project we used fairly large ones that were easy enough for the kids to grasp in their hands.
I also discovered that most of the charms we had purchased did not come with rings so I attached jump rings to all of the charms so the kids wouldn’t need to deal with finding rings themselves. I made Big Girls do lots of this work as it was pretty time consuming. She got a little cranky but she’s really good at putting jump rings on now!
Once I had premade the bracelets and prepped the charms, I laid out the charms by type and posted instructions on a tray.
I asked each of the girls to first lay their bracelet
out flat on the table then to pick out the charms they wanted and to place them where they wanted them to be. I showed them how to open and close the jump ring and encouraged them to try it themselves. I helped each kid in turn to either tighten the ones they had done themselves or to attach the rings for them.
They turned out really well. My girls and I have been wearing ours often! Several of the girls were able to open and close the jump rings themselves and create the entire bracelet. For a few of the girls, I may have reached a bit too high. But, you have to admit these bracelets are charming!
The final big project for the party was making clay beads. I’ll post more on that within a few days.