Do you have someone special in the military? If so here is an idea for a wonderful and meaningful gift and one they can add to throughout their military career. You will need:
A variety of charms,
6 inches or so of chain
oval jumprings (20 gauge open/unsoldered)
pearls, gems, beads of your choosing
The first thing I did was think of my daughter, her passions, and funny or meaningful times in her life. She took ballet, she loves horseback riding and so on. The main focus though was on her military career.
Where did it start? Where has she been?
First let me say that most of the charms are sterling silver as is the base chain. I found everything I needed at Artbeads.com; the selection of charms is astounding and the prices are great. I will highlight each item with a link for you. They also have a learning center.
The first charm I selected was the USN charm and I chose this one because she has a tattoo on her back with the anchor and of course, the daughter charm. They have other, more delicate military charms as well. She began with Boot Camp so I got the Illinois State charm, then A school was in Florida so I had to have that one. I live in Maine so I got that one and so on for every place she has been so far. I also chose an opal because it is her birthstone. She loves the leaves in the Fall so I got her some vintage Lucite leaves. They are pink but I wanted to stay with a theme. What woman does not love pearls? Right, so I put those in as well.
When I do charm bracelets I really like the oval jump rings because the stress is not on the opening.
You have gathered the items for your bracelet, now what?
If you need to put any beads on headpins now is the time. I prefer a wire wrap as opposed to a loop because it makes it so much more secure. You will want to do this if you use sterling or gold for certain! Video tutorials are available.
Cut your chain…make sure you subtract the clasp from the total. For instance if you are making a 6 inch bracelet and your clasp is an inch you only want the chain to be 5 inches. Lay out your chain and begin putting the charms on the table where you want them to go, don’t attach them just yet. After you get that all sorted out begin by putting on the clasp. I put 2 jumprings on here just for added strength. When you open your jump rings make sure you do so by twisting and not pulling apart. If you pull it you will never get a clean join again! Hold your jumprings with 2 pair of pliers. Twist one towards you and one away from you just enough to allow the chain to fit There are great tutorials all over the Internet so I won’t go into all that. Attach it to your bracelet and twist back. Put all your charms on leaving space for new charms that she will acquire later. Not only is this a lovely and meaningful gift but you can send charms to have put on later. There are a couple of fun charms, a cowboy boot (she learned line dancing recently) a high heel shoe for my little shoe queen. The guys that did her home of record move even made comments on the amount of shoes!
Please send me photos!