Sunday, August 1, 2010

Groovy Guitar Pick Bracelets: How To

Fridays guitar pick workshop was pure chaos. I found myself surrounded by thirty teens instead of the usual fifteen. The turn out was great, just wish I'd knew it going to happen. We avoid preregistration to encourage more last minute attendance, I brought enough supplies for twenty five teens which is ten more than usual. After a frantic head count and some quick math I switch the two banded bracelet design to a single band, and realized that I would have to limit the girls to two guitar picks each.

Buying guitar picks for a group can be expensive, I advise purchasing economical twelve packs. I took advantage of my son's employee discount at the Music Center to provide the group with a selection of brands and colors. If you're just making a couple of bracelets you can splurge and select individual picks with gorgeous graphics and textured plastics. Just remember to stick to the medium to hard varieties that can withstand drilling and wear.

8" length of Round Leather or faux leather Black cotton cord.
2 coil crimps
2 6mm jump rings
1 lobster clasp or spring coil clasp

Chain nose pliers
Drill with 1/16" bit

Working over a wood scrap, drill a hole straight down into the center top of the pick, 1/8" from the top edge. My husband Jon kindly pre-drilled all the picks before the workshop. Over the years he's drilled so many small items for jewelry making he's comfortable stacking them together and drilling through multiples.

Use chain nose pliers to open the jump ring laterally, slip on the pick and then close the ring. To read more on opening jump rings please see my 'Summer Earring' tutorial. Repeat the process until each pick is strung with a jump ring.
Thread one end of a 8" length of cording into the open end of the coil crimp. Grasp the wire end with your chain nose pliers and squeeze it into the center. The bent wire end should trap the cord in place. I won't lie many of the girls found this difficult. We had a two fold problem a shortage of pliers and the cording was on the thin side (remember I was planning on doubling it) it would pull out from under the bent wire. It would be much easier to trap a solid thickness of real leather.

At the end of the program I realized I could have avoided the frustration by simply threading the cord all the way through the coil and tying it into an overhand knot to prevent it from slipping back through.

Making decorative overhand knots down the length of the cord adds texture and help position the picks. Slide the picks onto the cord, then finish making additional knots. Check the size of your bracelet by wrapping it around your wrist. If necessary use scissors to trim away extra cord before crimping the second coil in place.

Open the round end of the coil crimp and slide on a spring or lobster clasp onto the wire and then place the ring in it's original position. The clasp hooks directly onto the round end of the first coil.

I hope your adventures in guitar pick jewelry are less stressful than running this workshop. The good news is that the girls were happy and proudly shared their creations with their parents. Some were even motivated to make matching earrings.

As always I'm grateful to Curtis Teen Program for their support and the great kids who put up with me photographing them and even hang around to help clean up!


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  7. I love making guitar pick jewelty just like this! My favorite thing to do is to take my old plectrums and make guitar pick necklaces out of them.


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