Craft Party · Tutorials

Craft Party Tutorial – Making An Upcycled Bracelet Cuff

Its so fantastic to be kicking of the Etsy craft party with the first tutorial of the day. It is also apt as this project needs to dry between layering so it is something you can begin now and then revisit between projects during the party.

I will be online and available during the timeslot of this tutorial for questions and general chatting, and I will then check in periodically during the day.

As an Etsy seller I love making jewellery and am passionate about upcycling, so this project combines both – we are making a cuff bracelet from plastic bottles decoupaged with newspaper, decorative papers and whatever extra adornments inspire you.

So, here is what you will need:

craft knife/scalpel
PVA/craft glue
shallow dish for PVA
container of water
(for the above two I use a takeaway container – I use the lid for the PVA & the base for the water)
stiff bristled paint brushes – a range of small to medium sizes
varnish – acrylic, spray, polyurethane
plastic bottles – a range of sizes and textures

AND a SELECTION of coloured paper, tissue paper, paper doilies, gift paper, stamps, calendars, maps, greeting cards, original drawings, children’s drawings, photocopies (not inkjet prints as they may run) and anything else you may think of!

Optional Adornments

wool offcuts
embroidery cotton offcuts

and whatever else inspires you!!

Got all your ‘ingredients’? What’s next….

Choose a plastic bottle that, when cut, will fit around your wrist – be creative – it doesn’t have to be a round bottle, and if it is too big this could be an opportunity to add fasteners (buttons, etc) at the end.

Using your craft knife carefully cut (away from yourself) a portion of the bottle depending on how wide your want your cuff bracelet to be. If you want your end to be rounded or curved use some scissors to trim the square ends. I kept mine square as this is easier to fold your decoupage ends neatly and tightly.

The first three layers of your cuff will be built up using newspaper strips – use newsprint as this will be covered up – unless of course you want newsprint or certain words to feature in your bracelet – in this case reserve those pieces of newspaper for later layers.

Tear the newspaper layers using a ruler, rather than scissors, or simply go with the grain of the paper and tear them manually in about 2cm wide strips- although you won’t see these initial layers in the final product it does lend a textured surface beneath your final layer which will add to the final textural finish.

As you tear the newspaper look at both sides in case there are any colours or patterns you would like to reserve for the final layer.

Next pour a small amount, about the size of a ten cent piece, of PVA into a shallow dish. Put your brush (approximately size 8) into the container of water and then place the brush in the PVA and mix.

Apply a generous amount to strips of paper, individually, and wrap diagonally around the plastic cuff until the entire surface is covered. (the water makes the paper more flexible and more easy to slide along the plastic). If there are any stubborn edges of paper that won’t lie flat use a small stiff bristled brush dipped in the water/pva mix to encourage it into place – until it does what it is told! The skewer can also be used as a mini rolling pin to rill any bubbles and surface irregularities out; it can also be used to reinforce any patterns or lines in the bottle (see above picture of plastic bottle with indented lines). If you want to retain these lines they will have to be reinforced by pushing each layer of paper while still wet into the grooves. Use the entire length of the skewer to do this by holding it in the groove and turning the cuff.

Allow to dry – it won’t take very long, but you could use a hair dryer or heater if you are feeling impatient 🙂

Various stages of newspaper layers
Various stages of newspaper layers

Repeat the previous step three times, allowing each layer to dry, and on the final third layer we will finish off the ends of the cuff.

To do this tear a larger square of newspaper that can be folded around the cuff end, tucked in and then folded over the ends – like a square envelope.

Finishing the cuff ends
Finishing the cuff ends

As before, apply the water/PVA mix generously and if  need be, use a small stiff bristled brush to coax it into place.

Now it is time to think about the final layer we want on the cuff – gather together any reserved bits of patterned newspaper you have, coloured paper, paper doilies, stamps, maps – whatever your vision entails – I have used coloured and patterned newspaper to finish my cuff, positioning the paper in strategic spots to attain the finish I desire.

Use the same method as above to diagonally wind your cuff with strips of paper and finish the ends with enveloped squares as above also…. you can repeat this multiple times in various parts of your cuff till you get the design / colour combination that you like. You can also finish with a final feature of a picture or row of stamps, etc across the centre of the cuff as a feature. Don’t worry about uneven layers as this adds to the textural feel of the cuff (unless you want a less textured look, then you can be more particular about your layers and the layout of paper strips).

Line of decorative newspaper on final layer
Line of decorative newspaper on final layer

Allow this final layer to dry.

To seal the decoupaged surface apply 4-5 layers of the water/PVA mix, allowing each layer to dry, with a final sealing of a acrylic, spray or polyurethane varnish – the reason this project only requires one layer of varnish is so that your cuff will remain flexible enough to put on and off.

Once your cuff is finished you can adorn it with blingy bits….my cuff was a little big for my wrist so I sewed buttons and leather thong onto it as fasteners to fit my wrist – or any size wrist – it is adjustable!

Below are pics of other examples where the bottles I used fitted my wrist so no fasteners were needed. I also made a choker and ring …. the ring was made from the screw top part of the button which I removed using a hack saw as it is thicker than the body of the bottle.

I hope you enjoyed this crafty tutorial, and have a great day with many more to come!

To celebrate the Etsy Craft Party I am offering a 10% discount storewide in my shop – use coupon craftparty at checkout 🙂

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I have been a practicing artist for approximately eighteen years, and have been selling on Etsy since 2012. As an artist I make and exhibit sculptural ceramics; as an Etsy seller I make ceramic tableware, home wares and jewellery. I am also passionate about recylcing and make jewellery from upcycled and reclaimed materials, such as marbles, buttons and guitar strings – which is what led me to develop this tutorial!





5 thoughts on “Craft Party Tutorial – Making An Upcycled Bracelet Cuff

  1. Whoa this is awesome dawn!!! I will definitely be giving this a go. I’ve got some spare bangles hanging around the house which are just crying out for a paper makeover! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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