Foundations in Metalsmithing: Bracelets


Lesson Info

Creating a Tube Rivet

Our other option is that we can create a tube rivet. And I personally find these much easier. So, same thing. We're gonna start by cutting our blank, taking our piece of metal, overlapping it. Let me remove this guy cause we don't need him. Hammering her in. And now just like with the last one-- It's more important, so many bracelet mandrels happening here, that we kind of get this nice and flat, and then we can always reshape our bangle later. So I'll take my tape, tape this guy here. And if you're doing something where you've got two rivets kinda next to each other running across the bracelet, in that case with the overlap I usually tape where I'm gonna put the second rivet, set the first rivet, and then pull the tape off. Alright. So, just like with our wire, with a tube rivet we're gonna start with a piece of tubing, and we need to drill out that's the same diameter. So that means we actually need a bigger drill bit that matches the diameter of our tubing. The thing with this is if...

you try to drill this kinda big space out of the metal, you run the risk of actually like, kind of mangling the metal. So I like to drill a little cheater pilot hole with a smaller size drill bit first. So just like with our last one, we'll center punch, if I can find my center punch somewhere. We use the big guy except I'm gonna have to find a little one in a minute. So I'll go ahead and center punch. I see it now. So I'm gonna go ahead and now I'm just gonna drill a smaller hole just to make my life a little easier. Got that center punched. (machine drilling) And now I'm gonna go ahead and put the bigger drill bit that I matched to the size of my tubing. And again, cause I'm not very precisiony, I just eyeballed it. This flex shaft doesn't always like to seat right. So the reason I did that is I wanted to make sure this was spinning straight and not spinning at a crazy angle. So now, I'm just gonna go ahead and drill my bigger hole. (machine drilling) And sometimes things like that happen when you run it too slow. So we're just gonna come back in there. Alright. So now I've got the hole drilled in here. Done with our flex shaft. We've got the hole drilled in here that my tubing should fit through. And then the same rules apply. So we're going for that same kind of one and a half times the thickness. But the difference is with tubing, we have to cut with our saw and not with our wire cutters because if we cut with our wire cutters, we're gonna crush it. So I'm gonna go ahead and just mark this. So there is this fancy tool called a tube cutting jig. And this one is actually missing the-- It's missing the plate. But you can actually put this in here, line this up and cut it. I want you guys to know this exists if you get really into tube rivets. But again, I'm kind of a tool minimalist, so you don't need it. So what you can actually do is just come in here with your tubing, take your jeweler's saw, and just cut. What I recommend is once you get close to being at the end, I take my finger still behind my saw blade, but I put it on my little piece so that when I finish this cut, my little piece doesn't go flying onto the floor. It's still in my hand. But again, fingers behind the saw. So, if it feels like it has a little burr on it, you can go ahead and hit it with your file. Alright, now for tube rivets the one fundamental difference is that we actually need to flare out the tube before we push it down into that mushroom. And so what I like to do is I like to actually just take something like my center punch, which has, you know, kind of that flare already happening, and put it into my vice. This is one of those processes where if you have a friend handy with an extra set of hands, it helps. But I'm gonna do it without even though I have a whole room of friends. I'm gonna do it without cause I wanna show you guys how to do it on your own. So what we're gonna do is grab our riveting hammer. So, I'm going to put this through my middle. Actually, before I do that, I've got a pretty decent burr happening on the inside, I don't know if we can see that, where I drilled through. There's like a pretty serious burr that I just noticed. If that happens to you, just come in here and file it off. Cause that's just gonna impede our ability to set the rivet. So I fixed that. Alright, back to our piece here. So what I'm gonna do-- And for the record, there are people who set a lot of rivets who do this way faster and it looks way more efficient. I'm gonna put one end on my center punches in there. I'm gonna put my other center punch on this one. And I'm gonna hammer it to start to flare my tube. And then I'm literally just gonna kinda go back and forth if I can. Hit from the other side. (pounding) And I'm gonna keep kinda working this way for a few minutes until I've got this tube really flared out. Yeah, there's a lot of like holding things with your pinkies and kinda getting the balance right. And then once you've gotten this flare to a certain point which we are not quite there yet. (pounding) If it seems like one of your center punches like mine is is not quite flaring it, you could also get a hammer that has a little round ball on it and hammer that in cause that's gonna start to flare in a little bit too. (pounding) So basically, you're gonna flare it out and then keep hammering it down just like we did with the wire. Does that make sense? Since I know it's really hard to see, it's more important that you understand it so that you can try it on your own. Questions about that? We're not gonna finish that because we're not gonna pun around the ground for a rivet. Questions about the riveting? And I can show you guys again what our finished tube rivet looks like. So the same thing that we are doing with our wire, we want it to kind of come down and flatten over. Questions about riveting? If you're just doing like decorative rivets, you wouldn't overlap the whole thing. No. You would just use it through a single-- Yeah, you could just drill through a single thing if you were just using as a decorative function. And riveting is really just a great way if you're not soldering-- Right. Do a little bit of reiteration on that would you please Megan. Yes, yes. So the reason you would rivet is if you wanted to make a completely round bangle without soldering because you don't have a torch or you don't wanna get a torch. So that's really the reason to that-- Or because you really like the decorative look of it, those are the reasons to rivet. Yeah. As you can tell, I am definitely a torch girl not a rivet girl. This is really my sneaky way of getting you all excited about the torch. Okay, so even though I'm trying to sneakily get you guys excited about the torch, we are gonna dive into another torchless process now which is I wanna talk about how to make some hinged bracelets without the torch.

Whether you’re just getting started in metalsmithing or have been experimenting for years, Foundations in Metalsmithing: Bracelets will help you deepen your skills while exploring the exciting world of bracelets. From torchless techniques (like forming and riveting) to more advanced concepts (like hinges), you’ll walk out of this class with a heap of new metalsmithing skills! (And a pile of new bracelets).

In this class, jewelry designer and metalsmith Megan Auman will help you build your metalsmithing skills in a way that’s completely approachable - no matter what level you’re currently at.

You will learn how to:

  • Create unique cuff bracelets by forming wire and sheet.
  • Join metal without a torch by riveting.
  • Solder wire and sheet into different shapes.
  • Make hinges (with or without a torch) to take your bracelet designs to the next level.
  • Finish your designs and experiment with color on metal through patinas.

Whether you’re looking to grow your existing jewelry making knowledge or for a new creative outlet that you can proudly wear (and show off!), you’ll leave Foundations in Metalsmithing: Bracelets with a series of bracelets you can call your own - and a new set of metalsmithing skills you can expand into even more jewelry ideas!



  • This is a great addition to Megan's metalsmithing series. She makes the topic really approachable. Bonus that metal patinas were added in to the class. I loved the class!
  • I really enjoyed this class! It was very informative and gave me a lot of ideas for expanding a jewelry line to include a variety of bracelets and finishes.