WEEKEND CRAFTING ADVENTURES

Cricut Engraving Tool: Metal Cuff Bracelet Project

WCA 24 | Metal Cuff Bracelet

 

Inspired by my current love of word bead bracelets and thinking about Random Acts of Kindness day coming up on February 17th, I decided that I would try to engrave some metal cuff bracelets with some positive sayings. Using the Cricut quick swap housing with the engraving tip tool, I tried etching some short sayings and small designs into some aluminum bracelets. Picking out the sayings was the easy part of this project! With an abundance of information that I researched on the internet I set out to create some fun word bracelets of my own to give to my amazing friends and coworkers. Join me as I share with you all the crafty fun and small challenges that I experienced doing this crafting project!

Watch the full episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

Cricut Engraving Tool: Metal Cuff Bracelet Project

 

WCA 24 | Metal Cuff Bracelet

 

In this episode, I’m going to share with you my experience of etching some metal cuff bracelets with the Cricut engraving tool. Let me tell you a little bit about the inspiration behind this crafting project. I have been interested in wearing some of these bead word bracelets or bracelets that have 1 or 2 words. They’re little plastic bracelets with a word, a saying, a little bit of pick-me-up, or motivation. That is one inspiration behind this project. The other one is that in February, not only is it Valentine’s Day but there is a day called Random Acts of Kindness Day.

This is something that we learn about in schools as school counselors and schoolteachers. Something very important to me and near and dear to my heart is filling up the kids’ buckets and the staff’s buckets with positive appreciation and motivation and doing some little random acts of kindness, whether it be for the coworkers, the students, or anybody on the staff to let them know how much I appreciate them, the work that they’re doing, and all that stuff.

Combining that idea of the little word bead bracelets and then the thought of Valentine’s Day and Random Acts of Kindness Day, I thought it would be cool to make some words and sayings etched onto some of those small metal cuff bracelets. That is what I did for this crafting project. This was a fun project. Anything that brings some positivity and pick-me-up into my life and somebody else’s life is something that motivates me. This project was one of those.

WCA 24 | Metal Cuff Bracelet

 

Engraving Tip Tool

Let me talk to you and highlight a couple of materials that are super important for this crafting project if you decide you are going to give it a try. I was lucky enough that I only had to buy the Engraving Tip tool. Number 41 is the Engraving Tip tool. I had to buy that little Engraving Tip because I have the QuickSwap™ Housing. That Engraving Tip was about $12. I did need to purchase some bracelet blanks. I got two different sizes. I wasn’t sure exactly what size I was going to like better on my wrist and then possibly on coworkers and things like that, so I got two different sizes. I got the 3/8-inch by 6-inch-long metal cuff bracelet and the 5/8-inch by 6-inch-long. It’s two different sizes.

The other reason I decided to try two different sizes was I was a little bit nervous about the thin 3/8-inch bracelets. I love the thickness of them because I feel like when I’m wearing one, it will go nicely with the beaded bracelets. It won’t be too thick, and I can still stack up my beaded word bracelets with this 3/8-inch bracelet, but I was a little bit worried about getting the words and the engraving onto that thin blank. I made sure that I got some of the 5/8-inch as well as a backup in case I completely failed with the 3/8-inch bracelets. I got two sizes of those from ImpressArt.

The other important material that I needed to get for this was a bracelet bending tool. I got one. I did not get the ImpressArt one because the only way they had that was in this big bundle. I didn’t want to buy the huge bundle, so I searched and found a standalone metal bracelet bending tool. It ran me about $10. Those were the main ones that are different from everything else that I already have in my crafting corner for crafting with Cricut.

WCA 24 | Metal Cuff Bracelet

 

Let me get into the experience of etching these metal cuff bracelets with my Cricut Maker. I was super excited about this. After I decided I was going to do this project, I knew I needed to come up with a couple of phrases and things that I wanted to have my Cricut engraving tool etch onto the metal blank bracelets. That was fun. I’m always thinking about things that are motivational, pick-me-ups, something that I would like to have on my wrist, or something that I would like to give somebody for them to wear as a little bit of a pick-me-up. I had a couple of different ideas.

At the end of all of the looking for different phrases or sayings, I came up with about 4 or 5 that I was going to try to have Cricut etch into these metal bracelets. One of them was, “Ride or die.” When I think about that saying, it makes me think about the people in my life that I am there for no matter what and are there for me no matter what. I happened to have a BFF that is turning 50 very soon. I’m not going to be able to be there with her. We live pretty far apart, but I decided one of the things that I was going to do was to make a ride-or-die bracelet.

WCA 24 | Metal Cuff Bracelet

 

Right before the word Ride would be a sunrise, and then after Die would be a moon with that thought of, “I’m there for you day or night no matter what. You’re my ride-or-die friend.” I did make one of the sayings, “Ride or die.” I’m happy with how it came out. I got my sayings. I needed to figure out how I was going to get these sayings onto the bracelets. I wanted to know the best fonts to use, the best size to use, and how I was going to make sure that these sayings were in the right place to be etched onto the bracelets. That took some scouring the internet for some resources.

There are a ton of resources about this process, but I’m going to highlight four that I used that helped me in this process. The resources that I relied on for this project are two from Clever Someday. One was a YouTube tutorial and one was a blog post. Angie Holden, who has so much amazing information about Cricut crafting and other things out there, had a great resource page and a YouTube video about metal etching and engraving with the Cricut Maker. I utilized that as a resource, and then a blog post from Sharon & Alex. All of those gave me all of the information that I needed to make sure that I was not going to completely fail with this project.

In terms of the next piece of what I did after I researched and got a good grasp of what I was going to have to do to make this work and make sure that etching was going to end up on the metal bracelet was to find the fonts that I wanted to use. I had lots of different ideas for combining fonts, images, and things like that, but because this was my first time doing it, I did not want it to get too complicated. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work. I decided to go with two different Cricut fonts. One is the Alyssa Stencil Script font and the other one was the DTC Porch Chair font.

Both of those are Cricut fonts, and both of them were recommended in the resources that I mentioned as being two that did a good job with the engraving tool on the metal bracelets. Even though I wanted to get a little more creative and have each bracelet have a different font, I did end up sticking to those two fonts. I’m glad that I did. I did figure out how to add a heart. One of the other sayings that I did was, “Be a kind human.” In our schools and all around, I am so appreciative of the kind people that I am surrounded by. I feel like that is something that I wanted to put on the bracelet.

WCA 24 | Metal Cuff Bracelet

 

Cricut Design Space

One of the sayings is, “Be a kind human.” I did figure out how to get a little heart to also have on that bracelet. Another one of the sayings that I decided I wanted to do with Valentine’s Day coming up was, “All you need is love.” I also was able to get a little bit of scripty swirls with some hearts to etch onto the bracelets. The more simple the font with one layer, the better for etching. After I figured out the fonts that I was going to use, I wrote up on my Cricut Design Space the different sayings and phrases that I was going to have etched on the bracelets.

To do this, the first thing I did was to create a rectangle out of the shapes in Cricut Design Space to the exact size of the bracelet. That meant that I had two different sizes of rectangles. The first one was going to be 3/8-inch tall by 6-inch long, and the second one was 5/8-inch tall by 6-inch long. I went ahead and made those rectangles, and then clicked on the operation of the guide. This guide tool is something I’ve talked about before. It is so useful, especially for projects like this.

Guide Tool

I needed to know exactly how big to make the words, the sayings, and the designs that I was going to have my Cricut etch onto the bracelets, but I didn’t want that rectangle to be part of what Cricut cut out. Using that guide tool allowed me to line up my saying and size it perfectly for the bracelet that it was going to be etched on. This was the trickiest part of this project. The engraving tool is so precise. I was dealing with 3/8 of an inch tall for one of the bracelets. That’s pretty small. The fonts are small.

The biggest help I had was not only that guide but using the Align tool that is located at the top of Cricut Design Space. Once I had my rectangle guide and the saying or the words that I was going to have etched into the bracelet, I attached those using the Attach tool. I would bring it up, select both the rectangle and the saying, and hit Align Center. That tool centered my saying onto the guide rectangle. That was so important for making sure that when I went ahead and hit Make It and had Cricut then engrave those sayings into the bracelet, I made sure that it was going to fit and that it was centered.

 

 

I spent a lot of time going back and forth between the Cricut Design Space where you plan out your design and the prepared mat where you are looking at exactly where Cricut is going to cut your design, and going back and forth between those two pages and identifying exactly where I needed my saying to be. That is where I placed the metal blank bracelet on my cutting mat. I used a StrongGrip mat. I used painter’s tape to hold the bracelet down and took care in making sure that everything was aligned.

 

 

That was the trickiest part of the project. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly Cricut engraved these bracelets. I was thinking back to when I did the basswood project and how it had to do fourteen passes to do one cut, which wasn’t even what I ended up with. I had to do a lot more than that, but I was wondering, “Is this going to be the same process?” It wasn’t. Once I hit that little Go button for Cricut to start engraving, it’s three minutes tops for each bracelet.

 

 

The trickiest part of the project was using the painter's tape to hold the bracelet down and ensure that everything was aligned. Share on X

The engraving piece goes pretty quickly. It worked well. It was much easier to use the DTC Porch Chair font than the Alyssa Stencil Script. The reason that it was much easier is that the DTC Porch Chair font is all in capitals. The engraving tool did a beautiful job with both fonts, and it did a great job with the little accents that I added to some of the sayings, the hearts, and the swirls. I did that sun and moon. It’s a beautiful job. I’m happy with how the engraving tool worked on these metal cuff bracelets.

Lint Roller

After the engraving process was done and my bracelet came out of the Cricut machine, I did use the lint roller gently to roll over that bracelet because I did read that there could be tiny pieces of metal from the engraving process that are lying around on top of the bracelet. That was a great way to get all of those little metal particles away from the finished product.

 

 

Use the lint roller gently to roll over that bracelet because there could be tiny pieces of metal from the engraving process lying around on top of the bracelet. Share on X

I did try to use a black enamel marker to darken some of the engravings. What I had read about this is that by doing that process, you would be able to see the words much better. I do think that is the case, but based on my experience with that black enamel marker, I didn’t love how the finished product looked. It didn’t look clean and crisp to me. For my personal taste, I am sticking with the metal etched by the engraving tool. I am not adding any color or anything to that.

By the time I finished up with my bracelets, I did have more success with the 5/8-inch bracelets than the 3/8-inch bracelets because the space that I was working with was so small with the 3/8-inch that there were times with the script font where even though I was precise in lining it up, it ended up engraving grieving a little higher than what I thought it was going to do.

When that happened, some of the engravings were a little bit cut off. It wasn’t the outcome that I wanted. I like the look of the 3/8-inch bracelet a little bit better than the 5/8-inch. I’m going to have to practice a little more with the placement and understand how to get that saying in the right place so that it engraves right in the middle of that 3/8-inch bracelet.

I ended up with around four sayings, “Be a kind human. All you need is love. Ride or die.” The other one I did was, “Fire in her soul and grace in her heart.” Those were the four that I did. I might try and make a couple more. I do have some left over. I’ll be giving those to people for Random Acts of Kindness Day and also to my girlfriend as my ride-or-die. They’re little pick-me-ups for people that are doing great things for kids out there in my schools.

Crafting Keepers

The first Crafting Keeper for this episode is going to be the Align function. I talked about this. It’s where you hit a line and then have all these choices, and I hit Center. I don’t think that I could have done a good job making sure that my sayings would be centered and within the bounds of that rectangle guide for the bracelet if I did not have access to that centering Align function. That was huge. That is going to be a Crafting Keeper for this project in terms of the small spaces and etching onto the bracelets.

WCA 24 | Metal Cuff Bracelet

 

The other Crafting Keeper is this QuickSwap™ Housing for the Engraving Tip for the Cricut Maker. This housing is the same housing that has the Scoring tool that I can put on it. I have the engraving tool. There are about 4 or 5 other tips that I can get that swap onto that housing. Getting the Engraving Tip on and off in two seconds is easy as anything. That is a very cool thing to have. It’s a little more expensive, but it’s an investment because I can switch out those other tools depending on the project that I’m doing.

My SatisCRAFTion Rating for this project is going to be a four. This is a little bit of a trickier project if you’re using the 3/8-inch bracelets. With some practice, I know I’ll get better at it, but it took me a long time to figure out the placement on those guides and make sure my Cricut was going to cut in the right place on the bracelet. I still need to practice, but I love the outcome of the bracelets.

 

 

I did end up making a cute little drawstring cotton pouch bag to put each of them in with the same saying that’s on the bracelet on the outside of those pouches with some heat transfer vinyl. Those came out cute. It was a fun project. I’m looking forward to sharing them with friends and coworkers as a little random act of kindness. Until our next adventure, take care.

WCA 24 | Metal Cuff Bracelet

 

 

Resources:

 

The sayings that I put on my bracelets:

  • Be a Kind Human
  • All you need is love
  • Ride or Die
  • Fire in her soul and Grace in her heart
  • Classy, Sassy and a little Bad Assy

 

Fonts That I Used:

  • Cricut subscribed – DTC Porch Chair
  • Cricut subscribed – Alyssa Stencil Script
  • Cricut subscribed Karley Sketch 

 

Cricut Cutting Material Setting:

Metal: Anodized Aluminum

Don’t Forget to move the four white star wheels on the Cricut Maker all the way to the right

Shaping the bracelets with the tool (I forgot to talk about this in the podcast, here is a video):

WCA 24 Video 4.mov

 

Crafting Keepers:

  1. Align: Center Cricut Design Space Tool
  2. Cricut Quick Swap Housing

 

SatisCRAFTion Rating: 4

 

Materials:

  • Cricut Engraving Tip #41

Amazon.com: Cricut QuickSwap Engraving Tip, Silver

  • ⅝ Inch Metal Cuff Bracelet Blanks

Amazon.com: ImpressArt Bracelet Blanks, 5/8″ x 6″, Aluminum- 7 Pack

  • ⅜ Inch Metal Cuff Bracelets Blanks

Amazon.com: ImpressArt Bracelet Blanks, 5/8″ x 6″, Aluminum- 7 Pack

  • Beadsmith EZ Bender Tool: Metal Bracelet Bending Tool

Amazon.com: The Beadsmith EZ Bender – Metal Elements – Made of Hardened Steel – 7 x 1 x 1.25 inches – Tool for Making Cuff Bracelets – Create Perfectly Curved Bracelets Without a Mallet : Tools & Home Improvement

  • Black Metal Stamp Enamel (I did not use it on mine)

Amazon.com: ImpressArt – Metal Stamp Enamel Marker for Metal Stamping & Engraving DIY Jewelry Acrylic Ink (Black) : Arts, Crafts & Sewing

  • Cricut Quick Swap Housing
  • Strong Grip Mat
  • Small Ruler
  • Painters Tape
  • Lint Roller

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