How to Make Cool Stainless Steel Jewellery




About: To see more of my work you are welcome to follow me on Instagram @cam_de_burgh

Hello Instructablers.

At my work we use 4mm stainless steel wire rope to suspend submersible water pumps down bore holes. We are frequently left with short lengths left-over that would usually be wasted. I used some of this left-over wire rope to make some cool bangles for my daughter.

In this i'ble I'll show how it's done so you can do it too. You'll be surprised how simple it is

I got my inspiration from manila rope quoits we used to play with as kids. I remember staring at one for a long time trying to figure out where the join was. It seemed very mysterious to me at the time.

Step 1: What You Will Need

You only need four things:

  1. Wire rope. I use one strand of a 7 x 7 construction 4mm 304 grade stainless steel wire rope. That is a rope made up of seven strands which are each made up of seven stainless steel wires. You will need piece about 1200mm long.
  2. Heat shrink tubing. This is normally used to seal joints in electric cables. I use a piece about 10mm wide by 15-20mm long.
  3. Pliers or similar to cut the wire.
  4. Heat source to heat the heat shrink tube.

Step 2: Getting Started

The wire is made up of six strands twisted around one straight strand or king wire. We use one of the twisted strands to form a circle, twisted around itself six times to build a complete rope. It's not easy to describe but it's easy to do - the strands naturally sit where they need to.

The first step is to cut a length of wire rope at least six times as long at the circumference of the bangle you want to make. I'm aiming for about 200mm circumference so cut my rope to at least 1200mm long.

Next, remove one of the twisted strands from the rope. Just pick one out of the end and untwist it until it comes away.

Poke the strand through the piece of heat shrink tube.

Form the strand into a circle the size you want, and pass one end through the loop - just like the first step of tying shoe laces. If the loop is hanging down, the right hand end should pass over the left part and then back up through the loop. If it's correct the twists will fit together nicely. It should be obvious if it's right or wrong. If it looks ugly, just pull it apart and try again.

Step 3: Building Up the Rope

Now simply keep twisting the ends around the part that makes up the circle. You'll find that it will naturally sit where it should.

Each time you do a complete circle you will need to pass an end through the heat shrink.

After five laps it might look like the rope is complete, but you will find that another lap will slot in nicely and make the rope tighter and more solid.

Step 4: Finishing

When you have done six complete laps the rope should be nice and tight and neat.

Using pliers cut off the excess strand. Try to make the cuts in such a way as to minimise protrusion.

Position the heat shrink tube over the cut ends of strand and apply heat. A heat gun is usual, but I didn't have one so I used a candle. Be careful not to burn the tube. Take your time and heat it gently and you will soon see it shrink and tighten over the cut ends. This will stop them from unlaying and will prevent the sharp ends from poking you.

Let the heat shrink tube cool and harden, and give it a wipe to remove any soot.

Sit back and admire your work.

Step 5: Conclusion

Of course this system can be adapted to use with any twisted strand rope. And the circles can be as large or small as you like. Also, heat shrink is available in lots of colours, but I only had black.

I made some with stainless steel nuts as beads. They had to be placed on the strand with the heat shrink tube right at the beginning.

I hope you have enjoyed my Instructable. If you have any questions please ask in the comments. And if you make one I'd love to see pictures.

If you like this you might like to see some of my other work in my Etsy Shop.



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    22 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great instructable and clearly produced. However I would like to point out a bit of caution to all people out there who like to make things, if you wear these when doing practical tasks you could put yourself in great physical danger. If these get caught or snagged you will easily damage your hand and arm. If they got caught on a machine they could take you hand clean off, which would not be a pretty sight! Please please be very careful when wearing this type of item.

    2 replies
    Scarlet MoonMindmapper1

    Reply 3 years ago

    thanks mindmapper1 you have reminded us all to be cautious when wearing these super cool bracelets.


    Reply 4 years ago

    A valid point Mindmapper. Thank you.

    I would like to encourage everyone to excercise common sense in everything they do.

    Taking reasonable safety precautions not only helps to keep us safe, but has the added benifit of avoiding the attention of ernest OH&S zealots who can't resist putting in their tiresome two-cents-worth.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! I happen to have some s/s cable laying around too.... Hmmm....


    4 years ago on Introduction

    They look great, I'm still wondering if u could solder/weld the ends for a better looking joint. Might be something to do on a boring weekend. Thanks for sharing.


    4 years ago

    So cool! I wonder if it would possible to weld the open endings. This way you could leave out the shrinking tube and give the whole thing an even more homogenous look.

    6 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    I just wonder if there are any nasty chemicals in the solder that you wouldn't want to have skin contact with for a longer period of time. :)


    Reply 4 years ago

    my choice would be to try solder. flux the steel and heat up enough to melt solder into the strands. Just an idea, I'll report back....


    Reply 4 years ago

    Try it!
    My thoughts are that stainless steel doesn't take regular solder so perhaps something like silversolder for brazing would be best. Welding is tricky with thin wires like this but possibly resistance welding could work.
    Awesome project BTW :-)


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Both good ideas. Thanks.

    I might do some experimentation.

    Meanwhile, the heat shrink is a simple, no-tools solution.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    No prob. You could also try to use a piece of copper pipe and squeeze it, this way it wouldn't be a joint but more like an accented highlight. ;)