Like many of the 20-something creative women out there, I have a disease called ‘I Can Make That’-tis. Even though my skill sets may be nowhere in the same ballpark as what’s needed to make something I can more-easily buy… I would much rather make it. It REALLY becomes a problem when I see a high-end item, or a runway trend, and the wheels begin turning in my head. That’s where The DIY Files come to the rescue.
Hot Glue crisis… AVERTED!
Trends are tricky; at times, it becomes difficult to predict in which direction a certain trend or fad may turn — whether destructive (see ‘leggings as pants’) or creative (see ‘lace overlays’). Regardless of the direction, the specific trend can become wearable and accessible to consumers of all shapes and sizes.
The same could be said of the blossoming geometric cut-out trend, which has completely dominated this year’s spring and summer collections with cold-shoulders, exposed rib cages, and visible slivers of collarbone that all scream: SKIN is IN.
Not everyone, however, takes to such adventurous adaptations of trends so easily, which is why accessories and jewelry become the most flattering and universal way to make a trend your own. With this cuff bracelet, cut-outs go from the obvious to the artistic, eliciting questions of ‘where did you get THAT?’ Houston summers make wearing ANY jewelry a challenge (can you say 100 degree + days?!), but this cuff is lightweight enough to keep the notorious sweaty wrist condition from happening, but can still layer with thinner, simple chain bracelets.
Blades at the ready… materials below!
- clear vinyl (i.e. remnants of the travel make-up bag from the statement necklace project will work)– you should have enough material to wrap around your wrist TWICE since we’ll be layering the Contact paper between two pieces.
- ‘faux leather’ textured Contact paper (easily found at the Home Depot, a shit-ton for $8)
- pen/pencil (something that won’t smudge)
- an Xacto knife or small blade knife to cut out the design from the Contact paper
- wooden clothespins or small binder clips to hold the pieces together while the glue dries
- oh yeah… water-resistant glue (my go-to is the E6000)
- two sets of snaps or hooks closures to, you know, keep the cuff closed.
1. Cut the vinyl into two equal rectangles, a minimum of 7.5 inches long x 3 inches wide. Adjust the length based on your wrist size, but add 1/2 in to be cut accordingly when getting rid of the excess.
2. Now take the Contact paper and cut a rectangle of the same or larger size.
3. Fold the Contact paper horizontal length-wise, since you’ll be drawing mirror-images of your design on each side. I went ahead and drew a line down the middle of the cuff to better keep track of the drawing/cutting space available to use for the design.
4. Draw your design on the grid-side of the Contact paper using a combination of abstract polygons, architectural elements, and patterns that repeat. Remember, the more complicated the design, the more difficult it will be to cut out the negative space. I wanted a some-what anatomical skeleton appearance for my cuff, but I went a bit more avant-garde with Baroque and faunal aspects mixed in.
5. Using the blade knife or Xacto knife, carefully carefully CAREFULLY cut one piece at a time of the negative space. It helps to keep track of what you want to cut OUT if you color in the pieces, creating mock dark spaces.
6. Like the images above show, one side of the cuff (length-wise) has already been cut out. Taking the Contact paper, fold the cuff length-wise again, but this time, trace the interior of the cut-out onto the reflection of the design. Try to create as even and mirrored image as possible.
7. Once the side opposite to the original image is done being drawn, take your trusty Xacto knife and get to it!
Now you’re done with the hard part! Ok, sort of. The fitting of the cuff will be a bit tricky as well since a curved cuff distorts the vinyl and will need to be glued while fitted on your wrist.
8. Lay one piece of the vinyl on a flat surface, peel the waxy sheet from the Contact paper and place the piece center-aligned onto the vinyl. Trim around the cuff rectangle as close to your true measurements as possible. Again, keep the cuff no less than 3 inches wide to accommodate for the closure clasps.
9. Smooth out the Contact paper sheet and make sure there aren’t any bubbles.
11. Wrap the cuff around your wrist, smoothing out the two pieces of vinyl as you go along. Clip the part where the top vinyl layer meets the end of the cuff — this is where you will trim the excess.
12. Glue down the second end of the cuff, and clip again. Let the glue dry for a minimum of 1 hour.
13. Here, instructions will deviate based on the closure you’ve chosen. I found black capped snap closures at Wal-Mart for $2 for this cuff that are more heavy duty and will still allow the vinyl to keep its shape.
14. You’ll notice that the top layer of vinyl will cause a bump when the cuff is laid out flat; this ‘excess’ is a result of the cuff forming the circular shape, obvs.
15. Once you’ve got the closures on… you’re done!
You’re probably thinking… well, Nita, now I’ve got a giant roll of Contact paper and nowhere to go with it. Should I throw it away? Or should I wear it on my head like a scarf?
Fear not, dear reader, because I have another project for this ‘faux leather’ roll up my sleeves! Stay tuned!
Until next time…