Friday, May 8, 2015

A Sweet DIY: Let's Bake Up Some Bracelets!

Finally!
I can FINALLY show you guys that project I needed the fake sprinkles for!

Check it out:


A cakey icing bracelet!

I was first inspired by the amazing Shoe Bakery, but since I don't wear heels, I figured a bracelet was a more practical option. (Although I'll admit I've tried this technique on shoes - and it totally works. WOOT!)


Once John and I figured out the sprinkles, this little cutie was a snap to make, and surprisingly cheap, too. I bet a lot of you already have everything you need right in your kitchen & garage!


Hit the 'Read More' below for the tutorial, since John tells me all these photo-happy posts are killing load times over here. Heh. Oops.


Ok, let's bake us a bracelet!

Now, you COULD start with an existing cuff bracelet from the store, but why spend the extra bucks when you've got...

BAM! Ugly old PVC pipe!

These things come in a variety of diameters at your local hardware shop, and it just so happens that 2.5 inches is PERFECT for my little hobbit hands to fit through.

I recommend slices around 1.25 inches wide:


Next sand it down, paying extra attention to the sharp edges. You can do this by hand pretty easily, but if you have a palm sander around, that'll speed things up:


Just hold each edge onto the (running) sander, then hit the inner and outer edges:


 (Props to John, my hand model. Thanks, Sweetie!)

This whole process from pipe to bracelet took less than five minutes, and look how lovely:
I really like the matte texture of the pipe's interior; it feels awesome on, and has a nice heft to it.

Again, make sure you've sanded the outside of the bracelet, too; the original finish is too shiny, and your "icing" won't stick as well.

Now, before we ice, we need a way to work on the bracelet without touching it. Here's our cobbled-together solution:
And look how impressed Lily is.

That's another leftover bit of PVC pipe - small enough to fit through the bracelet - stuck into 2 shipping boxes on either side. Jam a little craft foam between the bracelet & pipe to make it snug, and now you can turn your bracelet without fear of smudging it! Pretty sweet, right?

Now, THE BIG SECRET. 

Drumroll, please, because that oh-so-yummalicious looking icing IS...

Acrylic house caulking.

That's right, the stuff you seal your baseboards with makes PERFECT decorative icing. It's cheap, durable, and easily tint-able with any acrylic craft paint.

If you want plain white icing, though, you can use that goodness right out of the tube. Squeeze out a glob right onto your bracelet:


And use a butter knife or small spatula to work it around:


You want a lot of texture here, to don't try to smooth it too much!

Work your way around, until you've covered the whole thing:


Try not to go over the edges on each side, though; that can get messy, and we'll be adding a border to cover any gaps, anyway.

Now, the fun part: SPRINKLES! But NOT real sugar sprinkles. Trust me. They'll fall out, crumble, and/or bleed. So definitely use fake ones. (Don't have fake sprinkles? Then go here for my tutorial!)


If you took a while to frost your bracelet, you may need to mist it with a little water to help the sprinkles stick. If it's within 5 minutes or so, though, they'll probably stick fine. Give 'em a little tap as you go, to help embed them in the caulking.

Ahh yes, there comes a time in every girl's life when she must face the big question: Is it possible to have TOO MANY sprinkles?


I'll leave that one for the philosophers. 

I've found that the key to extra-realistic sprinkles is to have lots of tiny pieces and various sizes, so I have a craft blade on hand to chop up some of the extra-long ones as I go:

And before those brown smudges freak you out too much - I CAN EXPLAIN:

 See? I made a chocolate one! 
(No tinting required; just buy a tube of the brown caulking they use for wood tones.)

You could actually stop there, if you like - and I think I will with the chocolate one. To really sell the icing look, though, you can't beat a colorful shell border. So let's add one.


All you need (other than the caulk & paint to tint it) is a parchment icing bag and a #16 Wilton tip. You can buy tips individually at craft shops for about $2, so don't worry, this won't break the bank.



It'll help if you have a little decorating experience for this next part, but if not, trust me when I say it's not that hard.

First, mix up your caulk & paint to make a pretty icing color:


Then assemble & fill your icing bag. (Here's how.)  Don't forget to drop the Wilton tip into the bag before you add the icing!


Have a wet paper towel nearby for cleaning off the icing tip.

A shell border is probably the easiest and most common icing technique out there, so I'd bet even total newbs will have it down with just a few minutes of practice. You're basically just squeezing out a small ball of icing, dragging down towards yourself, and repeating. 

Don't worry if it's not perfect; it's not supposed to be!

Pipe your borders right on the edge of your bracelet. It's ok if a little of the shell hangs over:
You can see my two stopping points in this pic. I used a toothpick to help tap them down into place. 

Let the caulking cure for at least 24 hours, and then spray your bracelet with a strong, water-based (so it won't yellow), satin clear coat. I used Minwax Polycrylic. This will help lock in those sprinkles, and also give the whole thing a convincing sheen. Without it, I found my bracelets looked too flat and clay-like. 

Don't use gloss or high-gloss, though, or your bracelet will look like shiny plastic!

My chocolate & blue bracelets are still curing, so here are some not-quite-finished shots before the clear coat goes on:


I'm really liking how that blue turned out! Next I need to make an orange one. :D

And here's the pink one again, which I sprayed a week or two ago:

Again, I found the clear-coat made a big difference, but I'm not sure how well it shows up in these photos. Guess you'll just have to trust me. :)

I hope this inspires some sweet new crafts for you guys! And hey, get creative, because you can use this on all KINDS of stuff: decorative boxes, scrapbook covers, hanging ornaments, hair clips, and of course faux cakes and cupcakes. Whatever you end up doing, be sure to share pics!


*****

Come see ALL of my craft projects on one page, right here!

55 comments:

  1. OHMIGOODNESS I'M IN LOVE. I've seen people use caulk for frosting on like cupcake ornaments but I'm dying over that perfect shell border.

    You can usually get "blank" bracelets and things on the cheap from wholesale jewelry supply sites, too, if you ever run out of pvc pipe. ;)

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  2. Jen, I am in awe of your brain for coming up with something like this! Totally adorable, and now I'm hungry, lol.

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  3. Want. So I'll buy all of the stuff. I will come home and put all of the supplies on the kitchen table. In November my husband will quit asking me about it and put the bag in the garage. Then I will see this dyi again, forget I ever bought the supplies, and we shall begin the dance again. I can't WAIT!!!

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    1. I read that and laughed so hard I woke up the dog! I am so glad to hear this happens to someone else, too! Right down to putting everything on the kitchen table. I can't remember the last time we ate at the table because I always have a project waiting to be started/forgotten. And then the hubs clears it off and stuffs it in the basement. I call it CADD. Craft Attention Deficit Disorder.

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    2. You are my new best friend! We should rent a big house together ....and fill it with kitchen tables. I'm in Sacramento - pick something in between us.

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    3. Darn it all! I'm in Canada or I would totally get in on the kitchen table house!

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    4. We may need a bigger house ... in North Dakota?

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    5. I love to organize my craft supplies. Over and over. Then, rarely use them. Forget I have them, and buy duplicates. That I discover when I organize them. Let me move in the co-op and we'll have gorgeous, intricately labeled storage containers on all the tables!!!

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    6. I get the "honey, we need to do something about the kitchen counter" with "we" being me... = )

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    7. Okay - Emily & culygirlpress are in. They will keep us from needing to buy a 2nd house.

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    8. If you're willing to make it Sourh Dakota, I've already got the house...and tins if tables! ;)

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    9. * tons, tons of tables! lol

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    10. Wait. JEN Jen? Or are you an impostor who will lure us there & steal our sprinkles??

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    11. Gosh I so want in on this! But.. ehm.. Sweden :p

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    12. Okay - we're on our way to Sweden.

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    13. I'm in! I might even be able to remember a little Svenska from my college days! Vȁr ȁr min nycklar? Which is either, "Where are my car keys?" or "What is my name?" Both being things I should be reminded of frequently, so it's all good. I think I also remember how to say, "My cat is sick." Y'know, in case the cat eats the craft supplies we leave all over the tables! (RedHeadE feel free to mock my Swedish!)

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    14. Whoops! Those were supposed to be ä's. And my ancient brain is telling me "nyklar" vs. "nycklar". Or maybe "nyklarna"? No. That would be, "Where are mine the car keys." Ah, heck. RedHeadE, good thing you speak English, because if anyone is counting on my Swedish, we are up a creek!

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    15. So - now that we have a posse... I have some Sculpey and an 'extruder' in my Amazon.com shopping basket. What's everyone else bringing? Besides their nycklar?

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    16. I can bring a ton of plastic organizer containers to organize all the cool project supplies we aren't going to use (and to sit under the bags of supplies we haven't gotten to organize yet) - can I come too?

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  4. If you wanted, you could totally make cake flip flops... Have the base (that you walk on) be "frosted" with sprinkles on the edges and pipe the straps...

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  5. Oh, now you've made me want cookies! (Sorry, not a huge fan of cake.) This looks like a ton of fun, and it would look great on little cookie charms on necklaces too. I'm getting a bit of a Wreck-it-Ralph vibe too. Sugarland Racer Cosplay, anyone?

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  6. so... I totally wanna make a pair of shoes now. I don't wear much jewelry, but I have an ice cream skirt I made last summer and I have been wanting a pair of ice cream shoes! Now to plan how to make them.

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  7. Might I suggest a shoe tutorial next? ;) These look amazing, and now I have a summer project! :)

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  8. hmm... the chocolate one has the beginnings of a chocolate iced donut look. all it needs is one of those curved chunky bracelets! yum!

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  9. I'm not all that crafty, but I love reading this stuff! You explain it all so well! What a fun idea!

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  10. I read all these tutorials, even though I never really try them myself. But it's nice to see how easily it can be done.

    Love the pink one. I'm thinking Pinkie Pie cosplay!

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  11. Please tell me a Vanellope costume is in the making? You'd be amazing as her! (And it might finally push me to make my own)
    I second the request for a shoe tutorial, I've got a long summer ahead of me I bet with a Jen tutorial I could make a bad-ass pair of cake shoes for my graduation in November :D

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  12. That is so epic!! I Bet you could use a 1/4 inch line to make earrings ;) I have all these cool ideas in my head but I have come to accept that I lack the necessary skills to carry them out (for now)

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  13. Okay, so now I need to make bracelets AND shoes....

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  14. I used to work at a cake bakery, and they used the caulking to ice the display cakes. Made it super convenient to dust them.

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  15. oooh, this is AWESOME. my giant peasant farming hands won't fit through any of the bangle in stores, so i have never been able to wear them. BUT NOW I CAN MAKE MY OWN!!! oops, got a little over-excited there!

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    1. Giant Peasant Farming Hands is my new favorite phrase. I always called mine "man hands." Your version is MUCH cooler!!!

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    2. I love it too, but first read it as "giant pheasant farming hands" and thought: "Cool, she has a pheasant farm, but I wonder what that has to do with the size of her bracelets?"
      sigh, pass the coffee.

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  16. I love the Shoe Bakery! Their shoes are so cute! These would make the perfect accessories to go with them! Your big pink ring in the first pic reminds me of those Brach's Sparkles hard candies I used to eat as a kid. :)

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  17. Is your pink ring from your resin rose petals? It looks FANTASTIC with the sprinkle bracelet. I'm a Balloon Twister and have several little girl parties scheduled. I think for my "professional" garb I HAVE to have candy jewelry. And shoes. And anything else that will sit still long enough to be frosted!

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    1. Yes, that's the rose petal ring! And now you guys have me wanting to revisit the shoe experiments...

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  18. How fun are those?! I want to make lots now. I don't know that I ever would have thought of using caulk for that.

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  19. Please tell me there is a "cake is a lie" craft coming soon with this technique? ��

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  20. Mine would NEVER turn out that well. There's a reason I assemble charm necklaces and make beaded jewelry versus cakes. My cakes look like the stuff you see on that other site of yours. :D

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    1. Ok, now I totally want to do that! I don't go for bangle braclets, so I'm thinking while Jen's are so adorable I'd never do it myself, but that is such a neat idea!

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  22. I second 'the cake is a lie' project, as well as a Vanellope (inspired) project!

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  23. Lovely Bracelet! As a thank you, how about a Borderlands Music Video?

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  24. Love it! You are so imaginative. In fact, with your cake decorating background I'm surprised you haven't done more of these types of projects. So a couple little observations. You do great tuts. This would have been the perfect opportunity to insert a 30-second or so how-to on the shells. That would have been the icing on the cake for this tut! :) And lastly, tips on how to clean up the frosty mess. Looks like a straight throw away for the bag and separate the tips into food safe and non food safe categories. I'm thinking it would help reduce the multitude of how-do-I? questions people inevitably ask with these types of projects.

    Soooo, is this for an upcoming costume? I get visions of Strawberry Cupcake for some reason. teehee

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  25. This is creative as heck. I love it!

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  26. My sister is a cake decorator, and these would be a perfect craft for.us to do together!

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  27. Absolutely in love!!! I will have to make one for my best friend. You actually talked about her in a blog once. Her name is Jennee and she is the owner and oporator of Lille Little Bite Bake Shop. She is going to love it!!!

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  28. Does anyone else think that this would be adorable for a My Little Pony cosplay?

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  29. I have been trying to figure out how Shoe Bakery pulls of the cake texture of some of the shoes. Do you have any ideas? I've been wracking my braain!!

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  30. So, I learned when trying to test these, that putting too much acrylic in the caulk will result in it all becoming a runny mess. I tried for a darker shade of purple, and by the second bracelet I was piping a border on, it was pretty runny. the third is terrible. So I just made a fourth bracelet with the leftover purple caulk/paint and used dark purple and white sprinkles on it.

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  31. these are too cute, my daughter is working on them to sell at a craft fair. Any One have advice on finding 2 1/2 inch PVC pipe? Our local Lowes and Home Depot only stock 2 inches and 3 inches, the 3 inch seems OK for a large grown-up, but I think we need some of the smaller size for kids.

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    1. I ordered mine online. I then found out my hand wouldn't fit through it, so it's definitely a kids size. I went through flexpvc.com

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