The bracelet pictured is one I bought when I toured Washington DC last year. There are many occasions to wear it, from Veteran’s Day, July 4 to Patriot’s Day on Sept. 11. It’s an easy painting project students in fifth grade and older should be able to complete.
The bracelet can be made from glass beads, using glass paint, or from plastic beads using Testor’s model paint (the paint used to decorate plastic model car kits.) There are two kinds of glass paint; one that has to be baked, and one that air dries. For this project, the air dry kind is best.
The trick is getting the beads to dry without letting them roll over onto the wet paint, making the design smear. Before you start painting, put a round wooden tooth pick through the hole of the bead, pressing the bead down for a snug fit. Hold the toothpick as you paint the flag design. Then, press the other end of the toothpick into a piece of craft foam or florist foam to let the paint dry.
An assembly line method works well, and eliminates having to clean the brush too often. Paint all of the blue fields first. Paint all of the red stripes second (the top and bottom stripes on a flag are red). Fill in the white stripes. By this time, the blue field should be dry enough to add some dots for stars.
When the paint is dry, usually 24 hours depending on the paint used, remove the toothpick and assemble the beads into a bracelet using other jewelry findings and elastic cord. If the cord is too thick to tie, you’ll have to join the ends together with a crimp bead. A crimp bead is a small metal tube. Push one end of the elastic in from the right, and one end in from the left. Use a pair of pliers to smash the bead and compress the cord. Trim the ends of the elastic as close to the crimp bead as possible.
If the paint used needs to be baked, take the beads off of the toothpicks and lay they on a wire cooling rack used for making cookies. Do not bake Styrofoam.