Perfectly Fitting Bracelets, Every Time!
Bracelet length and wrist circumference are VERY different things. Your bracelet length is always going to be larger than your wrist circumference. ALWAYS.
If you make bracelets to sell, keeping this top of mind helps prevent unhappy customers, a bunch of returns and a lot of angst (or worse, your customers won't buy from you again and you’ll never know why).
Measuring bracelets out straight will never yield an accurate measurement because it's the inner diameter of the bracelet that matters when it comes to a good wrist fit (measuring out straight only focuses on the center line measurement).
Once the bracelet is tied into a circle, you'll lose precious length because the width of the beads themselves will cut into the area of the circle (the larger the beads, the more length you'll lose) – this results in bracelets that are too tight.
Feelin' stumped? Hate math? Don't worry – we've created a handy bracelet calculator to do the math for you! (Scroll down to check it out)
How to Measure Your Wrist for a Perfect Fit
Have customers measure their wrists with a measuring tape; this will tell you their wrist circumference.
*If they don't have a measuring tape, a strip of paper will do! Have your customer wrap the paper strip around their wrist, mark at the point of overlap, then lay the strip of paper against a regular ruler. This is also their wrist circumference.
Then just input their wrist circumference and the size of the beads you're using into the bracelet calculator below. The results will tell you the minimum length you'll need to string to have their bracelet fit perfectly!
Adding ease to the strung length will mean a more comfortable fit for the wearer. Ease can be anywhere from ¼" to 1½" Different types of bracelets will require different amounts of ease:
Measuring for Stretch Bracelets
Stretch bracelets can be made to fit within 0" to +½" of the wrist circumference for a comfortable fit.
If you're worried about an exact fit, you may want to add ¼" to the length for a little ease that won't leave the bracelet moving around so much as it's worn.
Measuring for Clasp Bracelets
Standard bracelets strung on tiger tail wire or knotted cord are generally made a little larger to accommodate easy on/off with the clasp. The safest bet is to add ¼" of beads and then a 1½" - long chain extender for the lobster clasp.
*Magnetic clasps don't need as much ease built in, since they're much easier to put on than lobster clasps. Adding ½" to the beaded length plus the magnetic clasp is usually sufficient, and the resulting bracelet won't be too lose (which is extra important for this style of clasp).
Measuring for Bangle Bracelets
Bangles should be based on the measurement of the widest part of the hand, since this style of bracelet doesn't feature a clasp at all.
To measure, have customers fold their fingers and thumb inward (kind of like a flipper) and measure around the widest part; usually around the knuckles of the palm.
Then subtract ½" (I know – this sound so counterintuitive!). I subtract from the circumference here because hands can generally shimmy through the small space in a wire bangle.
A measuring tape is soft and using the true measurement can result in bangles that are too big and, well, bangle-y. There's nothing more annoying than a bangle that sits halfway down your palm.
Keeping bangle bracelets as snug as possible to the widest part of the hand means they can be worn without majorly annoying the wearer.
Play around with bracelet lengths for yourself. Find the ones that fit you best, and see how they measure up to your own hand and wrist measurements. The more you test, the better your bracelet fits will be!
Want an even easier time of it? Shop bracelet design boards that measure for you here!