DIY Painted Tribal Bracelets

by Alicia on February 17, 2012

DIY Painted Tribal Bracelets (2a)

Here’s the DIY I demonstrated in the Teen Vogue lounge at MAGIC- tribal-inspired bangle bracelets. I felt very Martha Stewart (call me!) as I had all my samples ready for each stage of the project.

To start you’ll need some wooden bangle bracelets. You can find them at the craft store or buy them online like I did from the aptly named I used the 1/4” wide bangles with the flat (as opposed to domed) exterior.


DIY Painted Tribal Bracelets (3)

The first step is to stain the entire bangle and unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of this. I mixed a bit of brown or black acrylic paint with some white paint and water and brushed it on the entire bracelet. Then I grabbed a paper towel and wiped away the paint while it was still wet so the wood grain showed through. I did a slightly different paint mix for each bangle so that none of them are exactly alike but there’s no real science to it.

DIY Painted Tribal Bracelets (4)

To make a stencil for the pattern I used address labels. Just cut a sheet of labels into thirds and then cut each square diagonally to make two triangles. Cheap and easy!

DIY Painted Tribal Bracelets (5)

Stick the triangles onto your (dry or dry-ish) bangle and press the edges down firmly. Paint the exposed wood with as many coats of paint as you like- more coats for a brighter pattern or just one for a subtle, worn look.

DIY Painted Tribal Bracelets (6)

After the paint has dried peel off the triangle stencil stickers.

DIY Painted Tribal Bracelets (7)

The finished pattern!

DIY Painted Tribal Bracelets (8)

Make a stack and wear them all together!

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsay @ Delighted Momma February 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Oh I loooove these!!! So cool. Love all the colors you used too!


Maggie February 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Super cute! But your nails are awesome too, when are you doing a tutorial for those?


Alicia February 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm

The nails are Sally Hanson Mod Squad – no tutorial required!


Bri Land February 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Really like these! I may have to borrow them sometime… :-)


Alicia February 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Anytime :)


Megan February 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Simple, cute, and totally creative. great diy post!


Crissy February 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

These are so creative!


Alicia February 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm



Rachel February 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm

These turned out great! Pinning to my must-make list :-)


Krysten February 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Oh fun, I like!


Littlechrissy February 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Just stumbled across your blog from Australia and am pleased I did – love these bangles!


Alicia February 27, 2012 at 11:57 am

Thanks Chrissy!


Nelle February 28, 2012 at 4:14 pm

The request I’m about to make may not receive a warm response, but I’m wondering if you’d consider changing the title of your post? Maybe just to “tribal-inspired”, though geometric, stripe, wooden, or neon bangles may be less innocuous. These bracelets aren’t really indicative of any ethnic tribe’s art or jewelry, and calling them “tribal” may offend those who feel their culture is being appropriated. It’s just a suggestion. Right now in fashion there is a trend to call things “tribal”, “African”, or even by actual tribal names such as “Navajo”, without any accountability to these people and their culture. This isn’t a mean-spirited remark, but I do want to note the harm that can be done to a people when we strip meaning from their cultural objects and turn them around and use them in the name of fashion without concern for their origination. Thanks.


Alicia February 28, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Hi Nelle – No stress, I appreciate your feedback. I’ve read a bit about this before and titled the project the way I did mostly because I thought that saying tribal was a way to reference the inspiration for the project but generic enough to not misappropriate any particular culture.


Nellie March 2, 2012 at 11:01 am

I appreciate you not taking it personally. It’s so hard to discuss these things without people feeling attacked.


olugbemisola March 2, 2012 at 7:54 am

Great project, and I love the sticker technique. I very much appreciate Nelle’s comments, and agree. I’m not clear on the use of the word “tribal” here. Were the bracelets inspired by a particular ethnic group? I think it would be nice to indicate that in the post.


Soccer Mom Style a.k.a. Maya March 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I just saw this, Alicia. So cute!


Andrea Howe March 9, 2012 at 9:15 am

These came out so fantastic! Love them :)


Amanda Sparks November 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Fantastic! These are so cool. They would make great gifts for the holidays!

Thanks for sharing!


Zoe June 25, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I did them, they’re amazing! I love them!! <333


Alicia June 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Yay, so happy to hear it!


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