Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

July 29, 2011

How to String Beads, Add a Clasp, and Use a Set of Crimp Pliers (Plus a DIY Beaded Bracelet Project)


The blogger behind Twelve Months Poems asked an excellent question regarding the felted wool necklace I made: how did I string the beads?  For anyone who is curious, here is a bead-stringing tutorial, including how to attach a clasp and how to use crimp beads and crimp pliers.  Please excuse my awful nails - some red nail polish did a number on them and they look terrible. 

Supplies:
  • Bead stringing wire (a soft, coated wire; beadalon is what I use - make sure the diameter/gauge is right for your beads and note that it comes in different finishes)
  • Crimp beads (this pack has different sizes, which is handy)
  • Crimp pliers
  • Clasp and jump ring
  • Beads to string, metal spacers if you desire (thank you, Captain Obvious)
  • A large needle - if you're stringing your felt beads, not required for beads with drilled holes

Crimp pliers

See the two sections? One with just a half circle on opposite sides,
the other with a half circle across from two half circles.

Crimp beads.

Here's how you use the crimp pliers.  Use the part of the pliers closest to the handle (half circle across from two half circles - see photos at beginning of this post) and gently squeeze the crimp bead.  The crimp pliers with smoosh the crimp bead into a figure eight (next photo).


Crimp bead squished into figure eight.

Then use the second part of the pliers (half circle across from half circle) to create a "C' from the two loops of the figure eight.  Gently squeeze to close the newly formed "C".  This will lock the wires in place.  At this point you can also cover the crimp with a special crimp bead cover that I rarely bother with.



Here is the technique in action (I made a bracelet).  The steps are basically the same, except I first thread a lobster clasp onto the wire and then slid the crimp onto the wire, "trapping" the clasp.


I used the technique outlined above, locking the crimp bead in place just below the clasp.


Here is the crimp bead closed.


Then I proceeded to string on my beads.  If you are stringing felted wool beads, thread the coated beading wire through a needle first.  You will need a needle to pierce your densely felted balls.


At the end of the bracelet I added a crimp bead, then I strung the wire through a split ring and then back through the crimp bead and a few other beads.




Then I pulled the wire nice and tight and repeated the crimp closing procedure.  I trimmed the excess wire and started wearing my bracelet!


Voila!


Easy peasy.  But I've probably made a hundred necklaces and bracelets (many of which are taken apart and recreated when I get bored) so please let me know if you need any clarification of any of the steps (or if you know of a better way!). 
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7 comments

  1. Awww so pretty! I have that same crimping tool and I don't know how I ever functioned without it.
    It's the best!

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  2. i'm laughing because i'm constantly making something, getting bored with it and re-making. oh and the hair (previous post) looks great too...

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  3. great tutorial. very specific. thanks!

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  4. Very pretty! And great tutorial. Easy to follow. :)

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  5. Why do my crimp beads eventually break, causing the whole piece to fall apart (of course)?

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    Replies
    1. Good question! I have only had a few break on me over the years and I think I know why. If they have been bent too many times the metal can get fatigued. When I'm closing one, if it doesn't go right the first time, I discard and grab a new one. Also, there are different levels in quality and cheaper, weaker metal can give away more easily. I recommend finding a local bead shop and speaking to someone about getting good quality crimps. Other than poor quality or metal fatigue, the only other time I have had one break is if I had a super heavy necklace with heavy beads - I think the weight of the necklace just strained it too much. But that only happened once. Hope this helps :)

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