Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jewellery Making: Using crimping beads

More bracelet-y fun! Today we're going to make a bracelet using flexible wire and crimping beads.

I have no idea what to call this bracelet -- "Super Happy Fun Butterfly Time", perhaps? -- but this is what we're doing in craft group tonight!

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN TODAY
How to use flexible wire
How to use a crimper and crimping beads
How to string beads on a wire

WHAT YOU'VE ALREADY LEARNED
How to measure your bracelet

SUPPLIES (larger wrist size in brackets)
Stringing cable (also known as beading wire. I like to use Beadalon's 7 strand in silver)
2 crimping beads the right size for your beading wire
1 closure clasp
2 butterfly beads (you can use hearts or anything else you like here)
3 - 6 mm round beads (4)
6 - 4 mm bead caps (8)
18 light purple seed beads (21)
12 white seed beads (14)
4 bicone crystals (before & after the butterflies)

EQUIPMENT
Wire cutters
Pliers
Crimpers (optional - you can use pliers to close the crimps, but it is tidier and more secure with crimpers)

WHAT'S A CRIMPER AND CRIMPING BEAD?
A crimper is a tool used to crimp beads. Wow, that was helpful, eh? I guess the question should be: What's a crimping bead? A crimping bead is a small tubular bead used hold your beads in place on a wire or to attach a clasp. We use the crimping bead to stop the bead or wire in its track and hold it where we want it. You know those beautiful floating bead type necklaces? Those are held in place by tiny crimping beads. We are going to use them in this project to hold our clasp in place.

Check out this link at Fire Mountain Gems for how to use crimpers and crimping beads or at Rings & Things!

THE DIRECTIONS
For this project you'll want to cut your wire about 4 inches (10 cm) longer than your desired finished size. If you want a 7 inch (17.5 cm) bracelet, you'll want to cut the wire about 11 inches.

String your bracelet first. (If you are totally sure of the length of your pattern, you can start off by crimping one end of the clasp to one end, but if you do this and you aren't happy with the length of the bracelet, well...you'll have to take all the beads off and start again if you want to add something more.)

Tape one end of the wire down to a table or desk, then thread the beads onto the wire in this fashion...
seed beads: purple, white, purple, white, purple
bead cap, round purple bead, bead cap
seed beads: purple, white, purple, white, purple
bicone crystal
butterfly
bicone crystal
seed beads: purple, white, purple, white, purple
bead cap, round purple bead, bead cap
seed beads: purple, white, purple, white, purple
(for larger wrists: add another bead cap, round purple bead, bead cap, seed bead pattern)
bicone crystal
butterfly
bicone crystal
seed beads: purple, white, purple, white, purple
bead cap, round purple bead, bead cap
seed beads: purple, white, purple, white, purple.

STRINGING & MEASURING: Hold both ends very carefully and see if it will fit your wrist (by now, I hope you've cut the fabric to size so you can use that as a measure, so you don't have to move this around much and risk losing your beads!) If it does, you're done stringing beads. If it doesn't, then add a little to either end - seed beads or the round purple beads - until it fits.

CRIMPING: Now the crimping bead part...don't be nervous! You should have quite a lot of wire left on either end of the bracelet. Keep one end taped down because we don't need it yet and you don't want your beads falling off when you pick it up!

(For a pictorial, please click here or here!) Take one end and thread a crimping bead on it. Now thread one side of the clasp onto this end. Now thread the end of the wire through the crimping bead to make a loop. You may want to trim the end of the wire at this point to leave about 1 inch (2.5 cm) or so. I like to thread the end of the wire through the first few beads because I've found cutting the wire too short can make it fray and come off! So thread the wire through the first few beads, now crimp the crimping bead using the crimping section of your crimper. Then turn the bead half way, and round it using the rounding section of the crimper. You're done!

Do the same thing on the other side of the bracelet. It is going to be harder to thread the wire through the beads as this side is tighter than the other. You're done. Rejoice!

NECKLACE MAKING
Making a necklace is exactly the same process as making a bracelet, only you'll want it to be longer. You'll have to figure out what size suits you best, then cut a piece of fabric to that length as a measuring guide. If you are going to make yourself a necklace with a pendant (using the making a charm with one loop technique), then you will want to make sure it is exactly in the middle, so don't crimp your ends at the start. This can be tricky, but it's all a matter of trial and error.

JEWELLERY YOU CAN MAKE NOW THAT YOU'VE LEARNED CRIMPING!

1 comment:

Dave Robertson said...

Hi SwiftCraftyMonkey, I like how you include alternate information for making larger sizes. Very user friendly. My compliments -- and thank you for pointing out some favorite Rings & Things jewelry projects. :)

--Dave
at Rings & Things