Tips for beginners: Crimping on a shoestringNovember 28th, 2009 by Ava Arie
Crimp beads are placed just before the clasp or in between beads, and are used to secure the ends of the wire, and sometimes to secure the placement of beads (aka “spacers”). They are usually made of metal because they are compressed in order to hold onto the wire.
Like beads, they also come in a variety of colours, shapes, lengths and hole sizes. They typically come in a round or tube shape. The round shape flattens to a circle which may look better, but I find the tube shape easier to handle. As for the size, you should pick the crimp bead with the smallest hole size that fits the wire.
There are specific pliers made for crimping different sizes of crimp beads that you can buy for over $15 each, but if you’re a poor university student like me, a small pair of standard pliers will just have to do!
Notice that most pliers have ridges at the tip and a flat area near the joint. I try to use the flat side so that the ridges don’t appear on the crimp bead.
Once you are done stringing the bead(s), crimp beads, and your clasp (optional), loop the wire back into the crimp bead(s) and a centimeter or two of the beads. This will give extra security and prevent any unpleasant scratching from the wire ends.
Push the beads up near the clasp/loop, but remember to leave a little room for the beads to move around on the string as well as room for the loop to move around the clasp! Take the pliers and flatten the crimp bead closest to the loop. Don’t be afraid to press hard! The tighter the crimp bead is on the wire, the less likely it will slip off after your piece has been worn for a while.
This is the tricky part: carefully use the flat part of the pliers to hold on half of the pressed crimp bead. Brace it against something flat and push so that the crimp bead forms a U-shape.
Use the flat part of the pliers to press the U-shape together, trim the extra wire…
… and you’re done!
If you want to give your beads extra security, you can crimp more than one bead at the end.
~ Ava Arie