Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beading Basics

This is taken from today's Beading Daily Newsletter

Tips for Perfect Crimps

Jul 26, 2011
I've seen some pretty bad crimping jobs since I started making beaded jewelry. My own first crimps were pretty darn bad, too. I used the wrong kind of crimp, and I never used a crimping pliers. (I didn't even know what a pair of crimping pliers WAS!) My strung jewelry would fall apart after just a few wears, and I didn't know what to do about it. Enter the crimping pliers, one of my favorite jewelry making tools, and probably the most important jewelry making tool for making professional-looking beaded jewelry. Especially if you want to sell your beaded jewelry, learning how to properly use your crimping pliers is important for making beaded jewelry that will last.
First, let's review the basics of proper crimping:

First, we need to get to know your crimping pliers a little better. If you look inside, you'll see that there are two wells: one with a little notch in it, and other one that is perfectly smooth. For successful crimping, you'll use both of these wells to fasten and secure your crimp bead.

The first thing you want to do when you insert your beading wire into the crimp bead is to make sure that the strands of the beading wire do not cross. They should be lined up next to each other.
Place the crimp into the notched well of your crimping pliers and press down firmly. You should now have a little indent in the middle of your crimp bead.

Turn the crimp bead sideways and place it into the smooth well of your crimping pliers. Gently squeeze the sides of the crimp bead together, like closing the pages of a book. Sometimes I'll place the closed crimp in the very tips of my crimping pliers and give it one more gentle squeeze to make sure that it's securely closed.
Like any important skill for making beaded jewelry, learning how to close your crimp beads properly takes time and practice. Once you have the basics mastered, there are other ways that you can make your finished crimp beads look more professional:
  1. Use crimp covers. These tiny little round findings are designed to slip over your crimps and can be closed gently using a pair of flat nose pliers.
  2. Don't scrimp on your crimps. The price of sterling silver and other precious metals is going up, but you should still insist on buying precious metal crimps for your beaded jewelry. High-quality crimp beads will not only give your beaded jewelry a professional looking finish, but they will also make it less likely that your beaded jewelry will fall apart.
  3. Match your crimps and your beading wire. If you don't use french bullion to cover the ends of your beading wire, make sure that your crimps match your beading wire. Maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, but it makes me nuts to see a gold-filled crimp on a piece of silver beading wire.
  4. Make your loop large enough. Before you smash your crimp, insert a beading awl or another similar beading tool in the loop between the clasp and the crimp. You don't want to have your loop so tight that you can't move the clasp in order to open and close it.
  5. Reduce the stress on your beading wire. One way to prevent excess wear on your finished piece of beaded jewelry is to string an accent bead after your crimp and before your clasp. Adding a bead between the clasp and the crimp will keep the beading wire from rubbing up against the crimp bead.

Do you have a favorite style or brand of crimp bead? What are you favorite tips for making perfect crimps? Share them here on the Beading Daily blog!
If you can't get enough glass beads and want to try some new creative jewelry projects, then you have to take a look at Designing Jewelry with Glass Beads by Stephanie Sersich. You'll find twenty gorgeous and inventive glass bead jewelry projects designed by a master glass bead maker. You'll find stringing projects as well as beading projects that use fibers, glass and metal beads!
Bead Happy,

I tell beaders whom are just starting that nothing is as important as the basics.  Start with quality basics: good wire (I only use Soft-Flex), good crimps (2x2 sterling silver crimps or gold filled are the best, I also use copper and gunmetal as warranted), and take your time to make the crimps not only look good, but that they are secure.  No point in making jewelry if it doesn't hold together!  You also don't want to spend money on making a fabulous beaded piece only to have a ratty, smashed crimp at the clasp.  Sherry Serafini taught us that the back of a piece is just as important as the front in bead embroidery and I teach that with beading even the basics.  You don't want a piece you are proud of but embarrassed to show the clasp!  Another thing I teach beginners is "don't be afraid to start over".  Don't be wasteful, but know when to say when and cut off the offending piece and redo it!  What tips do you share with other beaders that are beginning?


Beadroe said...

I personally like the twisted crimp or tornado crimp. They never have failed for me. But they are not the prettiest things so I always use a cover.

Pixybug Designs said...

I have never used any twisted ones, and I haven't tried the "scrimps" that screw/crimp. I went through a phase with the crimp covers, but now I mostly use those to cover silver and gold crimps that don't match up to copper or gunmetal or antique brass if I can't find my matching crimps.

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