Thursday, December 25, 2008

Crimp Covers 101

Several years ago when I started adding crimp covers to my beaded bracelets and necklaces, I thought I would never get the hang of producing consistent results. I was convinced that the crimp covers would allow my designs to grow to the next level of finished, professional looking pieces...but the initial frustration almost started to outweigh the benefits.

Darn, those little crimp covers were small! And how were you supposed to make them look like a small bead vs. a glob of smashed sterling silver? Have you ever tried cutting off a smashed crimp bead without ruining the crimp and the jewelry wire? Ask me how I know that this is nearly impossible...ask me how I loathe starting over!

But being the persistant gal that I am, I didn't give up easily. I found a way that works for me, and that is what I am about to show you. To practice this little tutorial, you will need:

1. a finished, beaded bracelet on jewelry wire that has been crimped to the clasp

2. a crimp bead that "fits" the size of crimp you used
(I use 2 x 2 mm sterling silver crimps and 3.2 mm sterling silver crimp covers from Aunties Beads.)

3. a pair of crimping pliers

First, place the crimp cover behind the crimp and hold in place with your non-dominant hand. Use your other hand to grasp the crimp bead with your pliers. I am right-handed, but this should work just as easily for lefties.

Second, use the first notch of the crimping pliers to squeeze the crimp bead *mostly* closed. Don't over-squeeze, this only takes a tiny bit of pressure with your pliers! You will still see a slight slit in the crimp bead, but it should be almost closed when you finish this step.

Finally, grasp the crimp bead in the opposite direction with the first groove of the crimping pliers. It will seem like this is going to ruin the crimp bead, but you need just a *tiny bit* of downward pressure to close up the slight slit.

Lastly, repeat the second step if the crimp bead still needs a little more closure. It is O.K. to go back and forth between the last two steps until you are happy...just don't over-squeeze!

And with a little practice, you should have perfect crimp beads time after time! Please let me know if you found this tutorial helpful...and how did your crimp beads turn out?


KayzKreationz said...

I haven't tried using crimp beads yet. But this tutorial seemed very well done. I guess I'll have to try them. Although most of my items I don't need them. I only do a little bit of glass jewelry right now.

bead creations by dawn said...

I can't wait to try this out.. i have crimp covers but the times I have used it , it didn't come out looking nicely!


Jeanne said...

Great tutorial! I'm just starting a Tutorial Tuesday section on my blog. Can I use this some time in the future?

kathy said...

Thanks so much for your beautifully illustrated tutorial, it is difficult to do right , but with your instructions we should all have an upper hand.

Dana said...

Absolutely, Jeanne...feel free!

eddy said...

Thanks so much! Now I think I know where I've been doing it wrong...leaving out the step where you turn it halfway to close the gap!

Dave Robertson said...

Hi Dana, this would make a great handout at a workshop. Well done! FYI our site has quite a bit of free information on this & other finishing methods. Enjoy! :)

at Rings & Things

Evie's Tool Emporium said...

Excellent tutorial!

Coloraddiction said...

Hey, great tips - thanks! :) Love your blog!