No matter how much time and care you put into your bracelet making projects, choosing the right clasp can make all the difference in the world. Choosing a clasp that's easy to work, comfortable, and secure for your bracelet making projects might seem simple on the surface, but putting a little bit of thought into finishing your bracelet projects will be worth it.
True story: I once spent a week making an intricate peyote stitch cuff bracelet, and I was so anxious to finish it, I skimped a little on the details of adding the right clasp. It came off a couple of times the first day that I wore it to the office, but I kept putting it back on. I wanted to wear it to a conference that was coming up, but I never got around to fixing the clasp properly. During a bathroom break at the conference, I thought I saw something quite colorful in the toilet — and then realized that my beautiful peyote cuff bracelet was missing from my wrist just as I flushed. Oops!
Never again have I skimped on the details of adding the right clasp to my bracelet making projects. If you're not sure what clasp is right for your beaded bracelet, here are my favorite tips for finding the perfect bracelet clasp.
Some clasps are just easier to use than others. Toggle clasps and magnetic clasps are great for bracelet making projects because they can easily be opened and closed using just one hand. Hook and eye clasps are another easy option for closing your bracelets.
Sizing your bracelet properly is very important if you're going to use a toggle or hook and eye clasp. If the finished bracelet is too big or too light (think a single strand of pearls or crystal beads and seed beads), there won't be enough tension to hold the clasps in place. Toggle clasps work very well for bracelets with heavy, chunky gemstones and ceramic beads.
Always remember when using a magnetic clasp that they should not be worn by anyone who has a pacemaker or other electric cardiac device.
|My two favorite types of bracelet clasps: slide lock clasps (on the left) and decorative box clasps (on the right). Box clasps all from A Grain of Sand.|
If you're looking for a clasp that's a little more secure, think about using a slide lock clasp or a box clasp. The longer slide lock clasps are perfect for wide peyote stitch cuff bracelets (like the one that I accidentally flushed down the toilet all those years ago), and many box clasps come with an extra tiny chain attached for even more security.
A slide lock clasp basically slides into place and uses friction to keep the two pieces together. Slide lock clasps are usually made with either several loops for multi-strand jewelry-making projects, or with open bars through which you can slide a piece of flat bead-weaving like peyote stitch or herringbone stitch.
Box clasps consist of a folded metal tab on one side, and a hollow box on the other. To open and close the box clasp, you gently squeeze down on the folded metal tab and insert it into the hollow end. Some of these clasps, like pearl clasps, have a small hook for the folded metal tab, or come with a small length of chain to hold the clasp in case it fails. An added benefit of using a box clasp is that they come in a wide range of designs, sometimes with vintage crystals or cabochons set into them — some of them are beautiful enough to be used as focal points in your bracelet making projects!
Choose Quality Jewelry Clasps
Something else to keep in mind is that not all clasps are manufactured equally. By this, I mean that it pays to spend a little extra on a good, sturdy, high-quality clasp for your bracelet making projects than to skimp and use something that's not made very well.
You can tell if a clasp is poorly made because the parts won't fit together properly, or it won't stay closed. I also stay away from barrel clasps or clasps where the parts screw together — in the long run, the threads could wear smooth, and then you'll have to replace the entire clasp.
When you're choosing a jewelry clasp, look for pieces that are well-made, meaning that there are no rough edges to catch your beading wire on, no spots where any metal plating may have rubbed off, and loops that are sturdy for attaching your strung beads.
I used to be one of those people that would cringe at the idea of spending more than a few dollars on a really well-made clasp, but I have another confession to make: at this year's Bead Fest Philadelphia, I splurged and bought some really well-made metal clasps that cost me upwards of $80 each! I have no idea what to make with them, but you better believe that it's going to be something with a lot of very nice gemstones.
Skip the Clasp Completely
If you don't happen to have the right clasp handy or want to make a beaded bracelet without a clasp, there are other options for you! Why not use a button and a seed bead loop? Or you can make a bracelet on some good stretchy elastic cord. Another option is to make a bangle bracelet, something that's long enough to slide over your closed hand and stay on your wrist without any kind of closure at all. Use your imagination when designing your bracelets, and see what you can come up with!
Fresh Ideas for Bracelet Making Projects
I don't often make bracelets for myself, but bracelets make great gifts for friends, co-workers, and teachers around holiday time. (Yes, I said it. The holidays are coming up!) If you're looking for some great bracelet making gift ideas for the holidays, now is the perfect time to check out 101 Bracelets, Necklaces, and Earrings. One hundred and one jewelry-making projects categorized by color make it easier than ever to find just the right bracelet making project for someone special. You'll find the great step-by-step project instructions that you've come to expect from Jewelry Stringing and Beadwork magazines, and a complete resource guide for all the materials used in each project.
And if you're anxious to get a jump on your bracelet making projects, you can instantly download 101 Bracelets, Necklaces, and Earrings through Zinio. In just a few minutes, you can be reading and beading on your favorite tablet, laptop, or desktop computer! Download your copy of 101 Bracelets, Necklaces, and Earrings and see all the ways that you can find the perfect clasp for your bracelet making projects.
Have you found the ideal way to finish your beaded bracelets? Do you usually make a lot of the same type of bracelet? Personally, when I make a beaded bracelet, it's most likely to be a bead embroidered cuff bracelet, so I don't usually worry too much about a clasp. But if you like to make peyote cuffs bracelets, what do you use? Do you prefer multi-strand bracelets of strung beads? Leave a comment and share your thoughts and your tips here on the Beading Daily blog!