Beaded Watch with Your Favorite Clasp

Feb 27, 2008

Meet Your Favorite Clasp: The Toggle

"I never met a toggle that I did not like!" 


Those were the words of one Beading Daily reader--and more than 50% of the nearly 1,000 readers who voted recently on their favorite clasp agreed!

Why do you like toggle clasps so much? Most readers said that unlike other closures, you can make a toggle clasp a design element, rather than have it fade into the background. Use a striking toggle clasp as the center of your necklace or choose one that highlights the "theme" of your necklace. Or hang pendants or beads from the ring part of the toggle, as Catherine Kenyon does in the Jeweled Disks necklace below.


Here are three more reasons you like toggles:

  • Variety: Toggles are available in a range of metals, sizes, and clever shapes (such as heart and arrow, or teapot and spoon).
  • Easy to fasten: Several readers mentioned that toggles were especially easy for people with arthritis to use. It's also possible to open and close them with one hand.
  • Customer favorite: One member wrote, "I was selling my jewelry at a craft fair and I had a mix of magnetic, lobster claw, and toggle clasps. By the end of the afternoon, I had sold all my toggle clasp bracelets. I sold only five of the lobster clasp bracelets and two of the magnetic clasp bracelets."

Jeweled Disks by Catherine Kenyon

Second Most Favorite Clasp 


The second most popular clasp (20%) was the lobster clasp which readers felt was secure and affordable, plus blended unobtrusively into the design.

Left: The Silver and Sparkle Bracelet by Donna Kraidman uses a lobster clasp.

Project: Beaded Watch with Toggle Clasp 

As promised, here is a new project featuring the most popular type of clasp.

I personally like beaded watches--there's something very appealing about jewelry that is both practical and beautiful--so I was happy to find this Time Out watch by Donna Kraidman. If you're not into watches, you can easily make this into a bracelet by simply adding an additional Kazuri bead in place of the watch face. (Kazuri beads are hand painted ceramic beads from Africa.)

Design tip: Notice how this watch uses a monochromatic color palette (blue), but mixes patterns (polka dots/swirls). The color gives it a polished, professional look, but the mix of patterns (particularly the use of polka dots) adds a touch of whimsy and fun--the jewelry equivalent of a fun T-shirt worn with a suit jacket.

Project: Time Out by Donna Kraidman

Note:  The free period for this project has ended.  Instructions are now available in the Beading Daily store.

But What Kind of Clasp Do People Really Use?

This may shock you, but sometimes people say one thing in polls ("I love broccoli for dessert!") and do something else in real life ("Mmm. . . double fudge mocha almond ice cream!"). In the interest of beading science, I decided to look at the Spring 2008 issue of Stringing and see what kinds of clasps were actually used by designers. The results were exactly the same for necklaces. For bracelets, toggles were also the top choice, but the second most popular clasp--by one design--were box clasps.  In the last issue of Beadwork (February/March 2008), toggles won out for bracelets, but hook-and-eye closures were the top for necklaces.  So, love 'em or leave 'em, you can't get away from toggle clasps!

Surprised by these results?  What's been your experience?  Love toggle clasps?  Hate them?  Share your comments on the website. 

Glass Bead Design Challenge - Last Chance! 

Have you submitted your challenge entry yet? Design a necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings with any type of glass beads and you could win a cool new beading book or a beautiful starfish lampwork pendant by Stephanie Sersich. Deadline is Sunday, March 2, 2008. Enter the Glass Bead Challenge

Michelle Mach shares free beading projects and tips every Friday on Beading Daily. If you have questions or comments for Michelle (including suggestions for future free projects or poll questions), please post them here on the website. Thanks!

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MaryH@172 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 2:43 PM
Toggle clasps look good and are available in lots of wonderful designs. But, I hate wearing them. They turn over and poke me with the bar. Box clasps are classy, lobster are cheap, I stick to them depending on the project.
nightbeader wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 3:05 PM
I do bead weaving so I make my clasps out of a peyote tube and loop. I like my clasps to match the work.

Beadily yours
AudreyS@26 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 3:06 PM
Toggles are great because of the wide selection of styles and sizes available and because of this they are my clasp of choice. I also use infinity lobster clasps if the piece is heavier or if customer preference prevails. However, nothing beats a big beautiful clasp as a focal point on a piece. It really depends on the piece and what the design is saying to me.
Kelli@23 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 3:08 PM
Toggles are easy for most people, but they are also prone to opening and letting the piece fall off. Jewelry falling off and getting lost is one of the top complaints I hear from people. Mostly it's earrings, but also bracelets with toggles. Another common complaint is difficulty in using a given clasp. Since I hate complaining, I use only the easiest yet most secure clasp for a given piece. For necklaces it usually means a well-designed hook & eye that won't slide open when you move. For bracelets, it usually means a lobster for a single strand and a slider clasp for a two+ strand. For earrings, I always suggest leverbacks for best security, or using stoppers on hooks and posts. The least "loseable" earring hook I've found is Nina Design's item T1102, a small basic hook that sits snugly against the lobe--haven't heard of any problems with these babies.
ZenaH wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 3:10 PM
I like the look and feel of toggles but my customers prefer magnetic clasps, and then lobster. No matter how I try, that's what they want. They say magnetics are easiest, especially for elderly fingers.
TeresaM@41 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 3:16 PM
I prefer toggles, they are so Versatile. I make a necklace longer by adding a bracelet and hooking them together by the toggles.
FionaM@19 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 3:20 PM
I like a pretty toggle to go with a bespoke piece because I know the exact measurement. If it's made for a flea market or internet auction I prefer the reliable old "one size fits all" method of lobster clasp and extender chain.
on Feb 29, 2008 3:46 PM
I wear bracelets. If I have to use a clasp, I prefer magnetic. So easy to close the clasp without help. And if the piece is super heavy, I use a safety chain.
Barbara J.C wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 3:49 PM
I use toggles in necklaces in front as a design element. I HATE that toggles come unfastened too easily and result in the loss of the piece.

Most of my necklaces have magnetic clasps. They're great for the elderly and those with long nails. When grabbed by kids, they unfasten without breaking. I do custom extenders to make their necklaces wearable long OR short.

In bracelets, I use a large oval lobster claw fastened to a chain. It is comfortable and secure for a variety of wrist sizes. I never use magnets in bracelets, as they adhere to metal objects and can result in the loss of the piece.
PatriciaM@85 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 3:54 PM
The problem I have had with toggles is that you can lose a bracelet easily if they slip off.
CathyM@58 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 3:58 PM
I love the design use of the toggles but, as someone else said, they tend to come open and customers lose their bracelets. I have had alot of complaints for that, so i also use lobster claws.
JanetE@14 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 4:01 PM
I love toggles, but I've found that some of them pop open without my help. I've been lucky so far and haven't lost anything. My 90-year-old mother has had the problem and doesn't trust toggles any more. I saw the post about using wire and beads to make the circular opening smaller. Does it work? How can I judge that the opening is small enough to prevent surprise openings without losing the desirable ease of using the toggle?
GwenetteG wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 4:10 PM
I've had mixed luck with toggles. Some of them stay together just fine, but I have one bracelet that comes off at least once every time I wear it. I need to change the clasp. And one of my watches has a toggle, and I cannot put it on by myself. I need to change that too. My favorite watch clasp is a standard type of watch clasp (don't know what to call it), but I can't find another one.
PatsyM@3 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 4:47 PM
toggles are great for bracelets BUT I add a 'safety chain'.Folks have LOST art jewelry with just a toggle.. ALL my toggles are 'safe'
ladyleadfoot wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 5:07 PM
up until a recent class i took, i have always, always, always, used toggles. i used them because i liked (and still like) them, and they have always been chosen by my clients. however, i took a recent class on design, and wound up using a very small, slender fish hook clasp, such as one would find on a classic pearl necklace. the necklace i made was long enough to go over my head and drape well past my bosom, so i was asked why i chose a clasp. instead of telling, i showed: the necklace could be used as is as a single strand, or, with the clasp, a double strand, or even a choker. the size and shape of the clasp made it blend right in with the necklace, looking like one of the long silver spacers.
now, whenever i make a long necklace, i use a fish hook clasp of a size and shape to disappear into the design, making the piece more versatile. i haven't had a complaint about it,either. so, now, i guess i have two favorite clasps; the toggle, for all the positive reasons everyone else has mentioned, and the fish hook.
to each their own, and hooray for diversity!
smiles and God bless to all-
TheresaA@6 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 5:08 PM
Here is the irony of the toggle story. Yesterday was a colleagues birthday and I gave her a copper chainmaille bracelet with a toggle closure and that was what she kept going on about...not the bracelet but the toggle and how much she loved it. I find them so easy to use and come in so many beautiful designs. I have found that they need some weight to stay put. If the design is too lightweight they will come undone.
JudyT@37 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 5:31 PM
I personally think toggles are the stupid-est design out there! I think beaders use them because they are normally the only option available other than lobster clasps. I like a fold-over clasp (garden of beadin') and yes, you have to order them, but they are safe to use, they look professional, and are very easy for anyone to close.
KarenP@22 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 5:45 PM
For those of you who have the problem of the toggle coming apart on braclets, a few seed beads and wire attached to the round circle can keep the toggle from coming apart while wearing it. Imagine the seed beads "strung across" the inside of the circle to one side, making the size of the circle inside smaller. Also, it looks pretty good too. FYI: It doesn't usually make it harder to get the bracelt on, either.
Jmcness wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 5:58 PM
I have arthritis and the toggle clasp is definitely my favorite. I enjoy your e-mails on beading. Joann
prudyfry wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 6:42 PM
I always believed that people who consistently use toggles lack the creativity to come up with something more artistic or want a quick fix. Guaranteed that toggles used on strung projects look appropriate and add a great deal to the piece, but toggles take up too much room when you have created a beautiful bead-woven design as you loose a large portion of it to the toggle (which always manages to end up on top of the wrist with all your beautiful work on the bottom where no one sees it). If I could manage to create a continuous design without using stretch elastic, all of my bracelets would be thus constructed with no closures in sight.
toyotagrl wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 7:40 PM
For bracelets I prefer magnetic clasps. I can take them on and off with one hand quick and easily.

I have never had a problem with my bracelets adhering to something and losing it. However I do have things stick to my bracelets all the time. I almost walked out of a store with a little trinket stuck to my wrist!
RosemarieW4 wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 9:27 PM
I like to make my own toggle clasps and incorporate them into the design of the piece. I use a small peyote cylinder as the insert, and bead weave a matching circle. Sometimes I leave these design elements very plain, and other times they become the focal point of the piece. This technique also eliminates the need for crimps, etc., eliminating distracting bits of metal from the jewelry.
Mpoller wrote
on Feb 29, 2008 11:54 PM
I like toggles and also lobster clasps but my current favorite is the snap clasp. I prefer the larger size of 9mm. It's very easy to close and open and I am not good with clasps.
MaryW@111 wrote
on Mar 1, 2008 6:48 AM
I always used toggles until they started coming out with so many magnetic clasps. Now everyone is asking me to restring their toggles to magnetic. My mother in law has a pace maker. We found out she should not wear the magnetic ones.
Mary AnnC@14 wrote
on Mar 1, 2008 7:24 AM
I like toggles, but I found that if a bracelet doesn't fit perfectly they tend to open. On most of my work I use "S" clasps now since I can make them myself and they are also easy to use.
CeebH wrote
on Mar 1, 2008 9:17 AM
i mainly use toggle or box clasps as i am no longer capable of opening the lobster clasps.
on Mar 1, 2008 9:56 AM
I love toggles. But, I use lobster claws most often...
AnneM@94 wrote
on Mar 1, 2008 4:13 PM
I too love toggle clasps. However, there is one toggle clasp that I recently purchased (hill tribes silver) that refuses to lay properly when closed because the loop at the end of the toggle bar was put on incorectly by who ever made it. Instead of the loop laying horizontal to the toggle bar, the loop lays perpendicular to the toggle bar. I only discovered this after I fastened the entire clasp to the necklace I had just finished! I will be sure to check this with each toggle I place on one of my pieces. Better yet, I plan to make my own toggle clasps after I master PMC!
on Mar 2, 2008 1:46 AM
I love toggles, but they come loose to easily and I have lost several nice bracelets. Now I secure with snaps or a clawhook and chain along with a pretty toggle just for safety.
Gloryb@3 wrote
on Mar 3, 2008 1:04 AM
I like toggle clasps and have a few of them but never use them, I have trouble with lobster clasps as well. I usually use magnetic clasps as it's so easy to put them on and off.
MattS@4 wrote
on Mar 3, 2008 2:30 AM
Hallo, I am really enjoying the patterns. I don't know if I am out of line but one thing I always stuggle with is finding patterns of accessories, as too many people here sell jewelery at the craft markets, eg hair, cellphone, glasses straps, pen charms etc. Love the rings. Also thankyou gifts for weddings.
AmyK@54 wrote
on Mar 3, 2008 6:54 AM
the watch is very cute
NitzaA wrote
on Mar 4, 2008 6:01 AM
I prefer the lobster clasp because is less probable my jewelry will be lost. I thinK... If I use toogle clasp I will try to secure both sides of the work with a litle chain or beaded cord. I discover recently that I love the box clasp and the S type of clasp for their easy use.
on Mar 4, 2008 10:37 AM
I love toggles personally, but too many customers, including my sister, have lost expensive bracelets because most toggles are just not secure. Someone turns their wrist a certain way and they come right off. The toggles that seem more secure are the ones people say are hard to get on. So I use toggles primarily for necklaces, or bracelets for myself. Most of my clients prefer magnetic clasps for bracelets (I've replaced whole collections with magnetic for some people), with S-hooks or box clasps as the second choice for heavier bracelets.
LeliaG wrote
on Mar 4, 2008 11:06 AM
It depends. I prefer a good strong clasp on heavy pieces and especially on something that can get lost without it --like a watch. I use magnetic clasps on things that are light weight and for people that have arthritis. But it can be hard to find good magnetic clasps that won't come loose easily. Lobster claws work well on some things and are economical so I use them a lot.
JanH@46 wrote
on Mar 4, 2008 11:25 AM
Toggles are beautiful, they are great, so are lobsters, it's magnets I hate. haha. I lost 2 bracelts at a quilt show, fortunately quilt people are very honest and I got them back. They stick to things, and they come off, but are wonderful for putting on and off. So I just contemplate which one will work for what I'm doing then go for it, makes it fun.
FelixI wrote
on Mar 5, 2008 8:08 AM
So far it has been great, i spend a lot of time now on beads on the website,but i have a challenge.i can't buy any of the magazines bcos i don't have a credit card.Is it possible to buy through money wire/money transfer? i tend to be your distributor here in Nigeria.Please let me hear from you email is my phone no. is 234-01-7637442
SueM@100 wrote
on Mar 15, 2008 5:11 PM
I try to use ball and socket fasteners from Designers Findings whenever possible. They never come lose, the variety of colors match everything, and they are easy to use for both the jewelry artist and the wearer.
LoriB@45 wrote
on Mar 20, 2008 11:51 AM
I love toggles for casual pieces. Its fun to get creative with them. I have really long hair so I dislike using hooks for necklaces. They get tangled up in my hair. One design I like to use for necklaces is the lariat. Nothing to get tangled with my hair and I can use part of a really cool toggle to complete it right in front where it can be seen.