The recent price increase for sterling silver really hit me the last time I put together an order for sterling silver clasps and findings. It made me nervous to think that I was going to eventually have to pass on that price increase to my customers, too. After fretting about it for a few minutes, I decided to go in an entirely different direction. Feeling pretty bold after my recent success with Viking knit, I threw out the order for sterling silver clasps and instead ordered a selection of wire in assorted gauges, colors and textures. I had decided that I would start trying to make my own clasps with wire and my jewelry making tools.
Now, if you're not a fan of wire work, don't run away just yet. I'm not terribly fond of it, either. But if you can make a neat wrapped loop, chances are that you have what it takes to make some simple wire clasps and findings using the jewelry making tools that you already have. Of course, making wire clasps won't work for every piece of beaded jewelry you want to make. But it can be a fun way to make some custom clasps for your beaded necklaces and bracelets, and buying wire instead of ready-made clasps can be much more cost effective.
For an easy way to make your own wire clasps, here is how I made a couple of basic s-clasps with two different sizes of wire:
1. I cut a piece of 18-gauge wire about two inches long. On one end, I made a tiny loop and then smashed it together with my flat-nose pliers.
2. Using a wire coiling tool, I made a coil using 26-gauge wire in a contrasting color. If you don't have a coiling tool, you can use a knitting needle or a dowel or you can just skip this step.
3. I slid the coil onto the 18-gauge wire. I trimmed off a small bit of the 18-gauge wire so that the coil was almost the same length, then made another tiny loop on the other end of the 18-gauge wire. I smashed it shut with my flat-nose pliers.
4. To make the curves on either end of the clasp, I gently wrapped each end around the wide part of a pair of round-nose pliers.
And that was it! I was surprised at how easy it actually was. Even though I didn't have any color-coordinated jump rings (and I hate making jump rings) the clasp worked quite splendidly with a couple of simple seed bead loops added to either side of my beaded necklace. No, these clasps aren't perfect, but I get the feeling that I'll be making more of them. They only took a few minutes to make, and I was very happy with my results.
Have you tried making your own wire jewelry findings and clasps yet? If you want to give it a try, make sure you take a look at Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine for lots of great projects, tips and basic techniques!
Filed under: Chain Maille, Beaded Beads, Bead Making, Wire Jewelry, Seed Bead Patterns, Bead-weaving, Beading Tools, Mixed Media Jewelry, Necklace Making, Step by Step Wire Jewelry Magazine, Beaded Jewelry Design, Beads, Jewelry Making