What's Your Favorite Type of Clasp for Bracelet Making Projects?

Nov 2, 2012

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.

Easy Clasps

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.

Security Clasps

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!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


Related Posts
+ Add a comment

Comments

penny_h wrote
on Nov 2, 2012 2:56 AM

Very disappointed in the move to zinio. It's a horrible platform to use. Such a shame.

bettsi wrote
on Nov 2, 2012 11:09 AM

I love the magnetic clasps because they are so easy to use, but I did not know that folks with pacemakers shouldn't use them! Thank you for sharing that!

BethM@3 wrote
on Nov 2, 2012 12:12 PM

Thanks for the great reminders on using quality clasps and the different kinds.  I have a tip to share.  When adding the clasp ends to a beadwoven bracelet, be sure to NOT use the same continuous thread that you used for beadweaving -- the beadwork threads should all be knotted off and woven in before adding the clasp.  Use a separate thread for the clasp.  This way, if the clasp breaks or you otherwise want to replace the clasp, you can cut off the old one without worry that the beadwork will come undone.  

(Don't ask me how I know to do this now...)

padali30 wrote
on Nov 2, 2012 12:58 PM

Clasps deffinately make or break a bracelet. These days I design a bracelet around a clasp, or I simply design a beaded loop with a gemstone for a clasp. I don't like magnetic clasps, I find that most don't hold together well and I don't like the way they look. A lot of people ask why I don't use them in my pieces and I tell them why. I'd rather just make my own.

popspet wrote
on Nov 2, 2012 1:13 PM

I have always loved the clasps that fold over and snap closed. Unfortunately, they all have magnets and with my mother having a pacemaker that's out. As far as my favorite---it depends on the bracelet and what goes with it.

alice schoen wrote
on Nov 2, 2012 5:11 PM

sometimes I have to wait for "the perfect clasp"  but want to wear the jewelry immediately, so i take two split rings - the oval ones are better! - and fix any clasp. I can change it very easy, ita also a good solution for magnetic clasp if they loose their strength after a while

cweisflute wrote
on Nov 2, 2012 9:17 PM

I always put the safety chain on my bracelets so as never to worry about clasp failure

on Nov 2, 2012 9:31 PM

I used a toggle on a bracelet without realizing that the toggle bar was too short.  By the time I was ready to leave the house, the bracelet had fallen off 3 or 4 times.  It matched my outfit but I couldn't wear it that day.  Had  to restring it and use a different clasp.  The toggle came from a previously reliable source.  So, always check your clasps before you use them!

Aunty Akoya wrote
on Nov 3, 2012 5:04 PM

thats just like my experience, lost to much bracelets, so i stopped rushing ...anyway it is not easy all the time to find one which suits perfect. for the magnets that i prefer on bracelets, i only choose very strong ones now, and maybe even add a (whats the engl word?) little savety chain that is not eyecatching.

PurpleLynn wrote
on Nov 3, 2012 9:32 PM

Thanks from me as well for the info on clasps for bracelets.  Has anyone had the problem of magnetic clasps on a bracelet grabbing hold of something else, like a metal door, while wearing them?  Since this happened to me, I don't like to use this type of clasp for a bracelet.

dianna@17 wrote
on Nov 5, 2012 9:52 AM

It is my firm belief that the clasp makes the bracelet/necklace.  So before I secure a clasp on a bracelet, I always say in my head "Is this bracelet/necklace worthy of the clasp?"  In reality, I am saying does the clasp enhance the project in some way.  

dlmoores wrote
on Nov 5, 2012 11:34 AM

Clasps and a couple of tips I learnt: Never purchase a toggle clasp without trying it out first: sometimes the 'T' section doesn't even fit through the 'O' section, grrr!

Don't buy any toggles that have an asymetrical 'T' section (ie. a pretty little flower on only one end),,, the 'T' is unbalanced and doesn't hang properly and the clasp will tend to come undone very easily  (add a safety chain!!).

Always allow the toggle parts to hang loosely! Ie.Do Not wire or sew the toggle parts onto your bracelet such that they cannot freely move and hang.You should see them 'dangle' off your bracelet. It is this movement that allows them to catch on to each other and hold the bracelet together.

Every magnetic clasp has the potential to come apart, especially in a coat sleeve!

alsdaughter wrote
on Nov 5, 2012 11:57 AM

I have had the same experience as PurpleLynn.  I made a bracelet for a friend who wanted a magnetic clasp.  She lost the bracelet for several weeks then discovered that it had attached itself to the handlebars of the baby stroller she kept at her house for occasions when she babysat her grandchild.  Another time she lost if for a few days then discovered it attached to the side of her refrigerator.  I replaced the magnetic clasp on her bracelet with a toggle and she has not lost it since. Now, I use magnetic clasps only on necklaces.

AngelaY2 wrote
on Nov 5, 2012 12:05 PM

For me, it's almost always one of two clasps: the reliable lobster claw or a button ("trailer hitch") clasp. The lobster has never failed me, but it doesn't always lay correctly. The trailer hitch is easy to operate and is a little more forgiving in terms of directionality. I'll never advocate a magnetic clasp to anyone again. I had one so strong that it hurt if you got your finger or arm in the way when it came together, but I didn't notice I'd lost a bracelet until the end of a very busy day.

Amybeader wrote
on Nov 7, 2012 1:49 PM

I make a lot of spiral rope bracelets. My standard clasp for those is a bead and loop. It's just so easy to attache and to enhance the bracelet with a bead that compliments the colors in the bracelet.

My other favorite is the toggle clasp. For most people, the toggle clasp can be worked one-handed, which makes it a good clasp for bracelets.

on Nov 8, 2012 8:57 AM

Regarding: What's Your Favorite Type of Clasp for Bracelet Making Projects?

I have to admit that making a clasp is my least favorite thing to do when I finish a bracelet or necklace..... I always have a hard time with that part of my creations.  Never can quite make up my mind.  Most of the time I will use the beads that I used to make the bracelet, as I don't have to worry about the beads not matching.

on Nov 19, 2012 10:06 AM

My favorite type bracelet is made with memory wire, so no clasp is required and it fits a variety of wrist sizes. Most of the bracelets on my Etsy store [Betty's Bead Soup] use this. One tip for this type bracelet: if you use many large heavy beads to make it up, make sure it's at least three loops long or better - otherwise, if you make a sudden gesture with your arm, the bracelet's weight may pull it off your wrist, to go sailing across the room. (Ask me how I know...)  Also, the oval shaped memory wire works well. (Only people with patience for tedium should use the ring-sized wire...)