This week we will discuss all the fun ways to make bracelets. Handcrafted bracelets can look artsy or elegant, depending on the jewelry design.
There are so many ways to make bracelets, from forming your own cuff bracelets out of metal to knitting wire in elaborate patterns, from making a wire-wrapped bracelet to knotting a simple leather rope around your wrist. These next posts will help you learn how to make traditional artisan bead bracelets with toggle clasps.
Before getting started, you must understand what types of findings are needed for your project. First the most important finding on any bracelet is the closure. Jewelry clasps or closures hold necklace and bracelet ends together. Choosing a type of clasp depends on function as well as the option to incorporate the look into the overall design of the piece of jewelry. Some clasps secure better than others do but beware they may be more difficult to manipulate.
If your closure is too hard to close you will get frustrated and probably stop wearing it. We have all been there – it is early in the morning before you have had your first cup of coffee and you can’t get your bracelet on. And we all know what happens next – you put it in your pocket thinking you will tackle that clasp when you get to work. Well guess what – that pesky bracelet is still in your jacket pocket from last year! So I suggest using a toggle clasp. They are the ideal clasp for bracelets since they are easy to get on one-handed. If you are daring, you can also use other clasps such as a lobster claw clasp or a box clasp, but remember they are a bit harder to close with one hand. Below is a summary of the various types of clasps and closures.
A toggle clasp has an open, centered component attached to one end of the chain. This component can be round, square or oval. The other end of the chain fits with a T-bar, which inserts into the hole. The toggle clasp using round or square openings are easier to put on and take off and stay more secure than the one with an oval opening
A box clasp holds one end of a chain with a fitted boxed housing with a notch in it. A lever formed from a flat piece of metal folded over fits into the notch like a tongue when compressed. Releasing the folded metal, once it’s inserted into the notch, secures it inside the box. To release this type of clasp, simply press the two ends of the protruding lever together and pull out of the box.
Hook and Eye
One of the most traditional and easy-to-use clasps is the hook and eye. The hook attached to one end of the bracelet or necklace secures the other end by hooking through the eye. One problem with this type of clasp is the possibility of the hook stretching and coming apart from the eye. But a sturdy hook and eye wont stretch but it will be a bit harder to close.
The lobster clasp opens by pressing a hinge, which opens a ring into a claw shape. The claw catches a loop or ring on the other end of the chain, securing the two ends together. Used to fasten heavier pieces, a spring-loaded device keeps the clasp secured. With an appearance like its namesake, the lobster claw clasp is one of the most secure choices in jewelry clasps.
The magnetic claps is a newer more modern clasp. The ends connect with a high powered magnet. This is probably the easiest to close because the magnets are attracted to each other but they won’t come apart easily because the magnets are so strong. This ensures you will have beautiful, functional designs that will stay secure. Warning: Magnetic clasps should not be worn with a pacemaker.
S Hook, S Clasp
Another of the traditional and popular fasteners is the “S” hook and clasp because of its simplicity and ease of use. Both ends are shaped like an “S” and either end may fasten into the ring attached at both ends of the chain. The S Hook is a simple and inexpensive way to finish your bracelet!
The spring ring clasp opens by pulling the arm of the clasp backwards by use of a spring-loaded apparatus. When opened, the ring clasp inserts over a loop on the other end of the chain. While these are inexpensive and simple closures, these are the hardest to close with one hand!
So now you know all about clasps and closures – stay tuned for types of wire and stringing materials! We will also help you choose the perfect beads for your bracelet project. Whether it is round beads or pearls – let’s try them all!