How To Use Crimp Beads

HOW TO USE CRIMP BEADS

If you are going to complete a piece of jewelry, for example, bracelet or necklace in a stringing technique, you have to learn how to work with crimp beads. Follow our easy step-by-step instructions below on how to use crimp beads.

WHAT IS A CRIMP BEAD?

Unfamiliar with crimp beads? Crimp beads are small beads with thin walls, made to be squashed and compacted into shape using crimping tools. Crimp beads are used to hide the knots in your beaded necklace or bracelet that are holding your pieces together, but can also strengthen these points in your jewelry designs, making sure your customers receive a piece of jewelry that will last.

CRIMP BEADS VS CRIMP TUBES

Confused about which crimp to use? Don’t worry, it’s mainly down to your own preference. They will essentially give a similar finish as the crimp beads will become flattened. However, you may find that crimp tubes can be slightly less likely to crack as you squash them into place with your pliers. Remember that with crimp tubes, you can also squash them into a shape that closely resembles a bead anyway, so in the end, it really does depend on the overall effect you would like to create with your final piece.
Crimp covers are also a great option for a more professional finish, designed to fit over the crimp bead or crimp tube. They look like a bead, so it gives the design a more finished look.

Crimp Beads

Crimp beads/balls/rounds are, as you might expect, round beads, kind of like tiny donuts.

Crimp Tubes

Crimp tubes are cylindrical, like a length of tubing that has been chopped up into tiny sections. They are also a little longer and look larger than their ball counterparts, even when the diameter is the same. They typically have slightly thicker walls than crimp rounds, and are generally the type of crimps you should be using if you want your jewelry to last and stand up to wear.

WHAT SIZE CRIMPS TO USE?

Choosing the right sized crimp tube or bead is important when it comes to giving your beaded jewelry a professional finish. Although there are no hard and fast rules to go by. If the size of your crimp tube is a little too big for the wire you’re using, you may find that the crimp will not securely grip the wire in place, leaving your piece vulnerable to breaking at a later date. You should also avoid using crimp tubes that are too small for the wire you’re working with. While it may fit, if it’s too tight the wire may not sit correctly in the crimp tube, making it difficult to secure it into place.

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT CRIMP TUBE SIZES

Crimps are available in different diameters and lengths. However, jewelry makers who specialize in beading often work find that longer crimp tubes provide a more stable finish than shorter ones, but a shorter crimp may give you the neatest finish.

Crimp beads are available in different sizes, and these sizes refer to the inner diameter of their holes. Different sized crimps are applicable depending on what size beading wire you are using, how many strands in the necklace/bracelet, etc.
To start off with, I would select a 2mm crimp tube.

WHAT ARE CRIMPING PLIERS?

To secure your jewelry in the right way you need to get special tools. There are several options. Firstly, to make your jewelry look perfect, you should use special crimping pliers. You can recognize them by grooves inside of nose of the pliers. The main benefit of using crimping pliers is they allow you to get neat round shape of crimp bead. If you don't have a pair of crimping pliers, you can however also use regular chain nose pliers or flat nose pliers.

WHAT SIZE CRIMPING PLIERS TO USE?

Before you buy your own bead crimping tool you may be wondering which size will be most useful to you. Generally, there are three different sizes of crimping pliers: micro pliers, regular pliers, and mighty pliers. Very small crimp tubes (between 0.8-1mm) will require micro pliers. Those that are slightly larger (between 1-2mm) will require regular pliers, and anything from 3mm or larger will require mighty crimping pliers.
Understandably, you may not want to invest in all of these crimping pliers at once. Instead, you may want to try a multi-tool – crimping pliers that allow you to work with varying crimp tube sizes. This a great way of saving money on tools and making sure that you try using different sized crimps before you settle on a size that works for you.
Generally, most people will be working with 2mm crimp tubes, and will want to use standard crimping pliers. These are what I am using in the examples below.
Get to know your crimping tool. Notice that your pliers will have two notches. The one that is closest to the handles features a small dimple to help the crimp bead form a figure of eight. The notch that is closest to the tip of the pliers will fold the crimp, use this to form a tube.

HOW TO USE CRIMP BEADS STEP-BY-STEP

Prepare your all materials: your piece of jewelry, a crimp bead (tube shaped or round shaped) and crimping pliers.

 

STEP 1

Take your chosen crimp tube or crimp bead and slide it onto the end of the wire you’re working with.

Tip. Make sure that the last two or three beads on your strung piece are large enough to cover the extra beading wire.

STEP 2

Take the end of the cord and add your chosen finishing component, whether that’s a jump ring or a clasp.

STEP 3

Take the end of the wire and pass it back through the crimp bead and several neighboring beads leaving a small 'tail'. Push the crimp closer to the jump ring or clasp, but don’t force it so that it’s too tight. Leave the jump ring or clasp a little space so that there is more movement in the piece.

STEP 4

Once you’re happy with the position of the crimp, place it in the first notch of your crimping tool.

STEP 5

Before applying pressure, make sure each wire end is separated. This will keep each wire in its own area of the crimp bead or crimp tube as it forms that figure of eight shape.

As you apply pressure and squeeze the pliers, the small dimple in the notch of your pliers will position each wire end in its own compartment inside the crimp.

STEP 6

Once your crimp is a U shape, you can now move onto the second notch of your pliers. Here you will need to place the crimp and squeeze the pliers, gently forcing the U shape to fold in on itself. It is VERY important that the crimp tube sits exactly in the back section, as they are designed to fit each other perfectly. If the crimp tube is not properly in place, your crimp will not fold properly and your jewelry will not be secure.

STEP 7

You should now be left with a tube-like bead that has secure each wire end neatly in place. Now you can trim the excess wire as needed, leaving you with a professionally finished piece. 

If you wish, you can give the crimp an extra squash closed with chain-nosed pliers.
When you are done, make sure you give the crimp a little tug. If it won’t stand up to that, it isn’t secure enough to be worn. Sometimes you can do everything right and it just hasn’t taken, although this is less likely to happen with good quality crimp tubes.
STEP 8
Repeat at the other end of your length of beading wire once you’ve got the beads and findings you want on the wire.
Don’t be afraid to practice this technique with scrap beading wire! Crimping may not the most exciting of techniques to do, but it is a very important one. It keeps your jewelry physically together, and, however beautiful your jewelry is, if it’s not secure it won’t last. And that is, after all, what we all want.

Tip. Add a crimp bead cover for a finished look - attach it over the crimp bead and squeeze it.

Get the materials and tools you need, all in one place!

View our collection of Crimps, Covers & Tips

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *