If your strand is not an endless loop of beads, then you will have to attach a clasp to the strand in order for it to be worn. The clasp will usually have 2 parts - a female part and a male part. With these types of clasps, the male part will be inserted into the female part and then it will lock into place. Other types of clasps do not have male or female parts - they are self contained and require a circular jump ring to be attached to the other end of the strand to hook into.
There are a number of different types of clasps:
- Barrel - The male and female parts screw together and both parts will look similar.
- Fish Hooks - The male part is hooked into the female part and it locks in place via spring action.
- Lobster - Self contained clasp. Hooks onto opposite jump ring.
- Spring Ring - Similar to lobster except it is round.
In order to attach a clasp to a strand of beads, the clasp will have to be separated into its 2 parts, and each part will have to attached to an end of the strand. There are essentially 2 ways that a clasp can be attached to a strand of beads:
- Bead Tip Technique - The clasp parts can be attached to the beaded strand by connecting them to the attachment point of a bead tip or cup. The bead tip is already built into the bead strand. This technique is very useful for attaching clasps that do not have a jump ring attached, such as a barrel clasp. Using this technique allows the clasp to be attached after the bead strand has been completed.
- Fish Hook Clasp Technique - The clasp parts can be attached to the bead strand by threading the 2 parts of the clasp into the bead strand itself - one part at each end. This requires that attaching the clasp be part of the process of stringing the beads or pearls themselves, and requires a little planning ahead of time. Below is an example of how such a technique is performed (for a single strand pf beads), using a fish hook clasp for illustration purposes.
Note that the "fish hook clasp" technique of attaching the clasp parts directly to the bead strand can only be done if the clasp parts have free-floating jump rings attached. If your clasp does not have jump rings, then you must use bead tips at each end of the strand and then bend the bead tip hook around the contact loop of the clasp. The reason for this is that without free-moving terminations, every day use of the necklace or bracelet will result in rubbing that will eventually wear out the termination and cause the strand to fall apart.
- Before starting any project, make sure you have all your tools and supplies ready.
- Make sure you have several beading needles with leader thread loop prepared (the needle and loop pull the beading bead thread through the beads).
- Separate and re-attach jump rings by pulling sideways only.
- Lay out your bead design on a design or flock board.
- Measure out your beading thread - 2x bead length plus 10 inches.
- Attach beading needle and leader thread through beading thread and close the beading thread loop with an overhand knot. Make sure that the leader thread knot is in the middle of the leader thread loop.
- Thread all beads. Move them towards the knotted end of the bead thread loop. No kinks or twists in the beading thread loop.
- Use the beading needle to thread the male part of the fishhook clasp through the jumper ring. You do this with the male end because this part of the clasp has to be the strongest part, and the subsequent looping does not cut the beading thread.
- Remove the beading needle by cutting the needle thread leader - at the leader thread knot. DO NOT CUT THE BEADING THREAD. Immediately re-knot the leader thread and put the needle away for later use.
- Slip the loop of beading thread over the male clasp. Tighten loop over the male clasp all the way down to the jump ring.
- Slide all the beads down the thread towards the male clasp. Snug them up against the end, making sure the thread loop has stayed tight against the jump ring.
HANG THE PIECE OVER NIGHT TO STRETCH BEADING THREAD.
Now finish the female clasp end - this technique is the same as that used in endless loop necklaces:
- Cut away the overhand knot in the beading thread loop.
- Separate the last 2 beads by a couple of inches. Pull one of threads back through the last bead so that the last bead now has only a single thread running through it.
- Slip the single thread coming through the last bead through the leader thread of a beading needle.
- Use the needle to run 2 loops of beading thread through the jump ring of the female part of the clasp. Remove the needle from the beading thread - WITHOUT CUTTING ANYTHING
- Walk the female clasp down the thread towards the beads, leaving plenty of free beading thread at the end.
- Attach the free end of the beading thread through the loop of a beading needle. Use the needle to run the beading thread back through the last bead.
- The 2 threads now meet head-on back together and can be tied.
- Pull on the reversed thread while holding the clasp. This draws the entire piece together.
- Cut one thread shorter than the other - this provides a reference for making the finishing square knot. Tie x3 half-hitch knots while flipping the piece over between each knot - USE SHORT OVER LONG EACH TIME. You have now locked the female clasp.
- Glue the knot with (a small drop) of jewellers cement. Flip over and do the other side. Let dry. Trim thread.
- If the strand is too tight, manipulate a little to loosen.
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