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BASICS OF BEAD STRINGING AND ATTACHING CLASPS: How To Design, Take Measurements ForAnd Finish Off Multi-Strand Pieces

Posted by learntobead on February 18, 2023

How To Design, Take Measurements For
And Finish Off Multi-Strand Pieces

Multi-strand bracelets and necklaces are always in style and always in demand.

Many designers quickly find out, however, that they are not so easy to construct, and often do not lay on the body the way the designer initially envisioned.

Part of the problem has to do with measurement.

· How long should each strand be?

· How long if the strands are sequential, that is, do not overlap? Here, you will want strands each of a different length.

· How long if the strands do overlap? Usually, if you want overlap, the strands will approximately be the same length.

Related to measurement is some confusion about what you are really measuring — the linear length against a ruler or on a bead board, or, — the circumference length using a person or mannequin or sizing cone.

Actual linear length will vary, based on the diameter sizes of the beads, whether you are dealing with any gradations in bead sizes, and how far apart on the body you want each strand to lay.

Only circumference length will serve you well here. But this means you will be planning and constructing around a curved surface or plane.

Another part of the problem is choosing the wrong clasps and jewelry findings. Different findings work well under differing situations and circumstances.

Or, related to this, part of the problem could be how the clasp assembly was constructed without sufficient support.

How long should each strand be?

Let me re-phrase this question:

How wide do you want the negative spaces to be measuring at the center of each strand?

Usually, your goal is to have a good consistency in the width of the negative spaces between each strand.

A traditional rule of thumb is that you want each subsequent strand to be 3/4″ to 1 1/2” longer than the previous one. I like to start my planning with 1” separations.

So, if the first strand is 16”, which of course, includes the 1–2” length the clasp assembly will add, then the second will be 17”, the third 18”, and so forth.

This rule of thumb is a good starting point for planning your piece. You will have to modify it based on the characteristics and sizes of the actual beads and components you will be using. Larger beads will take up more of the volume of negative space
than smaller beads.

When your beads on the strand are graduated in size, you want to measure and work off your largest bead in each strand.

To get things right, and not get too frustrated, it is easiest to work off of a mannequin or sizing cone or an especially life-size necklace easel.

Working on a flat surface just doesn’t cut it.

You will also only attach things temporarily until you get all the strand lengths and negative spaces widths the way you want them.

I always begin with the shortest length strand.

If I’m working with cable wires, I end each side with a horseshoe wire protector. This lets me secure the beads on the strand pretty well, and gives me the equivalent of a hook to temporarily hook into my clasp. And it lets me remove the horseshoe wire protector if I want to add or subtract any beads on the cable.

I do not secure the clasp to the horseshoe wire protector or do any crimping until I have all the strands on the necklace arranged the way I want them.

I next try to complete the second smallest strand, and temporarily hook it to the clasp.

I work my way down until the longest strand.

When I am satisfied with everything and how it lays, I begin to finish the connection of each strand to the clasp assembly.

I finish off the first and smallest strand, connecting the clasp permanently, and crimping things in place.

Most likely, I will need to do some adjusting with the next strand. Things don’t work out 100% perfectly in the real world.

I do any necessary adjusting, then I connect that strand to the clasp permanently, and crimp things in place.

I go to the third strand. Most likely, I will need to do some adjusting. When I’m satisfied, usually focusing on the width of the negative space, I crimp.

And so forth down the necklace until the last strand.

With some styles of clasps, I like to use a strong, intervening jump ring, connecting the horseshoe wire protector to the fixed rings on the clasp.

All my jump rings will be the same size.

So, when I am testing things out, I hook the wire protectors (without the extra intervening jump rings) into the fixed rings on the clasp.

When I am ready to make things permanent, I crimp the crimp bead under the horseshoe, then attach the horseshoe to the jump ring and the jump ring to the clasp.

Say you are using a single strand clasp for a multi-strand necklace.

One approach:

You attach a large intervening ring to the clasp, and then attach each string to this large intervening ring.

The size of the ring should allow enough support or jointedness so that the multiple strands do not put too much stress or strain on one another at this point of connection.

Again, another strategy when using a single strand clasp for a multi-strand necklace,
is to use some kind of end piece, like a cone or end cap with a hole.

In this case, you would attach each strand to a soldered ring — that is a ring with no gaps in it. The size of the ring would have to coordinate with the interior diameter of your end piece.

You never pull all the strands through the end pieces. This would put too much strain at that point where they exited the end piece, and attached to the clasp assembly.

You need this soldered ring to work as a support system and absorb and self-adjust to this strain, so your strands won’t break.

So, you attach all the strands to one side of the soldered ring. Then you take another piece of stringing material to the other side of the ring. You pull everything through the opening of the end piece, all the way back so your mess of knots doesn’t show. And you then construct the rest of your clasp assembly.

The soldering ring is your support system. Either the crushed crimps with the required loops, or the series of knots, depending on your stringing material are ugly. Your end pieces act like a lampshade hiding the mess, and making your piece visually appealing.

Still one more strategy is to use an end bar on each side of your piece, which has the number or rings on one side equal to the number of strands in your multi-strand piece,
and a single hole on the other side.

You do the rest of your clasp assembly off the one ring on each end bar.

Be sure to use an intervening ring off each single end bar ring, before connecting the clasp.

Let’s say you have a 5-strand necklace, but only a 3-strand clasp.

It is ok to attach more than one strand to a single ring on the clasp. Just be sure this is sufficient support or jointedness.

If not, use a larger intervening ring, like a jump or split ring.


Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.


Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

What You Need To Know When Preparing A Portfolio

Smart Advice When Preparing Your Artist Statement

Design Debt: How Much Do You Have?

An Advertising Primer For Jewelry Designers

Selling Your Jewelry In Galleries: Some Strategic Pointers

Building Your Brand: What Every Jewelry Designer Needs To Know

Social Media Marketing For The Jewelry Designer

Often Unexpected, Always Exciting: Your First Jewelry Sale

Coming Out As A Jewelry Artist

Is Your Jewelry Fashion, Style, Taste, Art or Design?

Saying Goodbye To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

So You Want To Do Craft Shows: Lesson 7: Setting Up For Success

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Metals, Metal Beads, Oxidizing

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Stringing Materials

Shared Understandings: The Conversation Embedded Within Design

How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Major Pitfalls For Jewelry Designers

Essential Questions For Jewelry Designers: 1 — Is What I Do Craft, Art or Design?

The Bridesmaids’ Bracelets

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Choosing And Using Clasps

Beads and Race

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A ‘Look’ — It’s A Way Of Thinking

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form and Theme

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Pearls Need Re-Stringing

MiniLesson: How To Crimp

MiniLesson: Making Stretchy Bracelets

Architectural Basics Of Jewelry Design

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?


CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE: Between the Fickleness of Business and the Pursuit of Design

How dreams are made
between the fickleness of business
and the pursuit of jewelry design

This guidebook is a must-have for anyone serious about making money selling jewelry. I focus on straightforward, workable strategies for integrating business practices with the creative design process. These strategies make balancing your creative self with your productive self easier and more fluid.

Based both on the creation and development of my own jewelry design business, as well as teaching countless students over the past 35+ years about business and craft, I address what should be some of your key concerns and uncertainties. I help you plan your road map.

Whether you are a hobbyist or a self-supporting business, success as a jewelry designer involves many things to think about, know and do. I share with you the kinds of things it takes to start your own jewelry business, run it, anticipate risks and rewards, and lead it to a level of success you feel is right for you, including

· Getting Started: Naming business, identifying resources, protecting intellectual property

· Financial Management: basic accounting, break even analysis, understanding risk-reward-return on investment, inventory management

· Product Development: identifying target market, specifying product attributes, developing jewelry line, production, distribution, pricing, launching

· Marketing, Promoting, Branding: competitor analysis, developing message, establishing emotional connections to your products, social media marketing

· Selling: linking product to buyer among many venues, such as store, department store, online, trunk show, home show, trade show, sales reps and showrooms, catalogs, TV shopping, galleries, advertising, cold calling, making the pitch

· Resiliency: building business, professional and psychological resiliency

· Professional Responsibilities: preparing artist statement, portfolio, look book, resume, biographical sketch, profile, FAQ, self-care



Merging Your Voice With Form

So You Want To Be A Jewelry Designer reinterprets how to apply techniques and modify art theories from the Jewelry Designer’s perspective. To go beyond craft, the jewelry designer needs to become literate in this discipline called Jewelry Design. Literacy means understanding how to answer the question: Why do some pieces of jewelry draw your attention, and others do not? How to develop the authentic, creative self, someone who is fluent, flexible and original. How to gain the necessary design skills and be able to apply them, whether the situation is familiar or not.

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook , Kindle or Print formats

The Jewelry Journey Podcast
“Building Jewelry That Works: Why Jewelry Design Is Like Architecture”
Podcast, Part 1
Podcast, Part 2

Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

I developed a nontraditional technique which does not use tools because I found tools get in the way of tying good and well-positioned knots. I decided to bring two cords through the bead to minimize any negative effects resulting from the pearl rotating around the cord. I only have you glue one knot in the piece. I use a simple overhand knot which is easily centered. I developed a rule for choosing the thickness of your bead cord. I lay out different steps for starting and ending a piece, based on how you want to attach the piece to your clasp assembly.

184pp, many images and diagrams EbookKindle or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS:16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

In this book, I discuss 16 lessons I learned, Including How To (1) Find, Evaluate and Select Craft Shows Right for You, (2) Determine a Set of Realistic Goals, (3) Compute a Simple Break-Even Analysis, (4) Develop Your Applications and Apply in the Smartest Ways, (5) Understand How Much Inventory to Bring, (6) Set Up and Present Both Yourself and Your Wares, (7) Best Promote and Operate Your Craft Show Business before, during and after the show.

198pp, many images and diagrams, EbookKindle or Print



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