How to Get the Perfect Crimp Using The Right Crimping Technique
I’m one of those folks who often do things by the seat of their pants, but learning how to use crimping pliers isn’t one of them. I just assume I can barrel through anything and get it right the first time. I rarely do, of course! For instance, I was just out for a night on the town with a friend, and we passed a dance hall. It was Milonga night, an Argentinian tango-type dance with a very specific beat.
We looked at each other and said, “Yes! Let’s do it! It doesn’t look hard!” But when we got out on the dance floor, we realized there was no amount of liquid courage that could make us look good dancing this very specific dance when we didn’t have a clue about how to do it. Some things you just can’t fake. Some things you need lessons in order to master them.
I tried to just wing it when I learned how to crimp my strung designs, too. I figured, “Yeah! Just string this thingamabobby here, pass it back through the whatsit there, and squish it with this gizmo over here.” My blind ambition made my beautifully strung pieces look horrible, with pointy flat squares of metal at the ends that would snag clothing and scratch at skin. I learned quite quickly that crimping, like the Milonga, is a definite art. Something to be learned carefully and with instruction.
I learned how to crimp properly several years ago when I helped launch Jewelry Stringing magazine. It’s a really basic technique, so I’m always surprised when I run across a beader who isn’t familiar with it. Again, it just needs to be taught! So I thought I’d revisit good old crimping today, giving you all a quick lesson on the fine art of how to use crimping pliers. It can be done in seven easy steps.
How to Use Crimping Pliers
1. Begin your strand of beads with a crimp tube.
2. Pass through the clasp or connector.
3. Pass back through the crimp tube and, if possible, a few beads on the strand.
4. Snug the crimp tube and beads close to the closure.
5. Spread the two wires so they lie along each side of the tube. Use the first notch on the crimping pliers (round on one jaw, dipped on the other) to squeeze the crimp tube shut, making sure there’s one wire on each side of the crimp.
6. Use the second notch on the crimping pliers (rounded on both jaws) to shape the tube into a tight round. Make gentle squeezes around the tube for a perfect cylinder.
7. Trim the tail wire close to the beads.
Pretty easy, eh? It’s the technique you need to know to create strong, beautiful pieces of jewelry like those in the Fast and Fabulous section of Beadwork magazine!
More Resources to Help You Perfect Your Skills
For more tips and tricks on stringing fundamentals, check out these posts by Debbie Blair:
How to Get Started Stringing Jewelry—The Right Tools
Excerpted from Getting Started Stringing Beads by Jean Campbell, available in the Interweave Store.
post updated October 2017