Crimping, Part 2: How to Hide a Crimp in a Bead
There is a lot of space hidden inside an 8 mm bead, which makes a perfect place to tuck a crimp out of sight when stringing beads. To find this inner place, though, you have to drill it out with diamond ball burs. The result? A professional, high-end finish you’ll want for crimping your best stringing projects.
Here’s how to do it.
3″ of 20- or 22-gauge sterling silver wire (depending on size of hole in your bead)
2 mm sterling silver crimps
8 mm beads (Try softer gems such as pearls, turquoise, or lapis.)
Soft Flex stringing cable (I used Fine.)
clasp and catch
safety glasses, dust mask and nitrile gloves
flex shaft and hand piece or cordless Dremel tool
small container of water for cooling
1mm, 2mm, and 3mm diamond ball burs *
Beadalon Magical Crimp-Forming pliers (they shape a crimp into a bead)
torch set up with fine-tip flame
round- and chain-nose pliers
* I order mine from Lascodiamond.com
- Solder one crimp onto each end of your wire using the technique from crimping, part one.
- Attach one end of your cable to a crimp wire, using the crimping tool. Because I’m only using one crimp per end, I wrap the cable around the wire and then run it back through the hole. For even more security, I add a drop of glue before closing. TIP: Make a sample crimp and see how much force you need to pull the cable out with pliers.
- Fit a 1 mm diamond ball bur into your flex shaft hand piece and ream out the bead hole, going only half way through. Use plenty of water, dipping, drilling, and flushing out the muck about every three to four seconds. Repeat with the 2 mm and 3 mm ball burs.
- Test the fit. Thread the crimp wire through the bead, to make sure the rounded crimp is hidden. Thread a second bead onto your cable, snug it up against the first bead, and check the fit again. When you are happy, use two-part epoxy to glue the closed crimp inside your bead. Form a loop in the sterling silver wire close to the bead, attach a clasp, and wrap the excess wire around itself to close.
- Thread beads onto your project, leaving some play in the cable so they will be comfortable when draped around the neck.
- Repeat Steps 3 through 5 with a second bead.
Tah dah! No crimps and no naked cable.
See crimping part three to keep improving your stringing projects by creating a hidden crimp clasp.
Betsy Lehndorff has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about stringing perfect strands to wear alone or to show off your pendants!