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How to use a Closed-Loop Bead Tip

January 30th, 2012 · 13 Comments

Often, the difference between fair looking jewelry and professional looking jewelry is how the piece is finished. The use of clam shell bead tips, also known as calottes, is especially important to the look of hand-knotted jewelry projects. Clam shell bead tips can increase the value of a jewelry piece because they hide the knot at the end of the strand beautifully and reflect the attention to detail that buyers look for. There are several different styles of clam shell bead tips. The style you want to use depends on your application. A single open-loop bead tip is great to use for a necklace design, but may not be strong enough to use in a bracelet design. A double closed-loop bead tip, however, is durable enough for both. Here we will show how to use a double closed-loop bead tip. To see instructions on how to use a single open loop bead tip, click here.

Step One:

To begin your design, you will want to tie a knot in your stringing material. Pull the string through the hole in the bead tip so that the knot rests in the tip. You want to make sure that the loops on the bead tip are pointing towards the ends of your design, where you will be attaching a toggle or clasp. Make sure the knot is big enough to ensure that you cannot pull it through. You may need to tie multiple knots to achieve this.

Step Two:

Trim the excess stringing material and dab the knot with a dot of GS-Hypo Cement to hold it in place.

Step Three:

Using chain nose pliers, gently press both sides of the bead tip together until they close.

Step Four:

Using chain nose pliers, gently pinch the hinge on the back of the bead tip. Do this on both sides to create a tight closure.

Step Five:

Create a knot just behind your bead tip. This will ensure that the metal does not fray your stringing material with repeated wear.

Step Six:

String your beads. We chose to use a strand of pearls separated by knots.

Step Seven:

Finish this end in the same manner as above only this time, create a knot at the end of your bead strand then pull the end of the stringing material up through the bead tip. Make sure the bead tip loops are pointing towards the end of your design.

Step Eight:

Create a big enough knot that it cannot slip through the bead tip hole and trim the excess stringing material. Add a dot of GS-Hypo cement to the knot and close the bead tip around the knot. Be sure to use a pair of chain nose pliers to pinch the back hinge on the bead tip for a tight closure.

Step Nine:

Add jump rings and a toggle or clasp of your choice.


Tags: Ask The Experts · Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Vickie Lawson // Jan 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    can you use any kind of thread?? i have some thread that has a wax like texture on it will that work??? thank you for any help

  • 2 Shari Arbogast // Jan 30, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Love it.. Thanks for posting. That would be great for the bracelets I’ve started making. Thank you for posting this.

  • 3 krazkat // Jan 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Great to know, never been too successful with these closures. I believe part of the problem was me & poor quality closures. I guess I need to buy this closure from artbeads. :-)

  • 4 Marissa // Jan 31, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Good question, Vickie-

    As long as you can tie a knot with your stringing material, it should work. It’s probably best to finish the knot with glue for a stronger hold, too.

  • 5 Jo Loving // Feb 2, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Thankyou! very clear & informative.

  • 6 Bev Gastinger // Feb 2, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Thanks for sharing. I’ll try this. You make it look easy!!

  • 7 Shirley L. // Feb 2, 2012 at 7:15 am

    I would like to know the best and sturdiest way to end a piece done with wire. I use the crimp bead and the crimp cap but I have had pieces that pull out and I can’t figure how how because I crimp tight.

    Thanking you in advance,
    Shirley l.

  • 8 Coventina // Feb 2, 2012 at 7:43 am

    If you are using regular wire, as in a gauge 20. I always use jump rings. If you are using a coated wire such a Beadlon then some else have to answer your question.

  • 9 Renee Doruyter // Feb 2, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Shirley, if the wire pulls out of the crimp it is because it is crossed inside the crimp bead. Keep the wires side by side – check before you crimp. It’s also good to feed two or three inches of wire back into your piece, it makes it less likely to pull free.

  • 10 Elsa // Feb 2, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I specialize in children’s jewelry, and I use these bead tips in every piece I make. I don’t have to worry that they’re going to break, especially important, since I do a lifetime guarantee. Another tip: If you have loop-closing pliers, they are really great for pinching these tips together. They flatten both sides beautifully without slipping or squishing the dome for the knot.

  • 11 Sandy // Feb 2, 2012 at 9:45 am

    I have been using these for months and I absolutely love them. Sometimes I will use a crimp tube instead of a knot, it depends on the stringing material I am using. I think they are one of the greatest inventions.

  • 12 Diane Kornegay // Feb 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Thanks for a very helpful tip. I was using crimp
    covers to conceal knots tied with stretchy cord on bracelets. These shouldn’t cut into the cord and possibly cause breakage.

  • 13 BKathie // Feb 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    This is an interesting way to set up beads. Love the bracelet.

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