Okay so you’ve started beading. You want to stock up on all the goodies you will need but don’t know where to start and what everything is. Need a heads up? This article will take you through everything you need to know about the basics used for beading.
You have come across the term ‘findings’ and wondered what on earth it was about. Basically, ‘findings’ are all the metal components that are used in beading. They vary in composition from nickel to sterling silver, and they vary is weight and size.
Head pins are pins that look a little like a fine nail. They have a long wire with a flat top on one end. The flat section can also be replaced by other shapes such as stars or hearts. That end is used to prevent the beads from sliding off the pin. Once all the required beads have been threaded onto the wire, the head pin, the non-flat end is then curled into a loop or ‘eye’ using round nosed pliers. It is onto this eye we attach other pins, clasps, chain etc when beading.
Eye pins are pins that have a curled end, into a small loop, leaving the other end free to pass beads through. Once all beads are passed through, the other end can then also be curled into a small loop. You can then join these small loops to other eye pins , making a series or chain of beaded eye pins. These are very common in bracelets, necklaces or earrings.
Jump rings, are tiny little ring like loops that are used to join other finding together. Some are complete circles; others have a cut in them. The ones with the cut through them can be adjusted for size.
Split rings are very similar to jump rings. They are small loops that loop over a couple of times making them look like little keyrings. They are used as an alternative to jump rings. They are more suited for heavy linking than jump rings as they do not open up as easily as jump rings. Perfect for linking bracelets clasps.
Parrot clasps are one of the most popular clasps. They are shaped like a parrot’s beak, hence the name. They are widely used for bracelets and necklaces.
Lobster clasps are used the same as parrot clasps though they look more like the pincers on a lobster and that’s how they get their name.
Barrel clasps are clasps with 2 sides. Each side is attached to either side of the necklace or bracelet and clasp together by screwing into each other. They attach by using ‘eye’s found on either end of the clasps. Their name also comes from their appearance, as they look like barrels.
Toggle clasps also have two parts. Again you join each part to either end of the necklace or bracelet in much the same way as a barrel clasp. The toggle clasps however has a long side that resembles a bar and a shaped side, can be round or other shape such as a heart. To clasp the toggle clasp, you merely pass the long side through the ’round’ side, joining both ends together.
Tiger Tail is a pliable wire that has synthetic coating. Though it is pliable, it doesn’t hold its shape. It is used for threading beads onto, much line pearl thread or fishing line. You cannot tie knots in tiger tail; instead you finish off the ends using crimps.
Crimps are tiny little balls or tubes, hollow, which are used to prevent beads from falling off thread of any sort. They do so by pressing them closed using pliers.
Charlotte crimps are also used to prevent beads from falling off. They provide a cleaner finish. They are shaped like oyster shells with a little hook on it. There is a little hole though the join of the 2 sides of the ‘shell’ parts. It is through this hole that you pass the thread item. You then crimp the end using a normal crimp, which you then sit into the ‘shell’. You then close the 2 sides together and attach to clasp or other findings by curling the hook.
Ear hooks are wires used to make earrings. They used for pierced ears. They are alternatively known as Shepherd hooks. This name derives from their appearance which is like that of a shepherd’s staff. One end of the wire has an ‘eye’ onto which you attach the earring you are making.
Bead Caps are decorative or plain cup shaped caps that sit over beads. They can be used for purely decorative purposes or to protect the bead from scratching onto other beads, head pins etc.
If you start with the basic jargon and get to know that you will be well on your way to sounding like a professional. Keep a look out for my next article which will add to this list.