Thursday, July 11, 2013

Clasps: Practical, Pretty or both?

by Staci L. Smith

I will admit, I always went for secure and practical in my designs for the majority of my jewelry making career.  I used lobster and spring ring clasps with chain on the other side- so that I had a secure and adjustable (practical) closure to my jewelry.
 
Here is what I didn't like about that.  First of all, I didn't make the clasp, and sometimes, they broke. 
 
Second, it was not the punctuation I desired at the end of the sentence, er um, necklace. 
 
Cindy Wimmers "S" clasp tutorial changed my life.  Literally.
 
I was now able to make an "S" clasp, that was pretty, matched my style, and could still make the piece adjustable. 
 
I highly recommend checking it out.  And the nice part of these, are you can put your own spin on them.
 
 
 
Here are a few things I have learned about S clasps.  First of all, PLEASE do not make them too flimsy.  I recommend using nothing below 16g.  16g can even be used to make smaller size clasps....for my big ones, I use 14g, and I still hammer it to work harden it.  There is nothing worse then a clasp that can be pulled open.
 
Another thing I learned, was that using these on bracelets, which I saw everyone doing, so I did it too, doesn't always work.  Now, I make my bracelets adjustable but putting chain on the opposite side, allowing people to fasten it at just the perfect length.  However, if it is not fastened tight enough, it will slip out and fall off.  In order to fix that, I went from make S clasps with the rounder top like Cindy's to these (for bracelets).
 
 
These have a longer hook, so that the chain has to travel pretty far back to come undone.  They have been working wonderful!!!!
 

So now you can make an easy practical clasp, but what about making it pretty?  Well, I really love how Nikki of Love Root made her S clasp to fit the design of her necklace in this piece (I think Nikki made it anyway)
 
NOTE:  clasp below is by Gail Cormier of Supply you Soul- thanks for that info Nikki!
 
 
 
Use your Wire Work Boot Camp knowledge and carry it into your clasp making- I know you guys can rock this Boot Camp!  So once you master making clasps, or if you already have, lets see how creative we can be in making them fit our designs.
 
 


11 comments:

Alice said...

I used to purchase clasps for my necklaces but quit doing that as I hated to waste money on something that may not be seen. I used lobster clasps to keep the cost down. Shameful, I know. But now I've seen the light and I'm trying to make the entire piece pretty and handmade, so your post comes at the perfect time. Thanks for the great photos and the link to Cindy's tutorial!

Gaia Copia said...

Great inspiration! I love those S clasps and the long snake clasp. I look forward to having some time to play with this after my company leaves this weekend. I'm glad you addressed bracelets as I had been wondering what others were doing to keep them adjustable, secure and unique. Thanks for the great info!

Jeni Gray said...

As always, a wonderful, insightful and educational post! Thank you!
And where can I get the 16 and 14 gauge wire??

Marie Cramp said...

I have been making my own clasps for a while, but I keep meaning to make different kinds, more interesting styles and what have you. I still purchase toggles but once in awhile I get stuck and they just won't go through, so I still prefer hooks.
Great job on this post!

Kimberly Rogers said...

Great post. I still haven't made many of my own clasps as I had bought quite a collection of Thai silver toggles when the price was quite low. I'm almost at the end of my stash though and my designs are calling for a different look now as well.

stacilouise said...

I buy my wire from Rio Grande or Thunderbird Supply.

Cindy said...

Staci, thank you so much for the shout out and link to the spiral clasp tutorial. I'm so happy that it helped you and others too. :-) Your Boot Camp articles are so helpful - I admire all of you here on LMAJ for inspiring others here in the jewelry community! :-)

aurumeve said...

I like the clasps that you made! Thanks for the pointers. And I love clasps past their practical use too :)
AurumEve.com ~ Global Jewelry

Caron Michelle said...

Great tutorial- thanks for sharing!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

I'm with you! I make very similar clasps for my designs. The reason being is simple..... They are simple! If I am not using them as part of my design, they my main purpose is to make sure the piece stays on. I have been working on a little twist when I make bracelets and I will post about that in a couple of Mondays from now. Thanks for sharing.....

PS I did the lobster clasps, etc. and often times they just were not as sturdy. And also.... did not go with what I was doing.

Melissa Cantu said...

"Cindy Wimmers "S" clamp tutorial changed my life. Literally". I couldn't help but smile when I read that. It changed my life too! I started with her clasp and moved on to my own designs. Looking at the pieces you have shared has been a great inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your work.

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