Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How to Use Bead Tips, Clam Shells or Calottes Tutorials

By on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 1 Comments

Bead tips are usually used at the end of projects to attach onto clasps as shown in this picture.There are two types of common bead tips. One is a small metal cup with a metal hook to one side (below left).

The other is like a clam with two halves which is why it's sometimes called clam shells (above right). Another name is calotte. In both cases, there is a hole at the bottom where you can feed your thread or wire. I prefer the second type because it hides knots and crimp beads better.

This video tutorial by Blue Moon Beads shows us how to knot beading thread and hide them within the clam shells.

If you are using finer thread, knotting just the thread won't work. It will slip out of the hole. Find yourself a small seed bead that will fit inside the clam shell. Use the seed bead as a knotting anchor. Add a dab of glue for security. It's a great way to use up odd beads.

You can also use clam shells with beading wire and ordinary crimp beads. Remember to trim the wires before sliding the crimp beads within the clam shells.

This video tutorial by the Beadclub demonstrates the technique.

Other tips and tricks:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



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  1. Bead tips are indispensable in making knotted pearl necklaces but I'm afraid I'd be a little hesitant (maybe a whole lot hesitant) to use the crimp and cut method. Seems there isn't much for the crimp to grasp, especially since the beading wire is passed through the crimp only once. I can just imagine that pretty bracelet coming apart and beads scattering hither, thither and yon. :(

    Many years ago I had a professional restring a necklace for me and she used the standard bead tips which were original to the necklace but she somehow threaded the silk thread through a little gold filled round bead that nestled into the bead tip cup perfectly. It was a beautiful way to finish off the ends of the necklace and to this day I have no idea how it was done. Perhaps you have information on this method?