Beads With Hats?
I have several different styles that I've collected over the years - mostly bali style sterling silver, but whenever I go to use them, they always end up looking strange to me.
Like my beads are wearing little hats. Hats that don't fit right.
So, like most of my recent projects, I decided to tackle multiple demons with one projects - the problem of how to use bead caps and have them look good AND how to make bead caps with a wire spiral.
The picture of the carnelian bead is from a very old project of mine - a simple pair of earrings. The individual components are all pretty - but together - ugh!
How to Make Spiral Bead Caps
This is so simple, I'm sure you can figure it out, especially after yesterday's post on how to make perfect wire spirals - but here's a link to a fabulous free tutorial to make wire spiral bead caps from the Rena Klingenberg's Jewelry Making Journal (just in case).
Oh - I should also mention, I didn't 100% follow this tutorial for most of my bead caps.
I followed Rena's instructions for the first four bead caps (above), but her method of doming the bead caps by poking the round nose pliers through the center of the spiral didn't work well for me. It was very time consuming. The results are very nice though.
For my spiral bead caps, I used 18g round copper wire - my new favorite thickness. Each bead caps uses 1.5 inches of wire, so I cut about 20 pieces of wire. That was a big mistake.
Yesterday, I worked off the roll and it was so easy to wrap each spiral until I didn't want to wrap anymore. When I pre-cut the wire, I couldn't finish wrapping the end because the wire is too thick and difficult to shape when you reach the end. So - my bead caps were a little smaller than I anticipated.
I was also a little sloppy on the centers - but when you think about it, it shouldn't matter since there will be an eye pin through the middle. I did angle cut the outer wire end and file it smooth since you are likely to see that end, and it could catch on clothing.
These are some of my spiral bead caps after I have domed them using my steel doming block from Harbor Freight. Just a few quick stress reducing whacks - and the shape was good and they were ready for the tumbler.
Time to Try On the Bead
Hats Caps for Size
And here they are! Big sigh of relief because I think they fit great and look really good with the beads.
Here's another angle.
Neither of these feel as awkward as the silver cap with carnelian bead in the first picture. I wonder why? Let me know if you can figure it out.
Here's the whole mess of goodies from today and yesterday fresh out of the tumbler.
Tonight I will try to finish something (don't know what yet) using the bead caps. So happy with the way these turned out so far. I think they would be awesome in blackened steel wire too.