Do You Use Clam Shell Bead Tips or Crimp Tubes and Covers?

by Amanda Thompson.

Do You Use Clam Shell Bead Tips or Crimp Tubes and Covers?  - Discussion on Jewelry Making Journal

I got back into jewelry making last year after needing to make a career change due to some health problems (I was a nonprofit director working 70+ hour weeks with a lot of stress).

One of the first necklaces I made was for my mom to wear to a party she was hosting. Fortunately it was a hit and held up through the night, but it broke when she took it off. I was so glad it was my mom and not a future customer!

I realized I had become pretty rusty (like some of my pliers) on my beading skills, especially because I have been focusing on working with metal and those exiting challenges.

I was wondering if anyone uses the clam shell bead tips and when they are best appropriate for use.

I have been doing very light weight necklaces and wondered if that was an option or if I should continue to use crimp tubes and covers. Also, does anyone ever use the clam shell bead tips over a crimp? Maybe that is not suggested. Just curious.

Thanks for the helpful information.

Amanda Thompson

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  • Hi Amanda! I use crimp beads and these two different crimp-bead cover techniques. Here are my tutorials for these techniques:
    A Pretty Crimp Bead Cover Alternative (Tutorial)
    How to Make Crimp Bead Covers (Tutorial).

  • Margaret says:

    I used to use those clamshell crimp covers, but they always broke or otherwise fell away from the jumpring they were attached to so I gave up on them. I got one of those crimper things that, with a little bit of work make the crimped crimp tube look round like a bead. That’s good enough, but a while back, I was making a commissioned piece with brass, and I wanted something a little nicer, so I got some crimp covers, and then learned that I needed a special plier (a friend lent me hers for five minutes, and I was in love, so I got my own right away) I really like the crimp covers, and they come in solid brass and solid copper, as well as sterling, which makes my life easier.

  • Sandee Jene says:

    I use both the clamshell and crimps with covers. When I use the clamshell I use a #15 seed bead inside to put the stringing wire around and a drop of glue. I have used a crimp bead inside the clamshell and it works also. I use the crimp beads mostly when I use french wires to finish my work. Just a matter of preference, I guess.

  • CzechChickStudio says:

    It depends on your material. I only use clamshells when I’m using Irish Waxed Linen or thread when beading. I tie a knot on the end, put a dab of glue on, let it dry, then apply my clamshell. For wire stringing, I use the crimp beads and covers, but go a step further and use wire guards too, for added protection.

  • Leslie Schmidt says:

    I have had no good success with clamshells as they always broke. I also learned not to use cheap quality crimp beads as they often broke. Many here had suggested spending the money on sterling or silver filled bead crimps and I am happy to use that advice. My first necklace that I made and wore to the chiropractic office broke when I took it off as I did not know how to properly do crimps and was using the cheap crimp beads. Many lessons and practice later, I always clamp my crimp beads tight before rounding them into the nice rounded beads they should look like. I still struggle with getting the wires separated into two parts sometimes.

  • Kelly says:

    And here I thought I was the only one who stopped using clamshells because they kept breaking! If I’m using beading wire, I use wire-guards with crimps and covers. If I don’t manage to get the crimp cover into a perfect ball I cover the mess with cones so I don’t have to start all over.

  • Diane says:

    I generally use crimp beads and crimp covers but have also used the twisted tube crimps. I have never used the clamshells since I had heard they didn’t hold well enough.

  • DEANA says:


  • Deana, you mean the crimping pliers?

  • MyCarolAnne says:

    A crimping tool is a special tool created and used to crimp ‘crimps’ around your beading wire. The tool comes in sizes for each size of crimp used. So if you use more than a 1×1 or 2×2 crimp, you will need to have more than one size of a crimping tool. They may be purchased at any craft store (Michaels, JoAnne’s, Hobby Lobby or your favorite store). Also, you may buy online. YouTube has tutorials on how to use the crimping tool properly. It takes some practice. Hope this helps. Sandee Jene

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