by A. C. McFadden.
(Greensboro, North Carolina USA)
Whenever I use crimp beads or tubes, my piece of jewelry breaks within a matter of days.
To avoid using crimps, I’ve worked with French wire, wire protectors, clamshells or beading through clasps without a problem.
There are times, though, when using a material like Softflex works best, and it would seem a crimp would be appropriate. I’ve even invested in a magic crimp tool, and still have breakage.
I would love some suggestions to keep me from being broken-hearted with broken jewelry.
by: Kathleen Davis
I too have had breakage on my crimps so i have started to put two crimp beads and crimp covers on everything. That seemed to solve my problem.
Hi i too have problems, these days i try to check the inner dimension, as 14 and 19 bead wire are different sizes. I have some that have lasted the wear and tear of various shows and others that fall off right away, especially the white and black beading wire. I like the strong wall crimps. Although I have heard that the finer beading wire can be knotted and put into a clam. All the best for future crimps.
by: Tricia – Bead Booty
Here is what I do with crimps:
1. I only use sterling silver tube crimps. I’ve found they hold up best.
2. I make sure the inside diameter of the crimp isn’t too big. I discovered that if the crimp tube was too spacious on the inside for the wire I was using it made me apply too much pressure when closing the crimp to assure it was holding the wire. Applying too much pressure, however, easily breaks the crimp.
3. As referenced above, don’t apply too much pressure to your crimping tool. Be firm but don’t make your knuckles go white!
by: Tracy May
I worked in a bead store for a few years and have seen this come up a few times.I suspect your crimps and crimper are not in a good relationship, but here are some ideas!
You have to make sure your crimps and crimper are compatible, and use sterling crimp tubes of 2mm , not the curved base metal ones .
Thread the softflex thru crimp and then thru the last bead before crimping. Some people do bead , crimp, bead. Check out the back of any beading magazine to see how i is done or visit a bead store and get a quick lesson.
You also need to use the correct softflex for the weight of the project and do not string too tightly.Some beads when strung together without spacers will cause the softflex to snap if it is bent at all.This is especially true of beads that “snug up” together.
Personally , I use the blue crimper available at good bead stores and it is easy and quick to use. Not to pick on Michaels but we had one customer who used their crimper and it just didn’t work with the crimps at all.
Good Luck, it is amazing how well thos crimps do hold when they work!
Tracy May (Whimsy Jewellery design)
Silver crimp tubes
I too had problems with crimps holding when I used plated crimps. Now I only use sterling 2 X 2 crimps and have very good luck. They work well with a standard crimping tool or the magic crimp tool. If I’m stringing a heavy necklace I’ll use two at each end, otherwise only one. Using only sterling has made a big difference for me.
A lot of great advice here! I would just add using crimps with heavy walls. I have only found these in sterling silver but they work amazingly with the crimping tool! www.missvalscreations.com
I had the same problem of breakage when using the cheap silver-plated base metal crimps. I have had good luck using the sterling crimps with the little ribs in them, as the others have mentioned, but also using quality copper crimps. Good advice to use the correct crimp size (not too big for your wire) and to use two crimps on heavy necklaces.
My problem has always been that the wire sometimes wants to slide through regardless of my care in crimping. I received the advice, particularly with heavy necklaces, to thread the end of the wire back through the crimp a second time, then squeeze. So thread through in the normal fashion using wire guards or french wire if you wish, and then pull the wire through the crimp a second time. This means you might have to go up one size larger crimp cover — and you will have to use a crimp cover — but it is STRONG. It should never pull through.
Only Sterling Silver Crimps
by: Denise Ross
I have never had a problem with my crimps holding until I started to be more cost-effective and designing with antique brass. In my opinion, base metal seems to be too soft to give a tight grip. I agree with what others said, and I always use crimp covers anyway, so am going back to reliable sterling silver on all my pieces. The only time a sterling crimp has failed is when I didn’t crimp it correctly. Good Luck!
Thanks for the suggestions
by: A. C. McFadden
Many thanks for the suggestions and ideas.
Some suggestions were things that I had learned about crimping. I believe the suggestion of bringing the Softflex back through the crimp a second time will probably do the trick for me, and the suggestion of using two crimps is worth testing, too.
For the benefit of others who have experienced problems with crimps, I will mention some of the remedies that I had used and/or kept in mind when trying to crimp.
Bead weight vs. the strength of the Softflex was not part of the problem I experienced. If weight had been a problem, I would have used either a thicker weight of Softflex or would have used it doubled to give extra strength.
In general, when I’m stringing beads or working with seed beads, I try to go through the beads at least twice as it gives the finished piece more stability/durability and the beads align more uniformly.
I did use a small 2-3 mm. round metal spacer bead between the clasp and crimp. The bead does protect the crimp from the wear and tear on the clasp.
As far as tightening the Softflex, I pulled only enough slack out of the Softflex to keep the beads from pulling away from the clasp and threaded a little wire beyond the crimp before cutting.
Base metal crimps flatten and will break along the folded edges. I bought sterling silver tubes, but part of the problem I experienced may have been the size. When shopping for sterling silver crimps, all I found at the time were 2×2. I subsequently found 1×1 crimps in a sturdy copper. The smaller size and thickness of the copper crimps should hold up fine.
As I have nerve damage in my arm and hand, I don’t think my grip will go to “white knuckle” strength, but excessive force can be a problem when crimping.
It was nice to know that I’m not the only one who has experienced problems with crimps, and I hope others will find their answer to the “pinch with crimps” in the suggestions.
Try “twist” crimps
I had an awful time with crimp beads and tubes and gave those up several years ago when I found sterling “twist” or “tornado” crimps that don’t require special tools (just flatten with chain nose pliers). That’s all I use now. I have never had one fail and the ‘regular’ crimps often failed for me. I like the 2x2mm twist crimps as they are less noticeable than the 3x2mm. You do need to pay attention to the hole size in relation to your beading wire. They do show more than plain crimps because they are flat and not folded over but they have the twist design on the outside and look just fine in a finished piece. You do want to make sure you have at least one bead at the end after the crimp so the flattened crimp doesn’t rub or scratch the wearer. I know that crimp covers don’t work over the 3x2mm twist crimps but I have not tried them over the 2x2mm size. I order mine from several well known online vendors but you can just google “twist crimp beads” and find them.
by: Beverly Holman
I too have problems with crimps holding. In fact, I almost gave up jewelry making because of it. Glad I didn’t. I have used different types of crimps. I have found that using wire protectors works for me. My problem was that the wire wasn’t separating enough when I crimp the tube/bead and the wire would slip through. I was taught to run the wire down two or three beads before crimping. This help some but I also tie the wire after crimping. That helps with the slipping. Still, I have some falling apart even using the wire protectors but they were easy to fix.
Two things you might want to check – try beadalon in 19 g rather than softflex. I’ve had issues with softflex breaking on me also. When I first started with jewelry making, I also didn’t allow any “play” in the loop made by the crimp. Rather than crimp close to the jump ring or whatever that is going through your loop of stringing material, give it a little room to move freely in the loop. This reduces stress on the wire and the crimp. I always use crimp covers also.
Smash them flat
I use 2×2 sterling silver crimps and I always use two. I also cut the soft flex a little long and feed the end of it thought a small bright sterling silver bead. I smash the crimp beads flat with chain nose pliers instead of using the crimping tool. And I never re-use my crimps.
by: Jody M
I’ve had issues with a particular type of crimps that I bought from a major catalog/online dealer. The first time I bought them, great quality! The next time I had to restock, though, I swear they were made from tinfoil. I used two and that seemed to help, but as soon as I found better quality crimps at a local store, I got them and it was worth the higher price.
When I was having a problem with crimps holding, I was told to make sure my beading wire was not crossed over itself. Since I have been makng sure they lay side by side I don’t have any more crimp failures.
I must be lucky!
by: Chatty Cat
I see all the comments about “sterling only” crimp. I have to admit, I have never used sterling crimp beads, and have not had anything returned because of breakage. Good rule of thumb is if you’re using the silver plated, brass, or gold plated, just make sure you get a little resistance when crimping.
If it seems like the crimp almost crimps too easily when you’ve hardly begun to close the crimpers, abort! abort! haha…really, though, I’m amazed that in all these years, I’ve had no issues. I don’t think it’s the crimp so much as how it’s done. I know you’re supposed to “curl” it over once you’ve crimped, but I don’t do that. I always use crimp covers, so it doesn’t matter what it looks like, as long as it’s strong. I double crimp, except on very light bracelets.
Once you find a supplier with crimp that works for you, order several thousand of them!
Sterling crimps always!
I always use sterling crimps and have rarely had a problem – I think once in 15 years. Luckily, it was a piece I owned and not one I’d sold.
The reason sterling works better is that it’s softer than the plated/base metal crimps – it molds around the stringing material better. The base metals tend to be harder and more brittle, which means that they don’t mold to the stringing material as well and they can snap. I’ve had cheap crimps break right when I crimped them.
If I’m using different colored findings, I use crimp covers. I’ll never NOT use sterling. For me, it’s worth a little added expense.
having trouble with string sliding thru crimps
First off I have to say that I have amassed a load of knowledge about using crimps and I am so excited now about getting home from work and start putting some of these tips to use. I have been making jewelry now for over a year. Right now I just make for friends and family as gifts. I am too scared or nervous that my pieces aren’t good enough to sell. I have had some trobles (well a lot actually) with my stringing material sliding out of the crimps. It feels like it’s completely tight when I tug on it, yet after wearing the piece awhile, it starts pulling out. I don’t know if I’m using the wrong string type (I use elastic cording because wire intimidates me) or if I’m just not crimping right. But hopefully after trying some of the great ideas I’ve found here, I can get my pieces sell-ready !!!
a long time ago I started using crimp tubes instead of beads. With a crimp cover, of course. Then It doesn’t matter what color tube is used.