You can use clam shell bead tips to attach clasps to the ends of strung bead necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.
Please click on any image in this tutorial for a larger view.
1. Gather Your Materials
You will need:
- A pair of clam shell bead tips
- Jewelry cord (and the beads to complete your design)
- A pair of chain nose jewelry pliers
- 2 jump rings
- A ready-made clasp assembly (such as a toggle clasp)
- Scissors (not shown)
- A second pair of chain nose pliers (for attaching the jump rings)
- Instant bond glue
- A beading awl, sewing needle, or safety pin (not shown)
Clam shells are best for beads strung on fine jewelry cord, such as silk or spun polyester cord (e.g, C-Lon Beading Cord or Amiet). Most clam shells fit over cord that is up to about 1mm in diameter.
There are different sizes and styles of clam shells to choose from. I typically use 3mm secure-style clam shells that have closed metal rings (rather than bent metal tabs) for attaching to jump rings. Select a color and finish that coordinate well with your clasp, beads, and any other components in your design.
2. Tie a Knot and String a Clam Shell
Begin by cutting a length of cord that is slightly longer than your desired finished length. I usually add at least 3 inches total for making the knots. (If you need a very specific length, it's better to cut significantly more than you need so that you can place the second knot exactly where you need it and trim off the excess.)
Tie a simple overhand knot about an inch from one end of the cord. (Just loop the cord around itself, pass the end through the loop, and cinch down.)
Trim the cord close to the knot with scissors.
String one of the clam shells onto the unknotted end of the cord, with the open "shell" facing the end with the knot.
3. Secure the Clam Shell
Slide the clam shell all the way down until the knot sits within the metal cups. Apply a small drop of instant bond glue to the knot.
Squeeze the clam shell closed with chain nose pliers. This should only require very gentle force.
4. Attach a Jump Ring and Clasp Part
Open a jump ring and use chain nose pliers to slide it through the rings on the closed clam shell.
- For help opening and closing jump rings, see Step 2 and Step 4 of How to Attach a Jewelry Clasp With Jump Rings.
Slide on one part of your clasp. In the example, the toggle ring part of the toggle clasp is shown.
Close the jump ring.
5. String the Beads and Attach the Second Clam Shell
String all of the beads in your pattern.
String on the second clam shell, with the open "shell" facing the unbeaded end of the cord.
Tie a very loose overhand knot in the cord, and slide the tip of a beading awl, sewing needle, or safety pin through the loop. While holding the end of the cord with one hand, use your other hand to slide the knot down into the cups of the clam shell.
When the knot is positioned correctly, remove the awl, needle, or safety pin, and pull the end of the cord to fully cinch down the knot.
Trim the cord close to the knot, and coat it with a drop of instant bond glue. Use chain nose pliers to close the clam shell over the knot.