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Which Size Crimps Should I Use?

A Look at Crimp Bead and Crimp Tube Sizes

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Crimp Tubes

Sterling silver crimp tubes.

© Chris Franchetti Michaels

Crimp tubes and crimp beads for beading wire are available in a variety of diameters. As you gain experience, you'll likely develop your own crimp size preferences. In the meantime, here are some tips to help narrow down your choices.

Why Crimp Size Is Important

If you use a crimp whose inside diameter is too large for your beading wire, the crimp may not adequately grip the wire, even after you close the crimp with pliers. This can lead to the crimp slipping and, ultimately, the failure of your design. Additionally, overly-large crimps can become squashed or otherwise deformed when you close them.

You should also avoid crimps that are too small for your beading wire. Even if your wire fits through a small crimp, the wire may not align properly when you close the crimp. This can also lead to strand failure.

Tip: In addition to varying diameters, crimp tubes are also available in varying lengths. Some beaders find that longer crimp tubes are more durable than shorter ones, because longer tubes have more surface area to grip onto wire. However, shorter crimps can be easier to attach and less unsightly than longer crimps.

How to Decide on a Crimp Size

There are no absolute rules for which sizes of crimps to use with which sizes of beading wire. For best results (and to keep things simple) I recommend following your beading wire manufacturer's guidelines on crimp sizes, whenever they're available. For example, Beadalon provides the following chart to help you match Beadalon brand crimps with Beadalon beading wire:

Beadalon Beading Wire Size (Inches)Beadalon Beading Wire Size (Millimeters)Beadalon Crimp Bead SizeBeadalon Crimp Tube Size
0.010"0.25mm0 or 11
0.012"0.30mm0 or 11
0.013"0.33mm0 or 11 or 2
0.015"0.38mm12
0.018"0.46mm12
0.020"0.51mm12
0.0210.53mm12
0.024"0.61mm2 or 32 or 3
0.026"0.66mm2 or 33 or 4
0.030"0.76mm34
0.036"0.91mm34

Source: Beadalon

Soft Flex also offers a chart of what it calls the "most typical" crimp tube and beading wire size combinations:

Soft Flex Beading Wire Size (Inches)Crimp Tube Size (mm)
0.010"1x1mm
0.014"2x2mm
0.019"2x2mm
0.024"2x3mm

Source: Soft Flex

If you're still in a quandary about which crimps to use with your wire, check out Tammy's general recommendations on the Jewelry Making site. She shares her preferences regarding bead size, beading wire size, and crimp size combinations.

Sizes of Crimping Pliers

Don't forget that you need to use the correct size crimping pliers with your crimp tubes. Very small crimps require that you use "micro" crimping pliers, medium crimps require "standard" or "regular" crimping pliers, and very large crimps need "extra large" or "mighty" crimping pliers.

Here are Soft Flex's crimp tube and crimping pliers size recommendations:

Crimp Tube Size (mm)Crimping Pliers Size
1x1mmMicro Pliers
2x2mmRegular Pliers
2x3mmRegular Pliers
3x3mmMighty Pliers
3x4mmMighty Pliers
3x5mmMighty Pliers

Source: Soft Flex

  • FAQ: Should I use crimp tubes instead of crimp beads?
    Many jewelry designers prefer crimp tubes over crimp beads. Crimp tubes tend to be stronger than crimp beads, and less likely to crack and break. Tubes may also do a better job of gripping beading wire, because they tend to have larger inside surface areas. Crimp tubes also allow you to use crimping pliers, which make your crimps look less like tubes and more like beads that are part of your design. Crimp beads, however, are often more economical than crimp tubes. You should feel free to use them for casual designs, or when your beading budget is tight.
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