One of the easiest ways to finish the ends of jewelry cord is to attach metal findings called coil ends. They're affordable, come in a variety of finishes, and you can use them on just about any round jewelry cord, including leather and rubber cord.
1. Select the Correct Size of Coil End
First, be sure to select a pair of coil ends that have the same inside diameter as the size of your jewelry cord. Common diameters are 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, and 5mm. Your cord should slide into the coil end easily, with only a small amount of space between the surface of the cord and the inside of the coil end.
Tip: Some coil ends are labeled with their outside diameter, rather than their inside diameter. Remember that the inside diameter is what needs to match your cord size.
2. Flush-Cut the Ends of the Cord
After measuring out your cord, trim both ends with side cutters. (The cutters shown in the photo are Fiskars brand.) To make flat, or "flush" cuts, make sure that the flat sides of the blades face the cord.
3. Apply Glue and Slide On the First Coil End
Dip one end of the cord in multi-purpose glue (I used E6000), and slide on one of the cord ends. Position the cord so that its end is level with the end of the coils. Use a paper towel to wipe up any excess glue before it sets.
4. Crimp the First Coil End
This step is easier to complete after the glue has dried.
Using narrow-tipped chain nose pliers, slowly squeeze down on the the very first coil on the coil end. This "crimps" the coil end and helps to keep it from falling off. In the photo, I'm using curved pliers, but pliers with straight jaws also work.
Tip: Some coil ends are easier to crimp than others. With stiffer coil ends, hold them firmly with your fingers for leverage while you squeeze down with the pliers.
5. Optional: String Your Pendant or Bead
If you have a pendant or other component to string, check to see whether it fits over the coil end that you just installed. If not, you'll need to string it onto the cord before attaching the second coil end.
The Dutch Folk Art Pendant in the photo is an example of a piece that fits over 2mm cord, but does not fit over a matching coil end.
6. Attach the Second Coil End
Now you're ready to dip the other cord end in glue, slide on the second coil end, and crimp down the lowermost coil. Use a paper towel to wipe any excess glue, just as you did with the first coil end.
7. Use Jump Rings to Attach a Clasp
Use two pairs of chain nose or flat nose pliers to attach jump rings and a clasp to the loops on your coil ends. I often use a basic lobster clasp like the one shown in the photo.