Thursday, January 31, 2013

Using Crimp Bead-Set Stones in Your Wirework

Wirework Magazine's Facebook page was nice enough to link to my last blog, so I thought we'd explore a way to use the crimp bead set stones in your wirework...with no soldering!

It's my way of saying thank you for supporting my renewed effort to blog this year and a way to celebrate both my 500th fan on my Facebook page and my exciting news at the end of this blog!

While, it would be much easier to dangle a beautiful crystal bead, there is just something special and satisfying about incorporating a truly hand made item into your work, especially if you've just spent time creating the rest of your piece, like the dogwood flower in the photo below (hint...foreshadowing my exciting news).

1. Slide the crimp bead onto a toothpick and use the smallest dimple pliers to "center punch" a divet about a quarter of the way down the tube. Do this gently, you don't want to mishapen the crimp bead, just simply provide a well for the drill bit to sit into.

2. Hold down or tape the toothpick and use an approx .8mm drill bit (1/32 or a #65 - thanks to Tim McCreights Metalsmith Suite app for the conversions), to drill a hole through one or both sides of the tubing (depending on if you are creating a dangle or a connector. You can feed the tubes onto a 12g wire if you want to ensure that they are still completely circular, necessary to set the stone.

3. Feed a one-inch 22g or 24g headpin into the tube and through the hole you just drilled. You will need to place a slight angle in the pin to get it to feed through smoothly.

4. Wire wrap a loop, tightly, so the tube doesn't spin.

(If you are making a connector, make a wire wrap loop on one end of a 2" piece of wire, feed through both holes in the tube and make a wire wrapped loop with the other end of the wire.).

5. Now, follow the directions for setting the stone found in my last blog. Since the tube is not annealed, you may find it easiest to set the stone by giving the setting punch a light tap-tap-tap with a hammer.

Ok, now to my news! I received my book in the mail! Metal Jewelry in Bloom is printed and ready to go soon. The book is beautiful and they even had some lovely hand water-colored illustration of flowers made to go with my metal creations. The book will be available through most major booksellers, Kalmbach and my website (where you can find an exclusive bundle of the book with a CD of digital templates).

Look for some sneak peaks (and an exact release date) in my next blog this weekend.

Thanks for letting me share my news!



  1. Hi Melissa,

    I wanted to let you know of an etsy seller who carries small CZs in colors: