In this post, I am going to show you how to add a beaded clasp to your work. Not just any beaded clasp, but one that is an extension of the design of the piece you are creating. I previously showed you how to make a basic clasp. This tutorial shows you how to create a bar and a circle, but doesn't address the resulting design. As beginners, I think we may be more focused on mechanics than we are on aesthetics.
I addressed the issue of aesthetics with beaded clasps somewhat with the Robin bracelet. I showed how the clasp can be an integral design of the piece, but I didn't go into specifics on how to do it.
With the Sherry bracelet, I extended the design into the clasp. In this post, I am going to walk you through that process. The pattern for this bracelet includes detailed instructions for making this beaded clasp. The pattern can be found on the Patterns and Kits page. On the hexagon side, I chose to extend the bracelet design on one side and then repeated it for the other 5 sides. I like the way it came out. Kind of like a kaleidoscope. Even with keeping it simple, it required a bit of trial and error. With some work, you could extend the design through the entire hexagon.
My Journey With Clasps
This was one of the first bracelets I beaded, and I was just happy to be able to bead the clasp. As you can see, I just used random leftover beads. I eventually started thinking about blending the clasp with the bracelet, but I still didn't get too adventurous.
It wasn't until my friend Valerie M. shared her bracelets with me that I realized I was missing the boat. Now, those are beautiful clasps!
So, I began to try a little harder, actually put some thought into the clasp. I think I did a pretty good job with this one, Autumn Leaves.
And this one, Bird in the Dogwood.
How To Make A Beaded Clasp To Compliment Your Design
Let's start with the easy part - the bar. I am going to demonstrate the technique on my most popular free pattern - Crossing the Line. You can download the pattern here at the end of this post.
Let's take this a step further and extend the design into the clasp. This design is "easy", because the eye is not going to count the beads to make sure you are consistent with the sizes of the the diamonds. You can look at the end where the bar is and pretty much tell that the light green color is going to extend through the piece that connects the bar to the bracelet. The top end of the bar would be the dark green color and the bottom end would have the grey diagonal line through it.
The first step is to find the center of the bracelet. Since this bracelet was an even count peyote project, the center will be 2 beads. I like to make the piece that attaches the bar to the bracelet about 4 beads wide.
I have the benefit of designing with the beading program. Here, I have extended the design and then cutout the beads that would make a bar. I have made the bar 26 beads wide. If you are going to add seed beads around the ends for decoration, then you might want to adjust the width. If you are going to make the other end a triangle, then you also might want to make it wider as the hole will be bigger. You can always add rows with brick stitch if it falls out.
Now, it's not real obvious with this design, but what is the problem with leaving it at that if this were a more complicated design? The issue is that the bar is going to fold back on itself making a "pipe" and both sides aren't going to be the same. The bracelet will be the same on both sides, but if I left the bar like this, one side would look perfect and the other side, not so perfect. You have to draw an imaginary line down the middle and then repeat the design.
If you are a new beader, then I suggest you bead the "channel" right from the bracelet and then bead the bar as a separate piece. Then attach the bar to the channel.
Now, on the other end, you need something for the bar to fit through that will hold it. Common shapes are circles, squares, triangles and hexagons. The circles is probably the easiest to bead, but I think the square is the easiest to incorporate the design.
To try to extend the design into the square is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of trial and error even for the simplest pattern.Similarly to making the bar, you need to extend the design of the bracelet and then "cut out" the beads needed to make a square.
In this diagram, I have loosely drawn a square in the pattern that corresponds to the end of the bracelet, This is what I am going to base my square on.
Even a simple pattern like this is not as easy as it looks. After a couple of attempts, I had a square that was OK. Not perfect and definitely small. I had made each side 10 beads, I think they need to be 12 or 14.
In my opinion, the square part of the beaded clasp looks just as good as long as it coordinates with the bracelet design. In other words, for this bracelet, you could do the sides in one color (or a different color per side) and then do grey in the corners.
Another quick example uses the Irish Luck geometric bracelet. Again, not much imagination with the original clasp.
What if I had done a beaded clasp like this?