Seashell Inspired Bracelet and Clasp How-To

You guys. Remember how occasionally I post lists of things like this list of photo inspirations? And how fairly often they don’t actually turn into jewelry? It’s a fair bet that I won’t actually go through with a lot of that inspiration for a while, but today I finished a new bracelet based off of the shell from that post!

This shell!

This bracelet! I know the coloring in the pictures is a little off. Sorry!

And because I want to, I’m also going to share a How-To for the clasp I use for these chunky seed bead cuff bracelets. I made it up myself a while ago, out of necessity. It’s really super easy (and my tutorial is really picture heavy, so for visual learners that may help)

All you need are your side cutters, your round nose pliers, and your chain nose pliers. Also the bracelet you want the clasp for, and some wire. As you’ll see in the pictures (due to my abuse of the wire) the wire I use is just base-metal and it will eventually wear down. As long as you’re using half-hard 18ga wire, the kind of wire you use shouldn’t matter. You can use sterling, or gold filled, but you may want to test the softness of your wire before you trust the clasp too much.

So the first thing you do is take your clasp-less bracelet.

What you want to make at each end of it is, with whatever stitch you’re using (my bracelet is peyote, but really this’ll work with any stitch) is to make a loop about 6 wide (when working with 11/0 seed beads). If you’re working with other sizes, just try to keep in mind that the wire will have to go through your loop about three times, and it’s really helpful that it not be stuck in one position.

As you can see, my loop was more of a tube because the bracelet is so thick. I don’t think this particular type of clasp would work on anything less than 4 beads wide, but you can try it and decide for yourself if you like the look of this clasp for a thinner project. (Share if you do!)

I cut two pieces of wire, there you can see how they measure up to the bracelet. I tried to make them about 4 times the width of the bracelet. Generally it’s better to cut more wire than less wire, but it’s tricky in this instance because you can end up with a clasp that is too big, and have to do some hardcore re-sizing.

Bend the wire, somewhere between a third and a quarter of the way down. Basically I make the bend and then squish it. This will eventually form the pronged part of your clasp.

Bend over the other side. You should probably check first to make sure that the ends protrude the amount you want them to in the bracelet before you do, but I often forget and it works out.

Stick it through your loop/tube…

Bend upwards…

And create a notch about 1cm long(ish) at the end of each side. These become the prongs, and you now officially have half of your clasp done.

The other end is a bit trickier. You’re gonna create a loop, like you would any other loop, and make both ends of the wire touch. Pick the same spot on the other wire, and go for it.

It should look something like this. This one isn’t quite done yet, you want your two ends of the wire to lie flush.

Thread the wire end through (the loop probably won’t fit through your tube, and please don’t force it!) Pick the spot on the other end where you want your second loop.

Pull, so your wire is as far through as it’s gonna go, make your loop, and thread the “loose” end of the wire back through your tube.

Clip any over-lappy bits. Voila. Does this picture remind you of anything? From here, you just need to bend up, just like we did for the other end of the clasp.

Should look like this.

Woot finished bracelet!

This is what the clasp looks like when closed. Because of the stiffness of the wire,  you basically pinch close to your tube on the side with the prongs gently and they will move out of the loops, without bending too far out of shape. (Not true if you pinch too hard, or attempt to force them by bending the wire. That just bends your clasp out of shape.)

I’m a pretty big fan of this bracelet, and I’ve been wearing bracelets with this clasp since the turquoise cuff I made (also with photo-inspiration!) waay back in November, and it hasn’t fallen apart. Not secure enough for wild dancing or raves, but secure enough for every day use. (And please remember, most jewelry isn’t secure enough for dancing. If you want to wear jewelry dancing, check all your connections ahead of time and be mentally prepared for the anguish you will feel when you lose it anyway. I speak from experience.)

If you have questions, ask! If you have answers, answer! If you have comments, comment! You get the idea.

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