Simply Beads Newsletter
Techniques With Chain
Chains! Sure -- you hang lockets and pendants on them, but have you ever considered combining a few simple techniques to connect different styles of chains together with beaded strands? By following these steps, you can create an asymmetrical chain-and-bead necklace that will have people asking, "Where did you buy that?"
When working with chains, keep in mind that they can have either open or closed links. "Open link" means that the chain is created with links that have, you guessed it, an opening. This opening is a small slit that can be easily twisted open in the same manner that you would open a jump hoop.
With the opening/slit in the link facing up, simply hold one side of the link with your fingers and the other side with your 4-in-1 tool or chain-nose pliers, and twist the link open; I sometimes use my fingers on both sides instead of using a tool if the size of the links will allow this (Photo 1). Slide a component, such as a beaded head pin or a beaded strand, onto the open link (Photo 2). Then twist the link closed again. Tip: Do not pull the link apart (Photo 3); this will misshape your link.
"Closed link" means that the chain is made up of links that have no openings; the links have been soldered closed. These chains are considered stronger than open-link chains; however, they are a little trickier to use in a beaded design. When using a closed-link chain in your design, you will need to use jump rings to connect components or beaded strands to the chain (Photo 4).
When connecting a beaded strand to a closed-link chain, you can begin your beaded strand by first threading your beading wire through the end link on the length of chain, stringing a crimp bead, and then threading the wire back through the crimp bead and crimping it (Photo 5). Then string your beads onto the wire followed by a crimp bead. If you are connecting to another closed-link chain, thread your wire through the last link of chain and back through the crimp bead and crimp (Photo 6).
Knowing how to work with open links or closed links can open up a variety of jewelry-making options for jewelry design. Try making chain earrings by combining dangles with chains (Photo 7). Or create a necklace using chains and beads (Photo 8).
This is just a brief overview that will assist you with this issue's free project, Red Tigereye & Chain Set. I look forward to doing a future article covering the many different styles and colors of chains. If you go to your local bead shop, craft store or any online store, you will see that in no way are you limited by the variety of chains that are on the market!