- NEW DVD Series – Stone Setting with Bezels
- Tube Set Charm by Kim St. Jean
- Prong Basket Pendant by Kim St. Jean
- NEW DVD Series – Stone Setting with Cold Connections
- New DVD Series – Stone Setting with Wire
- NEW DVD Series: Introduction to Stone Setting by Kim St. Jean
- Featured Tool: Bracelet Bending Plier
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Make Your Own Bead Caps
by Kate Richbourg
December 16, 2013
How to Make Your Own Bead Caps
by Kate Richbourg
Making bead caps are one of my favorite ways to embellish beads and it’s super easy with the right tools. Choose any type of metal, sterling silver, copper and brass all work great with this technique.
24-gauge sheet metal
1. Use the largest sized cutter on the power punch pliers to cut discs from the 24-gauge sheet. It cuts discs measuring 9/32″ (.281″ or 7.14mm) perfect for 8-10mm beads. Note that the finished hole size may spread a bit depending on the metal and the force used to shape the cap in the dapping block.
2. Don’t fuss over getting the hole in the exact center, since these caps have an organic look to them, a slightly off-center hole works best in my opinion.
3. Texture the discs if desired with texture hammers and bench block. Use a permanent marker to mark placement on the discs for the center hole.
4. Pierce hole using the 1.25mm (18g wire) or 1.8mm (16g wire) hand held hole punch pliers or the 3/32” die (14g wire) that comes with the power punch pliers. Depending on your desired results.
5. Place pierced cap right side down in a dapping block. Choose a depression that leaves a bit of room around the piece. Choose a corresponding dap and gently tap the cap into shape with the dap using a brass mallet. Check the fit against the bead and continue to curve the cap using a smaller depression and dap until you are pleased with the fit. Repeat until all discs are complete. Oxidize and polish if desired.
6. I use these caps on earrings as well as when I string beads to highlight special beads in the design. I especially like how they look with metallic-finish freshwater pearls. The contrast between the hard metal and soft pearl is a favorite look.