Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads, Metalwork. Stamping, Stamps. A friend recently confided in me that she was just diagnosed with breast cancer.
Stamped Tube Beads
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Metalwork
  • Technique(s): Stamping
  • Skill Level: Beginner
A friend recently confided in me that she was just diagnosed with breast cancer. This bracelet was made for her as a reminder that during the worst of the chemo, she is strong and will get through this.

Stamping skill is not needed to make these beads. Since I do not do much stamping, any lines of letters I stamp will be crooked and not straight. With these little tube beads, that does not matter. The entire word is never seen at one time because it is wrapped around the tube.

Materials

24 Gauge Dead Soft Argentium Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H19-24SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $48.95
  • Gold Club Price: $36.71
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Tools

French Shears, Straight, 7 Inch
SHR-530.00
  • SHR-530.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $17.44
  • Gold Club Price: $13.08
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Multi Angle Cutting Jig
VIS-512.00
  • VIS-512.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $84.95
  • Gold Club Price: $63.71
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Brass Caliper - Gemstone And Bead Measuring Tool
G7-9
  • G7-9
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $8.97
  • Gold Club Price: $6.73
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6 Step Barrel Plier - Pack of 1
G2-503
  • G2-503
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $18.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.21
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Wubbers Medium Bail Making Pliers
G2-1302
  • G2-1302
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $27.95
  • Gold Club Price: $20.96
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Flat Nose Wire Pliers
G2-506
  • G2-506
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
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Chain Nose Wire Pliers
G2-508
  • G2-508
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
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5 1/2 Inch Nylon Flat Jaw Pliers with Replacement Jaws
G2-1
  • G2-1
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.97
  • Gold Club Price: $7.48
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Acculoop Precision Round Nose
PLR-741.00
  • PLR-741.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $18.97
  • Gold Club Price: $14.23
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Designer Stamp Set--1/8 Lowercase Block Letter Set
PUN-205.90
  • PUN-205.90
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $99.97
  • Gold Club Price: $74.98
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Steel Bench Block 4x4 Inch - Pack of 1
G17-10
  • G17-10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $21.95
  • Gold Club Price: $16.46
Out of Stock
Brass Hammer - 1 Pound
HAM-456.10
  • HAM-456.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $24.97
  • Gold Club Price: $18.73
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WET/DRY PAPER 9 X 11 ASST- 20PC- 2EA GRIT 180-3000
ABR-500.90
  • ABR-500.90
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $24.95
  • Gold Club Price: $18.71
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Basic Soldering Kit
G15-4
  • G15-4
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $58.95
  • Gold Club Price: $44.21
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Silver Solder Paste Medium SS70 - 1/4 T.O.
SOL-822.15
  • SOL-822.15
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $18.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.21
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Silver Solder Paste Soft SS65- 1/4 T.O.
SOL-822.10
  • SOL-822.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $16.95
  • Gold Club Price: $12.71
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Instructions
Step 1
Read through the tutorial before starting the project. Follow all safety precautions for the space you are working in as well as all safety precautions pertaining to the tools and supplies you will be using to complete the project.

The first step is to determine the size of tube bead needed. The tube should move easily on the chain but not slide over the end caps. Nothing is more frustrating than beads sliding off a bracelet when trying to clasp it around the wrist.

The double foxtail chain used here was made with 20 gauge fused 12mm ID jump rings and pulled down to 13/64" on my homemade drawplate. The double foxtail chain, which is more of a square than round chain, measures a hair less than 5¼mm at the widest point. The outer diameter of the rim on the bottom of the end caps is 6mm.

Taking into account the size of the chain and the end caps, the inner diameter of the slide bead should be between the two.

It is always useful to know why a particular tool is used or why something is done in a certain way. Keep all the above information in mind when making these tube beads. But don't worry-THERE WILL BE NO MATH INVOLVED IN MAKING TUBE BEADS!
Step 2
Since final cut size of the piece for a tube bead is only ¼" wide (a hair less than 12mm) and bit over ¾" (31 to 32mm) long, scrap sheet metal can be used to make them.

There is not much room for error in tube bead size here because the difference between the chain and end cap diameter is so small. To make sure the bead being made will fit the chosen chain and not slide over the end caps, it is a good idea to use a base metal strip to determine the length needed. Keep track of the measurements being used so you don't have to go through Steps 3-7 again.

Cut ¼" wide strips of 24 gauge metal. A little wider or narrower is not a problem-first photo. Once the length needed is determined, smaller scrap pieces can be used-second photo.
Pro Tip: Tube beads made with decorative pattern wire would be great spacer beads between word beads.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, cut metal strips
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, cut metal strips
Step 3
Mark and square one end of the strip. There are many ways to square the end of the wire strip, but the easiest and fastest way for me is to use a miter jig and vise. The only reason for squaring the end is to help in determining the length needed. If the cut is square using metal shears, that would be fine for this step.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, mark and square one end of the strip
Step 4
The metal strip has enough temper that it will be a bit springy, which makes it harder to shape into a small size. Anneal the strip being used to make it easier to form into a ring. Note: Since Argentium silver was used here to make the tube beads, pickling after each step where a torch is used on the metal is not necessary.
Step 5
Use a caliper to measure the chain and the end cap to determine what diameter the slider bead should be. The diameter should be somewhere between the two. For the bead to slide easily on the chain, it should be closer to the diameter of the end cap. None of the steps on the 6 step barrel pliers were the right size needed, so the next closest size larger was chosen for forming-first photo.

Gently grasp the metal strip on the very end of the squared end of the strip. Use your fingers to push the strip around the chosen plier barrel-second photo. Shift the pliers and continue until the strip meets the cut end-third photo. Use a retractable ultra-fine point Sharpie to mark where the metal strip overlaps the squared end.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, determine the diameter
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, wrap the strip around the mandrel
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, mark where to cut the metal
Step 6
The formed strip is too large as the end cap will slide right through it-first photo. Use a pliers with a smaller barrel to gently coax the tube bead to a smaller size-second photo. Keep checking until finally the end cap will not slide through the tube. Draw a Sharpie line at the overlap-third photo.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, mark where to cut the metal
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, tube beads must not be able to slide over the end caps
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, mark where to cut the metal
Step 7
Carefully open and flatten the strip. Measure the strip. This is the length cut for stamping, not the length cut to make the tube bead.

Cut the strip on the new line. Form the piece into a tube in the same manner as above. Remove a very tiny sliver of metal at a time until the ends meet tightly and the desired fit is achieved between the chain and the end caps. Note: All this shaping will work-harden the strip. Anneal the strip periodically to make working with it easier.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, flatten the strip to stamp
Step 8
Carefully open and flatten the tube. Measure the strip. DO NOT cut the strip to this length at this time.
Step 9
The strip to stamp should be cut longer than the length determined in Step 8. The word stamped should be fit in a space shorter than the length determined in For my beads, STRENGTH was the longest word I felt comfortable stamping using 1.5mm upper case letter stamps. I know that using several layers of tape at the bottom edge of where I want the letters stamped should help with positioning. I know that Sharpie tick marks should help with spacing. All that said, I am terrible at stamping because I do not do it often enough to become proficient at it. With these beads, it does not matter. The tube is so small that the whole wonky word will never be seen at one time-a WIN in my book.

Tape both ends of the strip to be stamped to a bench block. I decided that with my minimal stamping skills, working from the center of the work out was a non-starter. I just stamped the word from the first to the last letter.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, tape down the metal strip
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, mark off where the letters will go
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, stamp the letters
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, stamp the letters
Step 10
Determine where to cut both ends of the strip to make sure the word does not butt up to one end of the strip. Use shears to cut just short of that line on either end of the strip. Secure the strip in a miter jig and vise and file both ends square. Make sure the strip ends up the length determined in Step 8.

Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, determine where to cut the strip
Step 11
Stamping has work-hardened the strip. To make it easier to form the tube bead, anneal the strip before continuing.
Step 12
Start forming the tube using 6 step barrel pliers.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, form around the bail making pliers
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, form the tube
Step 13
Push the ends of the tube together using soft jaw pliers-first photo. Use chain nose and/or flat nose pliers to pull the filed ends together and flatten them until they meet-second photo. Keep working the tube with pliers until the tube ends are perfectly flush-third and fourth photos.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, form the tube
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, form the tube
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, close the tube
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, close the tube for soldering
Step 14
Place a small bit of medium paste solder on the seam inside the tube. Stand the tube up on a soldering surface. Heat the tube until the solder flows. Allow the tube to cool.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, solder the tube closed
Step 15
The tube beads are too small to shape on a bezel mandrel. Acculoop precision round nose pliers are great tiny mandrels to re-shape the beads on so they are round. Just make sure to keep flipping the bead over on the plier jaw, just like you would on a ring mandrel if making a ring. Keep checking the bead fit on the chain and the end caps so it does not become too large.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, form the tube on a mandrel
Step 16
The cut ends of the tube bead strip may not have been exactly the same width. Stamping may also have made the edges uneven. Place a piece of 320 grit sandpaper on a bench block. Run both ends of the tube bead over the sandpaper, evening the ends.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, sand the edges of the tube
Step 17
This step is not necessary. Use a 1.8mm hole punch to make a tiny disc from a scrap of 24 gauge sheet. Make a depression in a magnesia soldering block to set the tube bead in. The dot will be centered, or close to it, between the ends of the word. Place a bit of easy paste solder at that point-I was in a rush and used too much here. Press the dot into the paste solder. Heat the bead until the solder flows. Be careful and keep a solder pick handy. If the heat gets too close to the bead, the little dot may slide off when the solder starts to flow. Allow the bead to cool.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, solder on a decorative dot
Step 18
Pickle the bead. Neutralize it in baking soda water after removing it from the pickle. Rinse and dry the bead.

Step 19
Tumble the bead for several hours. This will help polish the interior of the bead, making for a smoother slide on the chain.

Step 20
Now that you have made one bead, make several more. They can become addictive!

Step 21
What is your preference? I really like patina on a piece like this as it would bring out the details of the chain and end caps as well as the words on the beads. However, I know the recipient likes bright silver, and this bracelet is all about her. A little message card was added to the package so she would know the reason the words were chosen.
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, stamped tube beads
Judy Larson's Stamped Tube Beads - , Metalwork, Stamping, Stamps, stamped tube beads