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Selecting Clasps


After you have selected the beads and the type of thread what you plan to string them on, the next decision is how you are going to connect the two ends of the necklace together.


The simplest and easiest is to tie the two ends together with a knot. This is the most common way used when working with elastic, leather, or cloth. With elastic, you want to tie a permanent knot, and you put the necklace on by stretching it over the Pleo’s head. With leather or cloth, you typically tie and untie the ends to put the necklace on or take it off.

Knotting works well with elastic, or if you are planning to leave the necklace on for long periods of time. But if you plan to swap out necklaces often, tying and untying can become problematical. Leather will tend to retain the shape and creases it was in when tied, and over time will crack or break the leather. Also, if you tie the knot too tight it may become difficult to remove. But if you tie it too loose, it may come undone.


The main alternative to knotting is to use a clasp. Clasps usually are used when working with silk, nylon, or wire, but can also be used with elastic, and occasionally with leather. A clasp, has a connector attached at each end of the necklace that allows the two ends to hold together. Clasps fall into four basic categories:

Spring (ring & lobster claw) - Spring ring clasps look like round “C” with a spring loaded lever that you can push back to open the gap between the two ends of the “C” . You then slide the ring from the other end of the necklace into the middle of the "C" and release the lever to close the gap and keep the ring from sliding out. A lobster claw is similar in operation, but instead of a “C”, then end looks like a claw. Pushing the lever moves a bar down to let the ring slide in. Both styles are quite common, and can be purchased in various types of metal finishes. They are fairly secure, but can be difficult to operate for people with big hands or restricted finger movement (like arthritis). Also, the protruding lever could pose a problem if it rubs against the Pleo’s skin.

Barrel (screw & magnetic) - Barrel screw clasps consist of two round threaded cylinders where one end screws into the other end by twisting them around several times. Magnetic clasps have a small magnet mounted inside each end that are attracted to each other and stick together. The best magnetic clasps use neobmyium magnets. Hematite and magnetite are also used for magnetic clasps. The benefit of barrel clasps is no protruding lever. The screw type are also generally the least expensive to purchase. The magnetic type are ideal for those with limited strength or dexterity as you need only to touch the two ends together to connect and pull apart to separate.

The biggest question (not yet answered) is if the magnetic field from the clasps will affect the Pleo’s electronics in any way.

Hook (hook & ring and toggle) - The hook & ring clasp is very simply just that. One end of the chain has a loop or ring, and the other end has a ‘J” shaped piece of metal that “hooks” through the ring. With a toggle clasp, the hook has more of a flatted “T” or bar shape that slips sideways through the ring and when straightened out, won’t fit back through the ring. Both of these styles tend to be larger in size, which helps make them easy to put on and take off. But they are not considered very secure, as the hook can easily come off of the ring accidentally.

The hook style is often used for creating variable length necklaces. The ring end is replaced with a section of chain. That way, the hook can be placed through any link in the chain, thus adjusting the overall length. The toggle style clasp is popular as a design element of the necklace, as the shape of the ring and toggle can often be found in a variety of specialized shapes and themes.

Safety - Safety clasps are often used on the more expensive necklaces and bracelets because it is often impossible for them to “accidentally” come apart. They consist of a hook and ring clasp where the ring is an eye or box shaped cage that the hook also snaps into with a spring loaded release. Some safety clasps can also be found with an additional “safety chain” that linked to both ends of the clasp, so that if the spring loaded release comes apart and the hook comes off the ring, the chain will stop the necklace from coming completely apart. These clasps are the hardest to put on and take off, but are considered the ideal choice for fine jewelry.

If you are using a clasp, the ends of the thread have to be somehow secured to the clasp. Each end of the clasp has a ring or loop mounted on it to connect the string to. The simplest way to attach the string to the loop is to tie it. This should be quite fine for your Pleo. But for those who want a more professional finish, your choices are:

Hidden knot - Many barrel clasps use a wire pin to form the loop. If this is the case, the pin can be removed. You can thread your string through the clasp, tie a knot on the end of the string, and then slide the clasp over the knot. The knot is hidden inside the barrel.

Clam shell - If your barrel clasp does not use a pin, or if you are using one of the other types of clasp, you can use a “clamshell” bead to hide the knot. A clamshell bead is a hollow metal bead that has been cut in half and bent open (resembling an open clam shell), with a hole on one half and a ring attached to the other half. Again, you thread your string through the hole, tie a knot in the end of the string, slide the bead over the knot, and sqeeze the two halves of the bead closed. The ring on the other side connects to the ring on the clasp, and the knot is hidden inside the bead. Clamshells work well with silk, but can also be used with elastic and wire.

Crimp beads - A more common alternative used with wire (and occasionally silk) is to use a crimp bead. A crimp bead is a small tubular metal bead. With a crimp bead, you thread the string through the crimp bead, loop in through the ring on the clasp, and back through the crimp bead. The bead is then “crimped”, crushed, or squeezed tight to clamp the two string together so that the loop won’t slip out. A larger bead can often be slipped over the crushed crimp bead to hide the ends of the string. Crimp beads do not work well with elastic.

French wire - When working with silk, the concern with looping the thread through the ring on the clasp is, that over time, the frequent movement of the clasp will wear through and fray the string. To prevent this, a French wire is used. The French wire is basically a short piece of tubing or sheathing you thread the string through before looping through the ring on the clasp. This adds a shell of protection around the wire to prevent it from rubbing.

Whatever method you use for connecting the two ends of the necklace together, and more specifically (if needed), how you plan to connect the ends of the thread to the clasp, will determine the majority of the steps needed in making the necklace. The details of each method are described on the page How to attach clasps.

Clam Shell Tips

To help keep that little knot inside the clam shell, slip a tiny seed bead (such as a size 11) down to the end of thread and tie it into the knot. This anchors the bead on the end of the thread. Then when the clam shell closed, the seed bead rests inside of the clam shell.

Crimp Bead Tips

Get a real pair of crimping pliers, and do not try to fake a crimp with a regular pair of pliers. It just is not the same. and don't expect perfection on your first, second, or even third try. As with any other jewelry technique, this takes practice.

Use the tube shaped crimp beads rather than the round beads. They are much easier to work with, especially for beginners.

If you really don't like the look of a crimp bead on the ends of your work, take a 4,5 or 6mm smooth bead with a large hole, and string it on. It slides right over the crimp.