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Tool Tips


 

In order to make a quality necklace, you need a quality set of tools. For working with your Pleo, you don't need a lot of tools, and most of the basic tools can be found in most households.

Ruler - You need something to measure with. For general jewelry work, I also suggest a cloth measuring tape, but for making necklaces for your Pleo, all you need is a 12-inch ruler. I would recommend one of those inexpensive grade school rulers, the type that has the groove down the middle, as the groove makes a nice place to lay the necklace.

Scissors - Although a concern when working with small children, the best scissors for the job are small and sharp! If you are working with wire, you may want to consider a good quality pair of wire cutters, but for the size wire we're using, a good pair of scissors will do the job.

Glue - Super glue is very versatile for working with jewelry, but it can get messy, and it dries pretty stiff. There are brands of glue made specifically for jewelry, fabric work, and crafts that are more flexible and still strong. All you need the glue for when making these necklaces is something to help hold the knots from coming undone, so any good glue should work.

Pliers - If you are using a clasp, you will need two pairs of pliers. First off, a pair of flat, smooth end needle-nosed pliers. be careful when selecting a pair. Most needle-nose pliers sold at hardware stores have ridges or roughness on the inside of the tips to help the pliers grab and hold onto things. These ridges scratch and scar the delicate jewelry pieces. So, you want to look for pliers that the inside of the tips is flat and smooth. The second pair should be round-nosed pliers. On this pair, the ends are smooth, but instead of being flat, they are circular. This helps when working with the metal rings on the clasps. And, if you are using crimp beads, you'll need a set of crimping pliers. These pliers are made specifically for crimping beads, and have notches to help shape the crimp bead. In an emergency, you can use the flat nosed pliers to crimp beads, but this does not work nearly as well.

Misc items to have around - A few other things you don't NEED, but are handy to have around if the need arises are: a large needle (for working with knots and glue), a bead reamer (for enlarging holes and smoothing out rough edges), magnifying glass on a stand (for those really tiny beads), and a magnet (for holding / retrieving metal beads or that pesky needle if you drop in the carpet).

Another key consideration, as much as a good set of tools, is a good, safe place to work. Remember, beads are small and they roll easily. You will want to find a work place that has good lighting to help see the small pieces, and is flat so beads won't roll away. You will want something with a rough texture to put on the work surface, like a bead board, piece of felt, or even just a towel. This helps keep the beads from rolling around or bouncing away if you drop them. And, you may want to consider a towel on the floor under your work area to catch those beads that will roll off (and, yes, they will) a wood or tile floor will send the bead sailing across the room. Of course, if the floor is a shag or deep pile, you may never be able to dig the bead out, either.

A bead board has places to sort and hold the beads while you are working, as well as channels to lay the beads in while designing the necklace. If you donít have a bead board, canít get one, or just don't want to spend the money, you can glue a piece of felt inside a shoebox lid or other tray. But you may also want some small bowls, plates, or large mouth cups to hold your beads in while youíre working.

Using Crimping Pliers

Hold the handles together and take a look at the nose of the pliers. You'll notice two holes. The first is oval shaped, and the second is oval with a dip on one side.

1. Position the crimp bead and thread in the oval with the dip on the pliers, and close the pliers around the bead. You'll see the bead curl into the dip.

2. Turn the crimp bead to its side and position it in the first oval so that the curled edge of the bead is against one side of the pliers. Then close the pliers around the crimp bead again so that you're compressing the curled bead into a rounded shape.

3. Once the crimp bead is secure, trim off any excess thread.

Using Wire Cutters

Wire cutters have triangular shaped blades that come together. The more the blades are angled toward each other, the closer the cut. When you use wire cutters, always place the flat, back edge of the blades against the portion of the wire thatís going to remain with the necklace. The angled edge should face away from your work. This helps ensure a very close, flat cut.