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Connectors - Leather & Hemp

Instructions for making jewelry wire connectors when using leather or hemp to make jewelry:

Using Jewelry Wire and common jewelry tools to Make a Connector for Hemp or Leather

One of the problems in using leather or hemp to make jewelry is how do you connect the leather or hemp to your clasp to finish the necklace or bracelet.  In these instructions, we will show how to use jewelry wire to make a connector on the end of a length of leather or hemp.  The picture at right shows the finished wire connector with a loop on the end that could be connected to a clasp.

Jewelry Making Supplies Required:

Jewelry Making Tools Required:

  • 16 inches of 20 gauge jewelry wire
  • leather or hemp 16 to 24 inches long
  • Flush Cutter
  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Bent Chain Nose Pliers

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

Step-by-step instructions for making a connector out of jewelry wire using common jewelry making tools:

Step 1:  We begin making this connector with a length of 22 gauge jewelry wire about 8 inches long.  Make a U shaped bend in the middle of this wire with the bottom of the U being the width of two segments of your leather or hemp.

Instructions for using jewelry wire to make a connector for hemp or leather Step 1
Step 1


Step 2:  Now we need to connect the jewelry wire and the hemp.  The easiest way to do this is to bring the end of the hemp up in the center of the U of jewelry wire, around the outside, then under the wire and back around the outside of the second leg of the U, then down in the center of the U.  This is as shown at right.  As the Boy Scouts would teach it, the rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree then back down into the hole.  

Instructions for using jewelry wire and common jewelry tools to make a connector for hemp or leather Step 2
Step 2


Step 3:  Now pull the jewelry wire and hemp tightly together.  Make this as tight as possible both by pulling the ends and by pushing the bottom of the U.

Step 3 to instructions for using jewelry tools and  jewelry wire to make a connector for hemp or leather
Step 3


Step 4:  Now we take one leg of the U shaped piece of jewelry wire and bend it down so that it is parallel to the bottom of the U.  We are getting ready to wrap this wire segment around the hemp.  Use your bent chain nose pliers to push the jewelry wire end as close to the wire at the bottom of the U as possible.
 

Instructions for using jewelry tools and jewelry wire to make a connector for hemp or leather Step 4
Step 4


Step 5:  Wrap the end of the jewelry wire around the hemp as tightly as possible.  If necessary, you can grip the hemp with your bent chain nose pliers to help hold it while you wrap the wire.  As you can see at right, you wrap the wire tightly next to the bottom of the U, on the side that is away from the end of the hemp.  In the picture at right, this wrap starts on the left hand side of the wire a the bottom of the U and follow-on wraps are also on the left hand side of the prior wrap.  
 

Step 5 to instructions for using jewelry wire and jewelry tools to make a connector for hemp or leather.
Step 5


Step 6:  When you have almost used up the jewelry wire you are wrapping around the hemp, we need to get ready to end that wrap.  We want to end the wrap with the wire in the middle between the two segments of hemp so that it won't show and will be secure.  This is easier to do if you pull the two segments of hemp apart and using your pliers, pull the end of the wire tightly between the two segments.  You can use your bent chain nose pliers to push the wire so that it rests tightly against the wrapped wire.
 
Instructions for Using Jewelry Wire and Jewelry tools to Make a Connector for Hemp or Leather Step 6
Step 6

Step 7:  Now we cut the excess wire.  If possible, cut the jewelry wire so that the end of the wire will be hidden between the two segments of hemp.
Step 7 to instructions for using jewelry wire and jewelry tools to make a connector for hemp or leather Step 7

Step 8:  At this point we need to make the loop at the end of the necklace or bracelet.  We use this loop to connect to the clasp.  This loop could also be used as the loop for the clasp from the opposite side of the necklace to connect with.  Making this loop begins by grasping the jewelry wire with your bent chain nose pliers just beyond the end of the hemp and making a bend of about 90 degrees in the wire as shown at right.
 

Step 8 to instructions for using Jewelry Wire and Jewelry tools to Make a Connector for Hemp or Leather
Step 8


Step 9:  Grasp the jewelry wire with your round nose pliers as close to the bend in the vertical wire segment (shown in Step 8) as possible and make a loop with the wire.  This is a two step process as you will be able to make a 180 degree bend with your round nose pliers in the first step and will then need to reposition your round nose pliers to complete the loop.  When completed the loop should appear as shown at right.  If the loop is not centered on the wire leaving the hemp, adjust the loop with your round nose pliers so that it is centered. 

If you intend to connect the hemp or leather to a clasp.  This is the point where you slide the loop in the clasp into the loop in the wire that you just completed.  
 

 

 

 

Instructions for Using Common Jewelry Tools and Jewelry Wire to Make a Connector for Hemp or Leather Step 9
Step 9


Step 10:  When you have your clasp in position, tightly grasp the loop in the wire with your bent chain nose pliers.  By holding the loop in your bent chain nose pliers you preserve the round shape of the loop.  While holding the loop, wrap the wire tail around the wire segment from the hemp as tightly as possible.  Keep the wire tail that you are wrapping perpendicular to the wire that you are wrapping it around. 
Step 10 to Instructions for Using Jewelry Wire and Jewelry Making Tools to Make a Connector for Hemp or Leather Step 10
Step 10

Step 11:  Cut the excess jewelry wire.  Using a second pair of chain nose pliers and while continuing to hold the loop in your first pair of bent chain nose pliers, squeeze and twist the cut end so that it lays flat against the wire from the hemp.
 

Instructions for Using Common Jewelry Supplies to Make a Connector for Hemp or Leather Step 11
Step 11


Step 12:  At this point, we can cut the excess hemp or leather just below the wrapped wire.  The completed wrapped wire connector will appear as shown at right.  When done properly using a wire in a color that matches the color of the hemp or leather you are working with, this can create a finished end that will be unobtrusive, strong, and will make the finished necklace or bracelet look like it was made by a professional.  This approach will work with almost any size of hemp or leather.

 Don't use orange wire with the hemp.  It stands out and works well for pictures of the steps in this technique, but is certainly inappropriate for a finished jewelry item. 

 

 

Using Jewelry Wire to Make a Connector for Hemp or Leather Step 12
Step 12


Another way to add a connector to the end of a cord, hemp or leather strand is to use the spring end connector.  With thin cord, hemp or leather you can insert the cord into a spring end connector, wrap it round the loop at the end and thread your cord back through the spring end connector.  Then you can tie a knot in the cord and pull it tight.  With thicker cord, leather or hemp, you won't be able to have the cord pass through the spring end connector twice and you will need to crimp the end of the connector closed.

Spring End Connector Jewelry Making Project


At right we show some cord that is too thick to pass through the spring end twice.  In this case we insert the cord into the spring end connector as far as it will go. 

Spring End Connector Jewelry Making Project Step 1


Once the cord is inserted all the way, you will need to squeeze the very last loop in the spring (and only the last loop) with your flat nose or chain nose pliers.  You will need to squeeze this last loop rather firmly so that it compresses and holds your cord in place.  Test by gently tugging on the cord.  If there is any movement of the cord, you will need to push it back in all the way and then squeeze the last loop harder.  It will take a good hard squeeze to permanently connect the spring end connector to your cord, leather or hemp.  When completed it should appear as shown at right. 

Summary of jewelry making instructions:

In the pictures shown above we used hemp to make our end connectors.  The connectors we made worked great, but the hemp was not as attractive a media for this project as leather would have been.  Making the same connector using leather and a gold or silver jewelry wire would have made a much more attractive finished jewelry item.  This technique works well.  Please try to imagine dark leather with gold jewelry wire wrapped around it.  You would be proud of the result. 

 

Spring End Connector Jewelry Making Project Completed Connection

 

 



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