Saturday, March 28, 2015

Free Mini Tutorial - Wire Clasp Hook

Hello there!

Today while working on the anklet from this post, I came to the point when it was time to make the clasp. I decided on a simple hook and eye clasp. Because I really tend to mostly only make earrings, I really don't have much practice making clasps.

This became apparent in my first two attempts at making one:

The one on the left has an unsightly seam where the two ends of the wire meet at the wrapped part, and the one on the right, while heading in the right direction, has a badly misshapen loop and the wrap didn't catch the second wire end.

Since this piece is a commissioned piece (and for a dear friend, at that), these ugly clasps just would not do. So, I worked at it, trying different ideas, until I came upon what I think is a pretty successful design.

To save others from all the trial and error I went through coming up with a nice looking hook for a clasp, I documented the making of one so I can share it with all of you! (My apologies for some of the low photo quality - I don't have the best light in here, but I think the photos still illustrate the ideas I'm trying to put across).

❦  ❦  

Note: this tutorial is protected by an International Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence. This means that you are free to post this wherever you like as long as you give proper Attribution (that is, to me, Jet Kosanke, and my website,, it may not be used commercially (you're not allowed to make money off it, that is, sell this tutorial to other people for money), and you're free to make changes to it as long as you also share it under these same restrictions (that is, you still give Attribution to me, you don't sell it, and you allow it to be shared freely.) For more information, click the Creative Commons link at the end of the tutorial.

By the way- NonCommercial doesn't mean you can't sell works you make using this tutorial. If you make a necklace, bracelet, or whatever using this tutorial, feel free to sell it- however, you may not mass-produce it, and the Attribution part still applies, that is, you still have to attribute the design to me.

If you're unsure if what you want to do is allowed, just ask me! I'm really pretty laid back about things like this :) I'd rather share my knowledge and discoveries for free so others can learn than charge money for my tutorials. With all that said, on to the good stuff! :)

❦  ❦  

Click on any image to view a larger version.

This mini tutorial uses 20 gauge dead soft wire.

Step 1

First, decide how long you want your hook to be. Take that measurement (in inches), multiply it by 4, and then add 2 inches - this will be the length of 20 gauge wire you'll need to cut. For example: I wanted my hook to be an inch long, so 1 inch x 4 = 4 inches, 4 inches + 2 inches = 6 inches total.

Step 2

Next, fold your wire roughly in half - it doesn't need to be perfectly exactly half. You want to use your pliers to squeeze the wire at the bent point together as tightly and closely as you can - flat nose pliers work very well for this. Don't rush this step; squeeze the wire firmly but slowly, otherwise the wire will just flip flat in your pliers and you'll risk leaving ugly tool marks on the wire.

Step 3

Starting from the fold made in step 2, measure the wire to twice the length you want your hook to be (I wanted a 1 inch hook in this tutorial so I measured two inches from the fold). At that point you measured to, bend just one of the two ends of the wire out to the side at a 90 degree angle.

Step 4

Next, snip off the other end of the wire at the point where you bent the wire in the previous step.

Step 5

Using your round nose pliers, make a loop in the wire left sticking out at a 90 degree angle, leaving the 'tail' sticking out more or less straight out to the side.

Step 6

Grab a short piece of scrap wire (masking or painter's tape will also work, but I prefer to use scrap wire) and use it to bind the two straight parts of the wire tightly together - you want them to be bound tightly next to each other but not overlapping or twisting on top of each other. Bind them about a quarter to a half an inch below the loop.

Step 7

Now, using your round nose pliers to maintain the shape of the loop, slowly and gently bend the tail of the wire around the two pieces of wire you bound together in the last step. TAKE YOUR TIME HERE. Use your chain nose pliers to gently coax the tail around the wires if you can't do it with your fingers. Don't try to bend it in one fluid motion - make many small, gradual bends in order to ensure your wrap will be sufficiently tight around the base wires.

Step 8

After making half a wrap, use either your chain nose or flat nose pliers (I prefer my flat nose pliers for this) to SLOWLY, GENTLY, FIRMLY press the wrap you've made so far securely around the base wires.

Step 9

Repeat steps 7 and 8 for two or three more wraps; always with your round nose pliers inside the loop while coaxing the tail wire around the base wires, then using flat or chain nose pliers to firmly but carefully press each wrap snug against the core wires. I CANNOT STRESS enough how important it is to take your time and work in small controlled increments while making your wraps. Because we are working with 20 gauge wire, rushing this part will nearly always leave you with unsightly tool marks and uneven wraps. Just relax, focus, and breathe- appreciate the process instead of rushing for the finish line and you'll do great! :)

Step 10

After two or three wraps (I decided on two for this one), snip off the excess 20 gauge wire and use either your chain nose or flat nose pliers to gently but firmly press the cut end down against the rest of the wires so it doesn't stick out and scratch skin or catch on clothing (you can use a small metal file here if you like). Remove the temporary binding wire.

Step 11

Now comes the fun part :) Break out your steel block and your chasing hammer and hammer evenly down the entire length of the wire. You're not aiming to make it very flat; instead you're just trying to work-harden the wire to strengthen it because clasps of course need to be strong and hold their shape. Try to hammer as evenly as possible- hammering will distort the shape of the wire somewhat, but we want this wire to stay as straight as possible. You don't need to bang the hell out of it, either; just firm, even strikes.

Step 12

At the very tip of the wires where we made the sharp fold at the beginning, use the tips of your round nose pliers to make a little upward curl.

Step 13

Now it's time to make the main bend in the hook. I used a jump ring mandrel here, but if you don't have one of those, it's easy to improvise with a pen or pencil or other thin round object you have lying around the house. Bend the hook so that the tip of the hook just meets the wrapped wires at the loop.

And that's it! You now have a simple, classic hook-style clasp. This design can of course be modified in many ways; you can make it shorter, make the curve in the hook bigger, whatever you come up with.

If you create something using this tutorial, I'd love to see it! Email me photos of your work (with a link to your blog if you have one) to - I'd like to create a gallery page on my blog featuring your creations made using this tutorial (or any of my tutorials) with a link back to your blog, too :) Don't be shy, let me show off your work! :)

Creative Commons License

I hope this mini tutorial ends up being helpful for someone! For now I'll leave you with sweet Neo, all sprawled out on my butt :D 'Til next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment