If you creating a project with a thicker material like leather, satin, silk, ribbon, etc., how do you finish the ends. There are two different ways. First, you can use a crimp end made for thicker materials. There are two different types – the ones to be attached to a clasp, and those that are there own clasp. Some you crimp, some you glue. These work fairly well, but can cost a bit and don’t provide a great deal of variety. The preferred method is to take your end through your clasp (or through a ring attached to the clasp and then fold it down against itself. Use a 3″ piece of wire (20 gage is easiest) and wrap it tightly around both pieces of leather. Cut off the wire ends, file smoothly and tuck them against the leather with a flat plier. This is more secure and lets you use any clasp you like.
One of the most frequent questions in the store is how to use liver of sulfur. This is a chemical sold in liquid or rock form that gives metal a patina. It primarily lends an oxidized black color to sterling and other metals. It is great for giving your piece an antique finish, or for highlighting areas that have been textured or stamped. Dedicate two plastic bowls (tupperware is perfect) and an old pair of pliers or tweezers for this. Place warm to hot water in one, ice cold water in the other. Place a drop of liver of sulfur liquid or one rock pellet in the warm water. It will start turning yellow and smelling like rotten eggs immediately. Dip your metal in with your pliers, not your hands. Dip your metal in the liver of sulfur solution and then right into the cold water. Do this several times until achieving the color you want. The cold water halts the coloration process. You can then rub the piece with steel wool to get off any oxidation you don’t like.
Don’t like the look of flattened crimp beads? Me, neither. Instead of investing lots of money into special crimping pliers, learn to use crimp covers. They come in many sizes, metals and styles – find some that fit over the crimp bead completely after flattened. Take a flat plier (chain nose or bent chain nose work best) and gently squeeze the crimp cover closed. You may have to move your pliers several times to keep the cover round. Close all the way and it should look like a round bead.