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The Work Room is the Creative Journal of Wendy Sue where she shares her creative journey in all things handmade. The Work Room also offers an alternative to your typical jewelry making workshops. Scroll down to the end of the page to see how you can learn to make your unique piece of artisan jewelry online.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Make Your Own Toggle Clasp : Part I

Handmade, craftwork or DIY has always been about individuality, stand out and what have you. Basically the whole idea is not to fall into the blue print of being mass produced.

But have you also notice lately how even some handmade stuffs these days are beginning to look almost similar if not the same from one another? Well, at least that is what it seems like to me la. 

Still don't quite get me? 

I'm talking about the findings, folks. The findings. Have it come across to you before that everyone seems to be using similar findings from one another and how the end product ended up looking somewhat the SAME? Well, don't forget folks that these findings ARE mass produced. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Kinda redundant isn't it? How handmade stuffs even ended up 'like' mass production. So purist is going to tell you to  make your own findings! LOL.... XD 

However, on the flip side of the coin, making these findings are so time consuming that we're just not sure if it's even worth spending time for. Hhhhmmmm, it's like the battle between the devil and the deep blue sea? LOL..... I don't know if that analogy is necessarily correct but, you get the idea! :P

Anyway, if you're interested in giving it a try, I'll show you how you can make your own toggle clasp. Not all that hard really, but I won't say it's not time consuming. :P But with practise...... *shrugs*

I'll be showing you how to make the ring end first and the T-bar in another post. Cramming the two in one post is just gonna be a 'lil too long winded. :P

Ok, here are just some of the stuffs you'll need.

A ring mandrel, a cutter, chain nose pliers, round nose pliers and some wires.

As far as wire goes, I used 0.6cm or approximately 22 ga wire. You can also use 0.8cm or 20 ga wire. The latter is thicker and makes sturdier findings but may be a little difficult to work with.

I personally prefer the former mainly because I find it easier to work with. However, do be careful not to exert too much pressure when working with the forner because it is much brittle than the latter and more susceptible to breakage if you are not careful especially if you use too much pressure than is necessary.

If you do not have a ring mandrel, you can easily substitute this with a marker or anything which can help you make a ring but bear in mind that it needs to be a small one because you are not making a 'finger' ring but the ring for the toggle clasp.

Now, let's start.......................

Cut out approximately 20" long of wire. Erm, ok, this is just the guesstimate la. You probably needed less or more but for a first, I'm suggesting a 20.

And then leave about 3" for the tail on one wire end.

Decide on how big you want the ring to be and place the ring mandrel on top of the wire. Alright, this is what you've got to keep in mind. The size of your ring will affect the size of your T-bar because the T-bar would need to be long enough so that it wouldn't slip through the ring which will you may ultimately end up with a chunkier size or not.

Keep in mind the overall design of your piece because I think it's just going to look a bit odd if you have a dainty piece finished off with a big toggle clasp or vice versa.

So, it's probably a good idea not to make too big of a ring.

The next step is like what you do when you make a ring. Wrap the long end of the wire twice around the mandrel like this.

Then, bend the short end of the wire up to form a right angle.

Next, you're going to wrap the longer end wire around the neck of the shorter end twice. Don't wrap more than twice. I'll explain why later.

You can now slip the ring out of the mandrel and this is what you get.

Now, if you find that the coils are a bit further apart from one another, you can always use your chain nose pliers to press the two together and try to get them as closer to the ring as possible.

Start wrapping the longer end of the wire around the circle like this.

So now you see why you don't wrap more than twice around the neck earlier on and try to press them together to get them the closer you can to the ring because if you wrap to high up, you will in inevitably cause a unsightly gap when you move the wire from the neck to when you do your wrapping on the ring. 

Again, if the coils are a bit further apart from one another, you can always use the chain nose pliers to press them closer together. 


You'll want to check along the way as you are wrapping that the coils are close to one another to get a nice neat wrap.

Go all the way around the ring till you reach the neck on the other side, while trying to get the closest you can to the 'neck'.

Now, bend the SHORTER wire end down, forming a right angle.

To make this. 

I've mentioned how to make this rounded loop before when we were making the hook and eye clasp. But if you need to refresh your memory, head on over ya. ;P

This is going to form the loop for you to attach the toggle clasp to your piece of jewelry.

Continue with wrapping the longer end of the wire around the 'neck'.

If you find it difficult to do the wrappings with your hand, you can always count on your trusty pliers! Heh! ;)

Wrap around two to three time. This is up to you, really. But just remember to press the coils together if they happens to be somewhat apart from each other.

And now, all you have to do is to cut off the excess wires.


And also here.

And finally the finishing touches of tucking in any wire ends that are jutting out and reshaping if necessary and there you have it!

Tadah! =D

But then, if you think about it. If everyone also makes this same toggle clasp, doesn't it end up looking the same too? LOL........... oh, well.....

Hope you had fun, though! ;)

Tips here.
Part II here.

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