How to Make Your Own Wire Toggle Clasp for Jewelry
How to Make a Wire Toggle Clasp for Jewelry
Why pour your heart into a beautiful piece of handmade jewelry and finish it off with some generic, store bought clasp? Making your own toggle clasp is quick and easy, and it allows you to use materials that match your creation and personalize your piece even more! You don't need many materials to get started and the opportunities for customization are nearly endless.
All those different pliers really do have different uses! Your life will be easier and your jewelry better if you use the right tool for the job.
Materials for Making a Toggle Clasp
- Wire - I prefer 20 or 22 gauge.
- Wire cutters.
- Pliers. I suggest using both flat nose and round nose pliers.
- Something round to use as a mandrel. You can use a jewelers' mandrel, a pen, a marker, a dowel, or just about anything else round.
That's it! This may be the least material-intensive jewelry project ever.
To Make the Clasp
First, cut two lengths of wire. The exactly amount you will need depends on how big around you want the clasp to be. I find the smallest part of a fine tip marker barrel to be the perfect size for a clasp done in 22 gauge wire and I like to cut pieces of wire about 6 inches long.
To Make the Toggle Ring
1. Form the toggle ring. To do this, find the approximate middle of your wire, hold the middle to your mandrel, and wrap both ends around the mandrel until they meet in the front. Give the wires a twist to lock the loop in place.
2. Wrap one piece of wire snugly around the other a couple of times. Then, move your round nose pliers a short distance up the wrapped piece of wire and form a small loop. This is the loop you will attach to your finished bracelet by affixing it to a chain, looping wire/thread through it, or using whatever other method you desire. After forming a complete, small loop, use your pliers to center it over the wire. You don't have to center the loop, but it looks way better!
3. Wrap the tail end of the loop forming wire back down toward the toggle clasp loop. Wrap it until it touches your previous wire coils. The wire is easier to wrap if you hold the small loop in place with flat nosed pliers.
4. Trim the wire's tail ends and press them flat, trimming more if necessary to prevent the ends from overlapping. Ideally, the two ends should just meet but not lay on top of one another. You're half way finished!
To form the Toggle Bar
1. Repeat steps 1-4 above, making sure your second ring it slightly larger than the first. This ensures the bar will not simply slip through the ring. You can easily accomplish this by wrapping the wire a little further down the mandrel or using a round object with a slightly larger diameter.
2. Flatten the ring by carefully pressing it with your fingers and, as it becomes more flat, your pliers. Take care to keep the sides of the bar even so you don't end up with a lopsided toggle!
3. Twist the bar's sides to make them prettier, thicker, and more durable. To do this, grab one end of the bar with your flat nose pliers and twist gently. Repeat this process with the other side. Be careful not to twist the metal too much or you could break it! Metal heats up when bent and becomes brittle, making it susceptible to breakage while you're twisting it.
Do you make your own jewelry findings?
Finished Toggle Clasp
That's it! You've finished making your very own toggle clasp. To make it a bit more interesting, try some of these ideas:
- Use a pall peine hammer and a bench block to flatten the bar a bit.
- Use a thicker gauge wire for the toggle ring and add texture to it with a hammer and bench block.
- Use the ring as a foundation for wire wrapping to create a truly decorative clasp.
- Refuse to hide your new work by making it the centerpiece of a necklace.
Do you make your own jewelry finding? How do you feel about topping off a handmade piece of jewelry with a store-bought finding?