Friday 1 January 2010

Cross links tutorial

*Instruktioner på svenska hittar du HÄR.*

Some time ago I saw this mass-produced necklace in a costume jewellery shop, which attracted my attention. The necklace itself was rather boring, but it had a pendant dangle made out of a cross and drop. What interested me was the cross, which had been made in a way unlike the bead crosses I had seen before. It didn't take long time until I understood how it was made. This link or connector is made in a very simple, but attractive, way. Once you learn how to make them, they can be made very quickly.

The original link only used round beads, but using the basic method, you can make links out of bicones, ovals, drops, hearts or any other suitable bead shape you like. For a Christian cross, add a bead or more to one side to get the right proportions.

Supplies for one link:
2 headpins
4-5 round beads, not too small
1 chaton montée (mounted crystal, crystal in setting, preset crystal)

Tools: wire cutter, round-nose pliers, chain-nose pliers

Design notes:
Chaton montees comes in several sizes. Choose a size of montée and beads that are proportional to each other. In this tutorial, I will use 6 mm beads and 6 mm montée. Also make sure to buy chaton montees and not rose montees as the channels in the later make them useless in this case. The metal setting must have intersecting, not parallel, holes -- the latter is often the case with larger montees.

When it comes to different styles, I especially like the vintage montees as seen in the amethyst and pink link: its shape supports the beads in a different way, making it less prone to end up a bit "floppy". My montée from American shop Jan's Jewels (There called "fancy preset").

For this project you can use soft or half-hard headpins. Soft headpins are the easiest to work with, but will require wrapped loops. Harder headpins are trickier to slide through the holes at an angle, but keep their shape better so that only a simple loop is needed. Choose which one you prefer. Don't know how to make loops? You will find many free instructions online. If you prefer "moving pictures", see the following YouTube videos (among many): Simple loop and Wrapped loop. A video says more than a thousand pictures sometimes.

1. Begin by putting a bead on the headpin. Push the pin through one of the holes in the crystal setting. Angle the pin so it will exit through the hole on the adjacent side. If using stiff headpins: bend the pin slightly into a curve before pushing it through the montée.

2. Push the bead towards the crystal and bend the headpin so the bead sits straight below the hole and the wire points straight out from the hole i exited.

3. Put a bead onto the headpin and make a loop. Make sure to keep the loop close to the bead or the link will become loose and wobbly. This is somewhat easier to do if using wrapped loops.

5. Repeat steps 1 and 2. Make sure that you get the loops opposite each other. That is, begin by pushing the bead and headpin through the hole opposite the hole you began pushing the first headpin through.

5. If needed, adjust the beads so they all sit perpendicular to each other. The link may feel a tad ustable at this point, but it will usually not be a problem after you attach it to a piece of jewellery. If you feel it is too wobbly anyway, you can stiffen it by adding a few drops of glue through the holes of the montée. The glue must cure fully before using the link.

This link can be used as a connector or a part of a pendant, as seen in the examples below. Don't forget to experiment with different types of beads, as seen in the initial photo above.

The examples above are just two pieces I made on the spot to be able to show you how the links can be used. If you make something using this link, I'd love to see it. It will probably be a lot better than this.


  1. I've never used chaton montées in my work. What a great use for them. I also loved your jump ring-chaton montée chain. Thank you for such a fun new way to add size and texture to a beaded item.

  2. Thanks for this tutorial. I like this as a link but can also be made into a longer cross link just using wire. I learned something new - didn't know there were 2 types of Montees - chaton and rose - as I've only seen the rose ones. Thanks again.

  3. Thanks for your comments! I'm glad you liked the tutorial and I hope you can have a lot of fun with it!

  4. Beautiful cross thank you for share


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