Tuesday, 13 April 2010

How to make links and spacer bars from brads

~*~Instruktioner på svenska hittar du här. ~*~

I've already shown you my brads bracelets. Today I thought I would show you how to turn brads into jewellery components, using only a pair of round-nose pliers. In my example I will use clamshell style brads from Vintaj. You can also use studs or Decorivets, provided they have two peripendicular prongs to loop.

Here you will just find instructions for how to make the links -- how you want to use them in jewellery is up to you. Be creative! For a couple of examples, see my brads bracelets in the link above.

Supplies needed: Brads

Tools: round-nose pliers, nylon jaw flat-nose pliers (optional)

1. Start by looking at your brads. Do they look like the one above, with two prongs protruding straight from the sides of the brad: go directly to step 2.

If the brads on the other hand looks like the example below, you need to straighten the prongs first. Begin by bending out the prongs from the centre. Then use your fingers to pull the prongs straight, as in the brad to the right in the pic below. You can also use nylon jaw pliers to straighten the prongs, especially useful if they are hard.

Now it's time to begin making the links. I will show two different variations: one with loops on the back -- suitable for making spacer bars -- and one with loops on the sides, which is a better option if using the link as a connector.

2. Spacer bars: Grab the tip of one prong with the jaws of your round-nose pliers and begin rolling it inwards so it forms a loop. It can be tricky grabbing hold of the outermost tip without the pliers sliding. Don't give up if this happens. You may want to keep the jaws slightly away from the tip for better gripping, but not too far as the loop won't get a nice round shape then.

4. Keep rolling the prong until you reach its base and the loop rests on the back of the brad.

5. Repeat steps 2-4, looping the other prong. Check that the loops are equal size: as when making loops on wire it's important to begin the loops at the same point on the jaws of the pliers for the loops not to end up with different sizes.

6. Your component/spacer bar is now completed.

7. Connector: To make a connector, loop the prongs as in steps 2-4 above, but instead of rolling the prong inwards and under the brad, you will roll the loop outwards (as indicated by the pic above).

8. Keep looping until you reach the base of the prong. In this component, the loop should end up on the middle of the brad, as seen in the pic above. Repeat with the second prong and your connector is finished.


NB! Brads are not originally made for jewellery making and are not necessarily regulated by the same laws with regards to contents. If you are allergic or will be selling your brads jewellery, it's wise to check them first, not least for traces of nickel (within the EU it's illegal to sell jewellery that isn't nickel safe). Some embellishments on brads are not very durable -- that is also worth keeping in mind.


  1. This is soooooo neat. I'm so glad you were clever enough to look at the brads with your creative mind. I'm feeling pretty "slow" right now that I didn't do it myself... but it really doesn't matter 'cause I happened to find your very good instructions here. Thank you so much!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I will look at all my brads so differently now.

  3. Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! Some brads are so pretty they just scream to be incorporated in jewellery.

  4. I use brads this way a lot! There are tons of super cool ones out there, and they are cheap!


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