Recently, I received a question from a visitor to Jewelry-Making.com, asking for tips on how to knot elastic so that the knot stays put. She was trying to making a bracelet without clasps. I looked around for tips from other people who had hopefully solved this problem, but usually the solution involved glue. Personally, I like to avoid glue. It’s used for a lot of jewelry, I’ve noticed more and more techniques that require glue, but I just haven’t found a glue that I really trust to remain stable … except perhaps liquid nails, but that wouldn’t really work on elastic would it? (If anyone would like to prove me wrong and recommend some great glue, I’d truly love to hear it. I’ve just had to take a break from testing any more new glues.)
I haven’t had a lot of experience with elastic cord, but my first instinct would be to use crimps. I love crimps. And how they look. I’ve used crimps on semi-stretchy 1.5mm rubber ‘cord’ and loved the effect. Of course, these are large crimps. 3mm and 4mm crimps. And, I’d probably recommend using a covered elastic cord as opposed to a bare cord. A sharp crimp edge could put a fatal cut into a thin elastic.
Anyway, this issue of how to permanently crimp cord without clasps got me thinking of the crimping technique I use : double-back crimping. Very simple. Just thought it might be useful to others. So here it is:
For this tutorial, I am using 1mm nylon cord and 3mm gunmetal crimps. I’ve cut the cord ends at an angle to make it easy to get both cords through the crimps.
The next step may make more sense if you first put both cord ends through the three crimps like this:
Then, keeping the center crimp in place, slide the crimps, on either side, down the cord. If necessary, adjust the cord ends so that they are even, with about 1 – 1.5 cm sticking out, depending on the type and thickness of the cord. (The thinner the cord, the shorter the end.)
Now bend the cord ends back across the middle crimp and so that it lay right next to the cord. Hold the two cords together with your thumb and slide on the opposite crimp. Hopefully at this point the cord ends are still crisp and fit easily inside the crimp.
Now, this is the trickiest part because you probably don’t want the cord ends to be sticking out of the crimps, and you want to even up both sides and keep the center crimp even. It’s easier with a smooth rubber or plastic cord. This soft nylon cord tends to get stuck in position. If you need to even out the sides …once you have the crimps up to the edge of the cord ends (I didn’t do it well enough in this photo because I wanted the cord ends to be visible for the tutorial) hold the crimp of the side you want to reduce with one thumb and forefinger while carefully pulling the cord length through the crimp. Shortening is easier than lengthening, but once you get use to this technique you’ll be able to do either. To straighten the center crimp, hold both side crimps and cord tightly with your thumbs and forefingers and jiggle the whole thing back and forth …moving each hand in the opposite direction and the crimp should straighten out. Hold on tight or you will have to re-crimp. That part is hard to explain but will start to make sense with a bit of experience or practice.
I have to say, my center crimp is not as straight as I’d like in this photo. I guess I got impatient.
Now that everything is in place, press down the two side crimps with flat pliers, being careful to keep everything in place. Easier than it sounds, I know~. You can use a crimping tool. I do have a crimping tool but often prefer a simple flat crimp to a folded crimp as long as the cord is thick enough in relation to the crimp.
You can also flatten the center crimp. I often do, but I didn’t like the effect with this cord/crimp combo.
I hope this little tutorial is useful. Please make me know if any of it does not make sense!