An Essential Component for Jewelry Design
Bail beads are an integral yet often overlooked component in jewelry making. As their name suggests, bail beads act as the "bail" or the connecting piece between a pendant and its chain or cord. With the right bail bead, you can take your jewelry from plain to stunning.
What Are Bail Beads?
Bail beads are beads with a loop or ring that allows you to attach a pendant or charm. The bead loops through or connects to the top of the pendant, while the bottom of the bead has another loop to attach a chain or cord. This creates a completed necklace or bracelet, with the charm hanging beautifully from the chain.
Bail beads come in an array of shapes, sizes, and designs. The most common is likely the simple small jump ring shape. But these beads can also be round, teardrop, square, or custom shaped. They may include filigree designs or gemstone settings for added allure.
When selecting beads, you want to consider the weight and size of your planned pendant. A delicate wire wrapped pendant looks lovely with a lightweight jump ring bail bead. But a larger focal pendant made from glass, crystal or heavy metal demands a more substantial bail bead so it doesn’t pull down on the necklace.
Polymer Clay customized shapes
For customized shapes, bake your own polymer clay bail beads. Condition the clay then shape a flat teardrop, oval or round bead; make a hole near the top. Before baking, add texture with rubber stamps or cutouts using cookie cutters. String your baked clay bead onto the pendant and enjoy your handmade style.
Metal Clay handcraft beads
Metal clay allows you to handcraft beads that look like cast metal pieces. Mold the clay into unique shapes per your vision. Impress textures and pierce holes while still pliable, then fire according to package directions. The finished metallic bead makes a fitting topper for your jewelry.
One of the great advantages of these beads is how quick and simple they are to incorporate into your jewelry. Here are some key tips:
Select the appropriate size bail bead for your pendant, allowing some movement side to side and up and down for proper hanging.
Open jump rings or wire loops completely before attaching to avoid weakening over time.
For pendants with built-in loops but no bail, simply attach a jump ring through the loop then to a chain.
For pendants without loops, attach an open jump ring or wire wrap bail directly around the top of the pendant using pliers to gently close the ring once in place on the pendant.
Always attach the chain or cord to the bottom loop of the bail bead so the pendant hangs freely and doesn’t spin around the bail.
Bail beads unlock a myriad of design possibilities since they allow you to turn all sorts of objects and trinkets into wearable jewelry. Here are some fun ideas:
Turn a meaningful coin into a necklace with a soldered bail bead
Display kids’ art as a pendant with a wire wrapped bead bail
Showcase nature with a bail bead on your beach finds, shells or crystals
Use floral beads between strands of beads for a popping contrast
Outline beads with neon colors for funky geometric designs
Accent with sparkly CZ stones or seed beads on basic bail beads
Design bending branch beads in natural wood or gold
Craft smiley face, heart shaped or initial quality beads for customization
Incorporate leather or fabric through these beads as statement pieces
Mix varied metal colors like antique brass with shiny silver
Play with scale using oversized bail beads on tiny pendants
The bail bead options are endless when you tap into your creativity. Use our beads to turn random trinkets into one-of-a-kind jewelry expressions.
Essential Supplies for Jewelry
The great thing about working with our beads is they require minimal supplies. Here is some jewelry making basics to get you started:
Bail beads: jump rings, wire beads, metal beads etc.
Variety of pendants (glass, gemstone, polymer clay, found objects etc.)
Jewelry pliers: flat nose, round nose and cutters
Jewelry wire: copper, brass, silver tones in different gauges
Jewelry cord, elastic, ribbon or chain
End caps: pearl tips, clasps or wire protectors
Decorative elements: seed beads, spacer beads, chain