Tuesday, July 18, 2006

How to, Lesson 1: Tigertail

Tigertail is a jewellery wire that's normally used when string or silk would not carry the weight of the beads/pendant. It's made of several strands of very thin wire twirled around each other rather like a rope and then coated in nylon. The nylon can be lots of different colours or clear or silver or gold... the possibilities are endless. Beadalon is the most famous make of tigertail, although there are others.

I use tigertail in lots of different colours because it ties in nicely with the colours of the beads and because it's bendy, meaning I can create different shapes. It's not so good for very rigid shapes - e.g. the flower brooch, for this I used normal jewellery wire, which is also available in a lot of different colours and gauges.

For necklaces or bracelets you will need crimps and calottes. Both are readily available, although I've only ever found them in black(ish), silver, gold, bronze, and copper. The crimps are to clamp the tigertail ends and to fasten them within the little clamp shell-like calotte. Both make life an awful lot easier, although there are other ways to make fastenings.

For examples on how to use tigertail, check out the Daisy Chain, Aztec Gold, and Edwardian Green and Purple (pictures in the previous post), although there are many other ways to get creative with tigertail.

Another one worth mentioning here is the "invisible thread" which is great for "floating" designs. It's a nylon thread that is so translucent (and usually very thin) that the beads seem to be floating. The beads are either glued in place or crimps are clamped either side of the beads to keep them in place.

There are many suppliers for tigertail (and jewellery wire and invisible thread). Here are just a few:

1 comment:

  1. Thats really interesting, thanks! we will have a go with tiger tail sometime. Penny.


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