How to use tigertail wire

Written by alexis rohlin
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How to use tigertail wire
Tigertail beading wire can be used to make bracelets. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Tigertail is a strong, thin wire made out of multiple threads of stainless steel cable that have been braided together and then coated with nylon. Tigertail wire is the strongest jewellery beading wire and should be used with heavy, large beads and natural gemstone beads with rough edges and large beads. The wire is stiff, and cannot be bent into wire wrapped loops at its ends like other types of beading wire as it will form kinks. Instead, Tigertail is attached to jump rings and clasps with crimp beads.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wire cutters
  • Crimp beads
  • Jewellery crimping pliers
  • 2 seed beads
  • Lobster claw clasp with jump ring
  • Beads, assorted sizes and colours

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  1. 1

    Cut the Tigertail wire to the length of your project. To make a bracelet, cut an 8-inch piece of Tigertail wire. To make a necklace, cut 36 inches of Tigertail wire.

  2. 2

    Slide a seed bead onto one end of the Tigertail wire. String a crimp bead onto the Tigertail and slide it down to the seed bead. Insert the end of the Tigertail through the ring on the bottom of the lobster claw clasp.

  3. 3

    Make an 1/8-inch loop with the Tigertail by bringing the end of the Tigertail wire back and insert it through the crimp bead and seed bead. Place the jewellery crimping pliers over the crimp bead and apply even pressure with the pliers to press the crimp bead shut and secure the end of the Tigertail.

  4. 4

    Lay out your beads on a bead board in the order that you want them on your bracelet or necklace. String on your beads in the desired pattern order. Slide the first two beads over both pieces of wire on the end above the crimp bead.

  5. 5

    Slide on a seed bead and a crimp bead onto the other end of the Tigertail wire. Insert the end of the wire through the jump ring or other half of the clasp. Bring the end back around and insert it through the crimp bead and seed bead.

  6. 6

    Press the crimp bead shut with crimping pliers. Trim off the excess Tigertail wire and insert the wire end into the closest beads to hide the end in a bead.

Tips and warnings

  • If you want to make a necklace with floating beads, hold the beads in place on the wire with two crimp beads by crimping one on each side of the bead. You can also use a crimp tube to hold the beads in a fixed position on the Tigertail wire by pressing them flat with needle nosed pliers to make a rectangle-shaped crimped bead.

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