I currently offer two chainmaille design series, Elemental using the 3mm Crystaletts® and Reiver using the 5mm Crystaletts®. These hints are specifically for the Elemental design but apply to both. I do prefer the Swarovski Crystaletts® for the Elemental series. The button shanks are a bit cleaner and the clearance a tiny bit larger. While I use both in my design work, I only kit with the Swarovski bezels at this time. That tiny bit of clearance can mean the difference for some individuals working their way through the design the first time.
The 5mm Crystaletts® used in the Reiver series only come with Czech crystals at this time, but the bezel is slightly larger to allow for the larger crystal. It’s easier to get the two 20 gauge square rings through these buttons as a result. With this in mind, it can be a challenge to get both rings through the shank and these hints may help you if you are struggling:
- When choosing your metal, keep in mind that silverfill jump rings are the easiest of the three metals in terms of button clearance. If you love stainless steel you can substitute silver fill for the two 20 gauge rings that go through the button if that’s easier for you. Aluminum is not yet available in the size 20 gauge rings used, so again, you can use either stainless steel or silverfill for these rings.
- The same is true when choosing your Crystaletts® bezel finish. Silver Rhodium has the most clearance, followed by Gold, Black and finally Rose Gold which has the least. All work, so don’t let that discourage you, it just takes a bit more time and effort with the other finishes but they are well worth it. 3mm Czech Crystaletts® have less clearance than 3mm Swarovski Crystaletts®. The 5mm Crystaletts® only come in Czech and the bezel is slightly larger than either of the 3mm options.
- If you have access to a tumbler, tumble your buttons for about 20 minutes especially if you are using the Czech Crystaletts®. This cleans up any debris and/or rough spots on the bezels.
- If you don’t have access to a tumbler, gently rub all around the shank with an awl or needle file. If using a needle file be gentle you don’t want to remove the finish, just smooth out the edges.
- Place your first ring through the shank and close. Use your awl to push it to the far side of the bezel and hold it in place with your thumb.
- Slide the next ring through, keeping it flush and against the floor of the bezel. It needs to go in square, tilting it will create a diamond shape that is much harder to work through the space. Wiggle it gently while keeping the existing ring pulled back as much out of the way as possible.
- If you still have difficulty, try opening or closing your ring slightly. Opening it too far or not enough will also make a difference. I use Anne Mitchell’s method for opening jump rings and it works for me to get to this sweet spot. http://www.annemitchell.net/tips.html