Jewelry – Making DIY Basics – What is a Headpin?

Find the right jewelry findings quicker and talk with other industrial professionals intelligently and enhance your jewelry making credibility by using correct terminology for the jewelry making supplies you need.

Definition of Jewelry Findings
In jewelry making, “jewelry findings” are components of jewelry less than a finished piece.

Definition of Headpin
A headpin is a long, thin piece of wire with a “head” – a flattened piece of metal bigger than the diameter of the wire that acts as a stop to beads on the wire. The opposite end of the headpin is flush cut, not sharp as with straight pins used in sewing. Fancy headpins may have round beads, granulated silver patterns, crystals or other embellishment instead of a simple flattened head.

How are Headpins Used?
Designers use headpins to create links or dangles with charms or beads wire wrapped onto the pin. Beads will usually rest against the head on a dangle. The jewelry maker twists and wraps the top of the pin into a loop which can be strung on stranded beading wire, silk or another jewelry fiber or attached to a clasp with a jump ring or split ring.

To create a link, the jewelry maker will wrap a loop with the head end of the pin, put beads and charms in the middle of the pin (above the first loop), then wire wrap a second loop. These links can be used “in line” – between two sections of chains or strung beads.

Headpin Materials

Headpins are available in many metals:

silver and
silver-plated brass
gold-plated brass,
bright copper or antique copper plated brass
antique brass
gunmetal plated brass
imitation rhodium plated brass
nickel plated brass

Occasionally, one may find copper-based headpins. However, since copper prices usually exceed brass prices, brass headpins are much more common. Other exotic headpin materials include titanium, which can be anodized into many different colors.

A serious jewelry designer needs an awareness of different headpin wire diameters and the hole sizes of beads she may use in jewelry designs. Freshwater pearls and gemstones sourced in India often require very thin headpins for small holes. Thick headpins may match a bold jewelry design better than a thin headpin. One may need a small stop bead on a headpin to keep a bead with a large hole from falling off the headpin.


Headpins come in a wide variety of shapes, designs and prices. After mastering simple jewelry construction using stringing methods, learning to use headpins and wire wraps will dramatically extend the possibilities in jewelry design. Dangles and in-line links take jewelry styles to another level over jewelry made from stringing techniques alone.

6 Types of Beads for Jewelry Making

Beads for jewelry making can vary significantly in relation to the materials, sizes and types. They are popular for making a wide range of simple to complex necklaces and bracelets. The preferred materials often include metal, ceramics, plastic, shell and wood. Let’s take a look at six of the most popular types of beads:


Seed beads are made of glass and have a round shape. Because of the glass material, they come in many different colors, as well as those that are silver lined, iridescent and clear. They make a reliable choice for simple stringing. Also, the diameter can range from less than a millimeter to five millimeters or more.


Cylinder beads (also call delica or toho) are typically long in length with a tubular shape and a large hole through the center. They are versatile in use and can be used as a spacer between other beads or used for basic stringing. Additionally, this type of bead is great for most textile, embroidery, crochet and knitting projects.


Crystal beads are a combination of cut glass and lead. The lead content is about 30%, which helps to give a very refractive quality. One of the finest options is the Swarovski crystal beads. They have a very high quality and contain many colors. The most striking designs can have up to 50 colors and plenty of effects. This bead is likely to feature as a decoration sewn into fabric.


Bali beads are miniature works of art that are handcrafted by the local people in Bali, Indonesia. They are made in.925 sterling silver and look very striking on a piece of jewelry. Typically, they are used as a spacer.


Lampwork beads are created by hand using glass. The beads are made by simply melting the colored glass with a torch. The ability to create by hand gives complete freedom in the design process. While the process used to make the beads can be a little laborious, the pattern and design options can be exquisitely beautiful.


Pony beads are made of plastic and a very low-cost option for making a piece of jewelry. A typical use is in the children’s craft projects. They can vary in size, but the most typical size is in the region of 4 millimeters.

All in all, with such a varied choice of beads it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the preferred type to match your jewelry making ambitions.

Discover more about the beads and jewelry supplies with choices in all materials, sizes, and types.