General Rosary Information
This page provides information about the different shapes of bead caps and how to fit them with your beads, how to select chain for your rosaries, and a discussion of 2-hole connectors and station links.
Embellishing your rosary with bead caps adds style and charm to your finished piece. You may choose to cap all of the beads of your rosary, or just the Our Father beads in order to set them apart from the decade beads.
Some note is taken here of caps with rims and caps without rims. This style feature is important when deciding upon a simple loop with ring capped construction method or a wire wrapped method. More info on that coming in the following pages on wiring techniques.
Saucer shape with no rim
This style of cap is wide and shallow, and the edge of the hole is flush with the top surface of the cap. The rimless cap style is good if you would like to add a ring cap above the bead cap in simple loop construction. Saucer caps should be used with beads at least 2mm in diameter greater than the cap; 4mm or more with very flat caps. Saucer caps are nice on both round and rondelle beads. A great starter shape for you.
Saucer shape with a rim
This style of cap is wide and shallow with a rim of metal which finishes the hole. Rimmed caps do not allow for a ring cap to be placed above it in simple loop construction. Some caps have rims wide enough to accommodate a double thickness of your wire, so the rims function as "ring caps" by themselves. Some rimmed caps have very narrow rims, and call for a wire wrapped construction method.
Flared caps are a bridge between saucer caps and cup-shaped caps. Flared caps come in a huge variety of styles and metals, with and without rims. These are quite easy to fit on round beads of the same diameter or slightly larger. Their angular shape keeps round beads from looking bulky. Like saucer caps, flared caps are versatile, and look good on both round and rondelle beads.
Cup shaped caps with no rim
Cup shaped caps are high and round, and are often rigid, requiring their use on round beads of the same diameter as the cap. Cup shaped caps may have a circular, inner edge at their base which can make the cap stand off of the bead somewhat, and give a round bead a more oblong appearance. Cup caps are great for single-capping a bead to give it the look of a dangling acorn.
Cup shaped caps with a rim
Cup shaped caps with a decorative rim around the hole are good for a wire wrapped construction method. Some caps have rims wide enough for simple loop construction, but cup caps are often heavy, so you want to be sure that the rim will accept a double thickness of heavier gauges of wire (wire going out and doubling back in).
Cone shaped caps
Cone shaped caps are tall compared to the diameter of their bases. These will greatly elongate your Our Father bead. Cone shaped caps are often rigid, so you'll need to size them to the diameter of your bead. Try these as a single cap with a teardrop shaped bead for the look of a bell or budding flower. Two openwork cone caps might be used to fully encase a bead in metalwork.
Flexible caps have deep cuts along their bottom edge, allowing them to be pushed open to fit a wide variety of bead sizes. Flexible caps can have many original shapes, from saucers to cones. What's important is that they have thin enough walls for you to manipulate (flatten) them onto beads larger than the cap's diameter. Some flexible shapes can only be flattened 1 or 2 millimeters larger; others can be pressed onto much larger beads, as shown with the 10mm bead in the photo on the left. Lightweight filigree flexible caps be pressed in half to embellish fat coin and oblong Our Father beads. Flexible cone shaped caps are great on the ends of fat rice (olive shaped) beads.
Information on sizing chain for rosaries and using 2 hole connectors and station links is coming soon.