The Knotted Head Pin


There they are, the Knotted Head Pins. What is it, and what is it for? With any luck I’ll be able to clear that up for you.

If you do any jewelry making, you know what a head pin is, but I assume some of you have stumbled across my blog without ever attaching a single bead to anything, and so I will explain. Head pins are mostly used to drop beads onto, singly, or in combinations, so you can attach them to something else. They can be purchased at craft stores, in the findings section of the bead aisle. Some have flat bottoms, some have little eyelets on the bottom, and others have some sort of ornate embellishment cast to the bottom. The point is that there is something at the bottom for the beads to rest on.

A knotted head pin is handcrafted, and not a store-bought, mass-produced item. I prefer to make them as I need them, rather than running out to Michael’s every time I run out. The technique is pretty cut and dried, but it does take practice. It also takes its toll in flesh, mostly from the thumb and index finger of your non-dominant hand. After you have made three wraps around the smallest tip of a round nose pliers, you need to bend the wire over and push it back up into the hole. Holding the wrap between the thumb and index finger of the non-dominant hand, you have to give the piece of wire you threaded back into the hole a nice tug to pull it through. This often times results in the still loose end of the wrapped coil setting itself into some bit of flesh, like a fish-hook in a fish’s mouth. Then you put your bead on, and taking the end of the pin in your chain nose pliers, you give it one final tug, which sets the knot pretty well.

Having this technique mastered is by no means going to put the commercial head pin makers out of business, however. The knotted head pin should only be used  with beads 6mm and up. The knot is too big for 4mm beads, and overwhelms the bead itself.

If you are a person who would rather purchase knotted head pins ready-made I offer them in my shop, Gene’s Joint. While you are there browsing, you can find a few examples of how I put the knotted head pin to use for me. There are also some fine examples of some other head pins that I make, such as the infinity, and the clover.

If my creations in black and silver are too stark for your taste, and you need a little color in your life, feel free to visit my wife Susan’s shop, Miss Poppy’s Boutique.


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