Eyepins are the tiny metal shafts which connect the beads on any hand-made Rosary.
Eyepins may be hand-made from wire, or purchased
pre-formed in large quantity bags. You'll find them in a variety of metals, from Sterling Silver, to colorful Copper. Choose whatever metal in your price range, and in a color which compliments or matches the metal of your Findings. The trick is ordering the right size eyepins for the size bead you'll be using on your Rosary.
The number of the eyepin is the measurement of its length in millimeters. Some vendors may also include the circumference or thickness of the eyepin.
We suggest beginner Rosary Makers start out with
6 or 8mm size beads, and size 14 or 15 eyepin.
The "plus or minus" on that chart above indicates the actual size of the eyepin will be just over or just under the measurement shown.
Choose the right size eye pin for your bead
to avoid struggling your way through making things fit.
The larger the bead, the larger the eye pin.
Larger eyepins are not only longer, they may also be thicker. Too large eye pins may be trimmed with wire cutters or the cutter on your rosary pliers, but may result in uneven sizes and slows your progress.
As you grow in experience, you'll be able to "eyeball" the size eyepin needed for a particular bead.
You will find that the eyepins bend easily when using your pliers; the metal is very pliable. But it will be hard to bend with the bare hand, or to pull apart once the rosary is properly made.
As a Beginner Rosary Maker, work eyepins slowly at first and practice until the techniques shown become smooth and effortless movements of your wrist and hands.
The illustration above shows the left hand, holding the flat nose pliers, resting in place while the right hand, using the rosary pliers, in a gentle but firm motion turns the other end of the eye pin into a circular shape.
Let your wrist make the turn.
The technique for properly turning the eye pins is shown below.
Grasp the looped end of an eye pin with your Flat Nose pliers. Have Rosary Pliers ready in your work hand. Insert an eye pin into a bead as shown. Grasping the pin close up to the bead, make a gentle twist down, forming a 90 degree angle.
Move your pliers down a bit and grasp the end of the pin to begin making a circular motion, turning the end of the pin in on itself. How far you move down the pliers nose depends on the size of the eye pins you are using.
The closer you are to the narrowest end of the pliers,
the smaller your circle will be.
Go slowly at first and practice until this is a smooth and effortless movement of your wrist.
Continue turning until a circle is formed. A more oval shape is OK too. Attach the next eye pin or length of chain. Close the eye pin all the way, tucking the end down inside the bead.
CORRECT EYE PIN POSITIONING
Eyepins closures MUST be perpendicular to each other, or the rosary when finished, will not hang straight and the links will kink.
Perpendicular: A straight line at an angle of 90° to a given line, plane, or surface. One circle goes one way, the other goes the opposite way as shown below.
This is easily accomplished by turning your eyepins as shown, grasping one closed end with your Flat Nose pliers, and turning the other with the shaft of your Rosary Pliers.
It is important to use the correct eye pin size for the bead you are using, or your loops will be too large, or so small that there will not be room left to add the next eye pin. See chart below.
Timesaver: Don't put your flat nose pliers down in between steps. Always work with both sets of pliers to handle your work, as shown at left. Mary finds this more difficult, but Chris is a pro at it. Mary puts the flat nose pliers aside and grasps the bead in her left hand, while making that final turn with the rosary pliers in her right hand.
Whichever way works best for you is OK!
Jump rings are tiny circles or ovals of metal
used to attach Crucifixes and Centers to your Rosary.
They are very strong because of the way they are manufactured. If they are not opened and closed properly, they will lose their strength, and eventually your rosary will fall apart. Jump rings may also be hand-made from wire. See directions here.
You might not think there is a "science" to opening and closing the jumprings, but there is a reason why some jumprings hold for years, and other's don't.
It has to do with the tension under which the metal jumpring is manufactured, producing a flat plane of pure strength. If you keep this flat plane in mind when working with jumprings, your rings will hold. Barring any misuse, the Rosary will last a long, long time.
ROUND vs. OVAL Jumprings
Our Rosary Makers prefer using the oval shaped jump rings instead of the round ones, as the stress points are on the ends of the rings, not the joint. They wear better and hold longer over time.
An oval ring tends to stay in place better than a round one, which will rotate. Sometimes the Rosary Chain or Loop on the Center will butt up against the joint, and could easily slip through.
With an oval jumpring, the Chain or Center loop butts up against a solid area, rather than against the cut opening.
Jump rings come in bags of a dozen or more,
and are sometimes hooked together. They must be separated, and then opened up for use on your rosary.
TO OPEN THE JUMPRINGS
Hold the jump ring between your two pliers and grasp firmly. Gently move one side up, and one side down,
to open the ring just enough to slip over your
Center or Crucifix circular end.
DO NOT open the jump ring
by prying the circle open.
This will weaken it, and you will never be able to close it securely again.
DO gently open the ring as shown.
After you have attached the jump ring to your Crucifix or Center, gently move the two ends back toward each other, pushing down and in on the left, up and in on the right, until you feel the end SLIGHTLY touch each other.
Keep pushing until the circle of the ring is completely closed, with only a barely visible space between the ends. They should be as flush as possible.
Jump rings can be tricky, but mastering the techniques for working with jump rings can mean the difference between a rosary that lasts for years, and one that falls apart.
Practice makes perfect
Chain Rosaries are so-called because they are made with bits of chain as various spacers between the beads. There are many, many styles and sizes of chain.
We prefer basic cable chain, in nickel silver.
A cable chain is made of round or oval linked rings of uniform size.
Cable Chain, shown at top, is preferred over other types
because the very construction and uniform size of the links
keeps the rosary from becoming tangled.
Curb Chain is pretty, but unsuitable for rosary making as the links lie flat, all on the same plane, and is usually constructed of links of a gauge too thick for an eye pin to fit through easily.
Fancy chains with differing sizes of links are pretty,
but not durable enough to hold your rosary together.
Sometimes an "heirloom" Rosary will be made with chain other than cable chain, but heirloom Rosaries often lay in a box because the owner doesn't want to risk breaking or losing a rosary made with such precious parts. This type of rosary is admired much but used little.
Cable Chain for Rosaries is usually sold by the foot in basic colors of gold or silver.
You will need 7 - 8 inches of cable chain to make one rosary.
Rosary supply vendors will usually offer only one or two styles of chain used for Rosary Making, while Bead Shops may offer a very wide variety.
Rosary supply vendors may not even mention the gauge or size of the links, but state simply "rosary chain" in their product description. Most cable chain sold as rosary chain is made up of 3mm links, 16 gauge wire.
If you are a first time Rosary Maker,
we recommend purchasing chain from a Rosary Supply, rather than a bead shop, unless a pro is on hand to advise you on the gauge and size of the links.
Links must be big enough for your eyepin to fit through.
Gauge = how thick the links are
MM= how large the links are
See our measurement charts for more information
Gauge should be no larger than 16 gauge. (except for larger Habit Rosaries, see below)
NOTE: The larger the number, the THINNER the gauge.
Our Rosary Makers prefer nickel-steel cable chain as the strongest and most durable. Precious metal chains are comprised of a plating of genuine gold or silver
over a nickel-steel base. There is a major price difference between the two.
A] Goldtone 4mm or
B] Silvertone 3mm nickel-steel Cable Chain is the most common chain for use in Rosary Making. Available in 14k, Sterling Silver, Silver or Gold color nickel. 11-12 links per inch
C] A "box link" is a nice alternative to regular round or oval cable chain. The links are not a true rectangle, but are a slightly more elongated oval. 16 gauge, 4mm links, 7- 8 links per inch.
D] 12- 14 gauge, 4mm oval cable chain is suitable for large habit rosaries using 10 mm or larger beads. 9-10 links per inch
E] Another style Cable Chain, with "tubbed" links, making the chain very shiny, 11-12 links per inch.
Cable chain suitable for rosaries is available in the following materials and price range:
Using the chain/wire cutter feature on your rosary pliers, hang some chain over the edge, counting the number of links you desire. If you want your separator chain to be 3 links long, count 4 links up the chain; cut the 4th link. Squeeze your pliers handles firmly to cut the chain. The desired cut length will drop to your work surface.
Discard the leftover bits.
If you want your separator chain to be 4 links long, count 5 links up the chain; cut the 5th link, and so forth.
Decorative chain links may be hand-made from wire using a number of hand-made jumprings, linked together. See directions here.
Three to five links keeps the rosary strong; any longer lengths of chain between beads may weaken the rosary.
Counting the links and holding the chain steady before cutting takes a little practice. But practice makes perfect. You'll find the cutter edge is very sharp, and with a firm squeeze, will snip right through the chain...or your finger!
So please be careful!
TIME SAVER: Cut all 14 lengths of 3 or 4 links of chain that need for your rosary at one time. Cut even more if you'll be making more than one rosary
1 rosary=14 links of chain
1 foot of chain = @ 34 3-link cuts
"Build" all your centers before you begin work on your decade beads. Add a jump ring and length of chain to each connector on your center piece.
"Build" all of your Our Father bead sets before beginning on your decade beads.