Beading tool (Rivet Maker)

I use this tool set to make rivets in a range of sizes from really, really, small to 1.35mm diameter. They are also very useful for making bolt ends for hex nuts mentioned on the Historex Hex punch page.

Thanks go to Don Jones of the Austin Armour Modellers (Austin, TX) who introduced me to this tool back in the early 2000s. I’d never have known about it otherwise.


Using the beading tool

To figure out the correctly sized rivet to punch, you need to know the actual size of rivet on the real thing. Convert if needed that imperial measurement to millimeters (multiply by 25.4mm). Then divide that number by the scale in which you are modelling.

For example for a scale 1:48 (US O Scale), 1″ (inch)  25.4mm rivet

  • Multiply 1 inch x 25.4mm
  • Divide 24.5mm by 48 (the scale) = 0.5104mm (actual size)
  • Check the Beading Tool Size Chart below. This gives a tool size of a #5 for a 0.50mm rivet (which is close enough for you and me)

Choose your thickness of plasticard and choose your tool from the set. Punch with a brass or other lightweight modelling hammer. Hey presto – the right sized scale rivet (and they are curved).

Use a fine pair of tweezers, or a fine pointed (dampened) paintbrush to pick them up.

Glue to the model using a pair of tweezers or a damp fine pointed paint brush using either liquid glue or ACC (Super glue).

Punching tips

  • Punch the scale rivet from 5, 10, 15 or 20 thou plasticard
    • You may need to work with thinner plasticard for smaller rivets and thicker plasticard for larger rivets
  • Use a resilient surface to work on
    • I’ve used a cutting mat, although I have found that a piece of bed liner, or the back of a carpet square work better as the cut-outs don’t sink into the surface near as much. This allows you to pick the formed rivet without damage.

Beading Tool Size Chart


You can buy these from a number of online sources. To find them Google: Stone Setting Beading Tool.

One source is In Australia you can buy these from as of January 2019. Your mileage may vary over time.

A note on safety

When using any tool, but especially those that cut or punch make sure you are wearing eye protection at all times. Small parts can and will fly into your eyes if you are not careful. I’m not responsible for any damage to you or others from using the information presented here.

Website Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: