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Get Started With Jewellery Making

By: Catherine Burrows - Updated: 13 Oct 2011 | comments*Discuss
 
Jewellery Beads Start Craft Wire Tools

Making your own jewellery is a rewarding, addictive and impressive craft. The end results can be designed and worn by you, given as gifts or they could even form the basis of a new and profitable business. Creating your own jewellery means you won’t be restricted by style, design or materials ever again.

The trouble is, so many people don’t make a start because the craft feels intimidating or out of reach. Get started by researching basic techniques and principles. When you have a better idea, you will be able to make informed judgements about the type of jewellery projects you’d like to have a go at and the tools and materials you’ll need.

The Most Popular Techniques

The two easier techniques to try as a novice jewellery maker are beading and precious metal clay:
  • Beading is probably the most popular technique. It’s incredibly versatile, using a whole range of materials. The basic constituents are beads and wire, or a similar threading medium. The tools and materials required can be very cheap and the techniques are easily applied to earrings, bracelets, necklaces and brooches.
  • Precious metal clay is another medium that you may like to try. The cost of the materials is much higher than beading, so it may be your second choice. However, it’s very cost-effective when you realise the quality of jewellery you are able to produce and compare it to shop-bought pieces. It’s astonishing and satisfying to transform a grey lump of clay into a beautiful piece of silver jewellery. Use simple design techniques and follow this by firing the finished piece and finally buffing it to perfection.

Beading Tools

Until you are familiar with the craft of jewellery making, try and keep your toolkit to a minimum. You don’t need many tools at all to start producing some wonderful items:

Pliers and Tweezers

Pliers are an essential component of a jewellery craft kit. The main types you’ll use are round-nose pliers. They are used to bend, loop and manipulate wire. Flat nose pliers are also useful for securing and clamping wire around beads, collars and fastenings.You may also like to invest in wire snippers and tweezers, both of which will make your life easier and will speed your projects up.

Beads

Shopping for and selecting beads for your jewellery projects is a delight. You don’t have to pay lots, be resourceful and search for the best sources. Beads are sold in dedicated craft shops, at haberdashers and online. The choice is astonishing. If you are feeling particularly thrifty, you could always recycle unwanted jewellery and incorporate the beads in a completely new design.

Beads are available in a variety of different forms. Possibly the most popular are glass beads. Other options include acrylic beads, metal beads and beads made from natural substances such as wood or even seeds and beans.

If you want your project to be completely made from scratch, how about making your own beads? It may be a labour and time intensive option but polymer clay kits are freely available from most craft stores, so it’s not difficult to make a start.

Threading material

You have your beads but that’s only half the project. Wire is used to thread the beads, secure beads and embellish the design. There are many fascinating and rewarding techniques that, once mastered, will give your finished craft work real style with its cages, loops and spirals. The wire is available in a range of different thicknesses. The option you select will depend on its use- whether you want to simply thread the beads or use it for more decorative purposes.

Other threading options include nylon cord, leather twine and even ribbon or velvet.

Findings

The last main component you’ll need to get you started with your project are the relevant ‘findings’. This is a jewellery making term that refers to all the gizmos you need to complete a finished piece. These include things like catches, clasps and jump rings. You’ll be able to find these in packs and kits wherever beads and wire are sold.

Making a Start

Once you have explored design ideas and collected a basic starter kit for your jewellery making, you’re ready to go. Find a step by step project to have a go at for your first piece if you can.

If you still feel intimidated by the prospect, there are many kits available at various craft outlets. They will include instructions and everything you need to finish your first piece. It may just be the confidence boost you need to get you going.

Once you are ready to move on, try starting with something a little simpler like earrings or handbag charms. Then you could move on to bracelets and necklaces.

The hardest part of jewellery making is making a start. With a little research, a basic toolkit and simple materials, you’re ready to begin your first project. Be warned - jewellery making can be intensely addictive!

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