Jewelry Making Tips Archives

Getting Started in Jewelry Making Basic Tools

Getting Started in Jewelry Making

You want to begin jewelry making but one look at the jewelry section of your local craft store and you are overwhelmed.  Pliers, cutters, and crimpers, of every shape and size, all tout that they are essential to making jewelry.  Whether you are doing this for fun or for profit, it would be easy to become discouraged by the thought of the initial investment needed to make jewelry, but take heart.  No need to invest in every tool right away.  While there are specialty tools for every task, there are several basic tools that you really need and it won’t break the bank.

There are four tools that are must haves for jewelry making.  Not every project will use all of them but you will use some combination of these tools for every project.  With these four basic tools you are ready to begin making beautiful jewelry.

Cutter Pliers
First, you will need a heavy duty pair of cutter pliers.  They have a sharp edge and will be used to cut wire and pins in most projects.  They come in several varieties, and are rated to cut different metal hardness.  A heavy duty set will cut whatever wire or metal that you need.

Needle-Nose Pliers
Another basic tool is the needle-nose pliers.  Their jaws are flat on the inner sides and come to a point.  The flat inner side is important so that they don’t scratch the jewelry.  They are used for bending wire or pins, holding and opening jump rings.  The flat inner side is also useful for straightening and smoothing edges.

Round-Nose Pliers
The round-nose pliers have jaws that are long and, as the name suggests, round.  Their curved edges are perfect for creating eye loops.  They are also useful when working with wire.  They are an essential tool for most projects.

Crimp Bead Pliers
The final tool that I consider essential is a pair of crimp bead pliers.  While every project may not require you to use crimp beads, these pliers are also useful for holding jump rings and other jewelry components.  This tool serves a dual purpose.  Not only does it crimp beads but it also acts as a second pair of needle-nose pliers.  This makes them a great multiple use tool.

As you become more skilled in jewelry making, you may find that you need other tools.  Once you begin making jewelry, you will add to your tool box.  However, initially, with these four tools on hand you will be able to make most any project.

Beaded Jewelry Making Supplies

Beaded Jewelry Making – Supplies

In cooking, there are certain ingredients that are referred to as staples.  They are not used in every project and you may not use all of them every day, but they are things that are used frequently enough that you should keep them on hand all the time.  Well there are some staples of jewelry making as well.

Headpins and eye pins
They are used for stringing beads.   Head pins may have a flat head or be decorative.  The flat headpin is definitely a staple.  If you are making earrings, you can not have too many.  Eye pins are not used as frequently as headpins but are still a staple.

Wire
Wire is found in many different gauges but it is helpful to have a heavy gauge like a 24 gauge on hand.  For necklaces, bracelets and some loop earrings, stringing wire will be needed.

Jump rings
Having jump rings in a variety of sizes is a must have.  They come in a round and oval.  They come in several metal types as well.

Magic Stretch Cord
This is a relatively inexpensive thing to have on hand and can be quite useful.  It is something that you would want to have in your toolbox  if you are making necklaces and bracelets.

Metal Beads
Whether silver or gold, they are used so frequently in jewelry making that it makes sense to keep several sizes in stock.  Some of the more decorative ones would probably be best bought with the project in mind.  But smooth metal beads, round and flat are so versatile that they will be often used.

Earring Hooks and posts
Nothing would be more upsetting than to sit down to make a pair of earrings for that new outfit and find that you don’t have any hooks!   If you make earrings, earring hooks are a must have.  Ball posts with a loop are great for little girl’s earrings.

Clasps and toggles
If you are making bracelets and necklaces, you will need a variety of clasps or toggles.  Basic lobster clasps in a variety of sizes would be handy to keep on hand.

Jewelry glue
While not used in every project, it is good to have some jewelry glue around.

Ruler or Tape Measurer
It is advisable to keep a ruler with your jewelry making supplies.  It is especially useful for necklaces and bracelets to ensure the proper length for the finished piece.

If you are focusing solely on earrings in the beginning, you may not need some of these supplies.  Some of the items were noted as being just for earrings or just for necklaces and bracelets.  Also, as you continue making jewelry, you may find items that you use very frequently in your projects.  For instance, if you like chandelier earrings, you may want to keep a variety of them on hand.  If you find that you often make hoop earrings, it would be something extra that you would keep on hand.  As you gain experience, you will find things that are uniquely your staples.

How to Wire Wrap a Pendant

Wire Wrapping A Pendant

Jewelry making can be a great stress reliever in between daily hectic schedules.  Running kids to school, practice, cooking dinner, and cleaning the house.  Once a week sit down and design a new piece of jewelry.  Jenni show you how to make a wire wrapped pendant.  The tools and supplies needed are basic but the outcome is so much fun.

Tips To Using Crimp Beads

What Is A Crimp Bead

A crimp bead is a finishing bead used to secure the end of wire jewelry.  It creates a loop for the connectors and keeps the beads from sliding off.  It comes in a variety of metal types as do other findings.  It will either be a tube or round.  For a further finished look, a crimp bead cover may be placed over it.

As mentioned, it is primarily used to finish off a piece of wire jewelry such as a necklace or a bracelet.  However, it is also used in floating necklaces.  It can be placed under a several beads, grouping the beads together, and because it stops the beads from dropping further down the wire, it creates the floating necklace appearance.  If one is placed on either side of a bead and covered with a crimp bead cover, they can appear like round beads.  This is a beautiful look especially when using a more transparent wire.

There are special pliers needed to properly close the crimp beads.  They are called crimping pliers.  Their jaws have indentations that, when closed, create two holes.  These holes are used in a two-step process to crimp the beads and secure the wire.

Slip the crimp bead onto the wire and pull the wire through.  Loop the wire back and slip on a clasp if desired.  Tuck the wire back through the crimp bead.  Grasp the crimp bead with the crimp bead pliers at the second hole from the tip and press gently but firmly on the bead.  This will have made the crimp bead concave.  Now, using the first hole of the crimp bead pliers, turn the bead ¼ turn and crimp firmly but gently.  Trim the excess wire as close to the bead as possible being mindful not to clip the main wire.  You would use this same two-step technique if you are using the bead for a floating necklace.

There are two steps that are not necessary but are suggested for a more polished look.  One is to use two crimp beads.  Slide two crimp beads on the end of the wire.  Make the loop back and crimp the last bead just as explained above, trimming as close as possible.  Then slide the first crimp bead as close to the crimped bead as possible and crimp that bead.  This covers any loose ends of the wire.  The second suggestion is to cover the crimp bead with a crimp bead cover.  They are pressed close with needle-nose pliers and when applied look just like a metal bead.  They are a great look for the floating necklace.  While neither of these steps is necessary they add a touch of distinction to the piece.

While most jewelry findings are mostly utilitarian, crimp beads, when covered, can actually attribute to the beauty of the piece.  Whether covered or not, knowing the proper technique for closing crimp beads is an essential skill for the beaded necklace and bracelet maker.