March 09, 2020 5 min read 2 Comments
Designing and making your own jewelry is not only a ton of fun, it also opens up a whole new world of creative possibilities. And as those who have walked this road before, this interest can also become incredibly addictive very quickly!
When you’re first starting out it may seem a little overwhelming with all there is to learn among all the tools, techniques, terminologies and materials. When you’re first starting out it does take some time to learn the ropes and feel comfortable with what you’re doing.To help you along we’ve put together 5 tops tips to help get you started with jewelry making.
Within Jewelry-Making, there is such a broad range of options: Bead Weaving & Stitching, Stringing, Wire Wrapping, Metal Stamping, Bead Crochet . . . to name a few. As there are so many beautiful forms of jewelry it may be tempting to try a few at once. Our best advice is to pick one and master it. For instance, if you like the look of a single row necklace stringing would be a good place to start. With this technique you will learn to distinguish among the size, type and colours of beads, the tools required and how to begin and end a piece with attaching clasps. Or perhaps the look of woven jewelry catches your eye. With this type of jewelry making, you will discover there are a number of stitches that create different looks, such as Right-Angle Weave, Brick or Peyote as examples. Pick one type of stitch and experiment with different types and sizes of beads. A bracelet in a Peyote stitch with 11/0 Delicas will have a completely different look than one made with 6/0 Czech Seed Beads. The first project you choose will likely be the most difficult – so please be patient with yourself. As you start on your jewelry making journey and master one technique at a time, you will find that your new-found skills will build upon each other and learning new techniques will become much easier. Before too long you will develop great confidence in your abilities!
Each type of Jewelry Making requires certain tools in order to achieve a finished piece, whether it be a bracelet, necklace or earrings. As jewelry tools have many of the same names as hardware tools, it might seem logical to simply borrow them from a tool box. While logical, the short answer is an emphatic no! Jewelry parts are so much finer and smaller than nuts and bolts, and require tools that are also much finer and smaller in order to create an attractive piece of jewelry. As tempting as it might be, our advice is to avoid the tool box and invest in the jewelry tools you need for your project. There are varying opinions on the quality of the tools to first invest in.The higher the quality, you guessed it, generally the higher the price.Naturally, the higher the quality of the tools, the easier the process and the more perfect the finished project. When you are first starting out and testing the waters with the type of jewelry making you are most drawn to, you may consider purchasing inexpensive basic tools. Once you have established your preferred jewelry types, it’s safe to go ahead and invest in high quality tools. Then you can ‘gift’ your basics to another new beginner!
With every type of Jewelry Making there is a corresponding list of specific terminologies for techniques, tools and materials. Best to learn these at the start. Let’s take the example that you’ve decided to start with a Chainmaille Bracelet. This technique requires 2 pair of Flat Nose Pliers which are available in a variety of types – smooth vs ridged jaws, thin vs thicker noses, handle variations and leaf springs which allow easy opening and closing. The Plier type best suited to your project is dependent upon the materials you choose. Materials used in Chainmaille are jump rings, which come in a variety of sizes, typically measured in millimeters (mm) – the smaller the number the smaller the jump ring. As well, jump rings are available in a number of metals – aluminum, steel, and sterling silver – to name a few. Aluminum tends to be softer and more pliable for the beginner, and comes in so many beautiful colours. Finally jump rings, and wire in general available in different gauges which refers to the width of the actual wire. In this case, the higher the number, the thinner the wire or jump ring. Understanding the terminology associated with your project will greatly ease the process of purchasing all the correct components and provide you with the essential knowledge to easily follow instructions.
You may have thoughts that you’re just beginning and it is just as easy to use the dining room table and just pack it up when you’re done. Yes this is an enticing consideration. Let’s talk about this type of work space option. Often a new project, for a beginner or experienced crafter, takes longer than expected. If you have allotted a specific amount of time and your project is not finished, everything has to be packed up and moved. Then to complete it, you have to lay everything out again and figure out where you left off.It takes time to pack and unpack, layout supplies and sort – time that can be used instead for creating. Consider allocating a desk or table against a wall in a room specifically devoted to your jewelry making hobby. Perhaps you have the flexibility to install a simple shelf for housing your supplies. Next sort your supplies into inexpensive clear containers with dividers– there are so many on the market. Then LABEL absolutely every container. Sort your containers in a system that makes sense to you. Materials can be categorized by size within type (findings, wire, crystal), by colour within type or many other possibilities. The choice is yours and the system must make sense to you so it will be easy to easily find the materials you need. Additionally, with a dedicated work space projects can be left unfinished and when you return, everything will be exactly as you left it!
Sounds almost too simple. Why not just use youtube or on-line instruction? Of course these are great options! When you are beginning and learning the names of everything, how to hold and use a tool or develop the right tension in a bead stitching project, it is a lot to master to get it right. In person, an Instructor provides a live demonstration of the technique, offers specific guidance and can quickly rectify an error in your technique - often it is a simple modification. It may be how you’re holding a tool or correcting the correct closing of a jump ring. As you grow with your jewelry making experience and master new techniques, youtube becomes an invaluable tool. For the Beginner, pick something specific that you would like to learn and take a class. It will be one of the best investments you make. Good luck as you embark on your new Jewelry Making Hobby. Once you start, you’ll quickly see that creating beautiful jewelry is totally achievable!
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