jewlery making guide

I may be biased, but I think jewelry-making is the world’s best hobby. Not only is it creative and fun, but you can actually wear the things you make. You can’t say that about woodworking, painting or baking. (Sorry, not sorry!)

So maybe you’re ready to try it, but don’t know where to start. That’s what these 10 tips are for. Use them to launch yourself into the world of jewelry-making so you, too, can proclaim it the world’s best hobby.

1. Choose One Type of Jewelry to Try First

When it comes to making jewelry, the range of possibilities can be overwhelming. So zero in on one kind and go from there.

Maybe you like beaded beauties or metal-stamped jewelry best. Maybe you want to work with leather, clay or glass. Choose one medium to focus on first, knowing that you can always try something else later.

2. Master a Few Basic Skills

There are some skills you’ll want to have no matter what medium you decide to try first. Most projects, for example, will require that you have a basic knowledge of how to open and close a jump ring properly and form a simple wire loop . Once you learn these skills, you can use them for all different kinds of projects.

3. Invest in Good-Quality Tools

For your first attempt, it may be okay to just “borrow” the wire cutters and pliers from your household toolbox. But you’ll find that the better your jewelry-making tools , the easier the process will be and the better your project will turn out.

At first, it may seem like a bit of an investment. But in the long run the tools will more than pay for themselves. Once you have the right equipment in your stash, it’s usually very inexpensive to make any particular piece.

4. Learn the Lingo

What’s the difference between a head pin and an eye pin? Is 12-gauge wire thicker or thinner than 20-gauge wire? And what are findings, anyway? Before you purchase anything, make sure you know what it is and why you need it. This will save you time, money and frustration. 

5. Stock Up

Before you buy online, I’d encourage you to find a local craft store and literally get your hands on the tools and supplies you need. Look at them, touch them and choose exactly what you want.

When I was getting started I ordered things online that I wish I hadn’t, just because of my lack of experience. For example, I didn’t have a concept of what a 4 mm bead really looked like, so when I ordered a whole pack and they showed up, I was shocked at how tiny they were.

Later, once you get into a groove, by all means go for the ease of ordering online, but I still personally love the experience of seeing things for myself before I buy.

6. Create a Dedicated Work Space

There’s nothing more frustrating for a crafter (or that person’s family!) than having random supplies strewn everywhere. If you can’t find what you need, you waste precious time that you could have used for creating.

Choose a room of the house — or at least a certain table, desk or drawer — that you can devote to your hobby. Once you have it, sort your supplies and label, label, label. There are all kinds of jewelry-making storage ideas like inexpensive bins and boxes that come with dividers to easily store beads, finding and more.

Figure out a system that works for you and stick with it. That way you’ll always know what you have and it’ll be within arm’s reach when inspiration strikes!

7. Look for Inspiration

Sometimes a great idea for a new jewelry piece will just come to me. But more often than not, I get inspired by what I see.

Check out the jewelry for sale in your favorite clothing and accessory stores. Browse Pinterest. Find a few great bloggers and check out their jewelry archives.

Sometimes, you’ll find a great tutorial that you’ll want to follow step by step, or you may just find something that appeals to you in a general way but that lets you tweak the colors, size or style to suit your own preferences.

8. Take a Class

Is there something specific you want to learn? Take an online class and let an experienced instructor walk you through the process! You can take a basic beginner level class or choose a course about a specific technique like wire wrapping , working with resin or soldering . You might also be able to find a class at your local craft or specialty bead store where you can learn in person.

9. Stay Positive

Like any other skill, making your own jewelry has a learning curve. The first wire loop you try to create is going to look like a hot mess. And that’s okay! Because the second one will look better and by the tenth one you’ll feel like a pro. Don’t let one difficult or failed project ruin your enthusiasm. Just keep trying, keep practicing and remember that all skills take time to develop.

10. Take Risks

Don’t hesitate to try a particular skill because it sounds difficult. I always love having the opportunity to let friends play around with my metal-stamping tools and see just how easy it is to create their own personalized pieces. With the right tools, they’re amazed by what they can do.

Also, don’t limit yourself to a certain style, color or size of jewelry. Play around with your supplies, try new things and see how you like them. Experiment with different materials and see what happens. Some of my favorite pieces are things I wasn’t even sure I was going to like. The sky’s the limit: Reach for it!

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