One of our absolute favorite crafts is jewelry making — it’s easy to start and the world is truly your oyster when it comes to creating.
While it’s hard to resist beautiful store bought jewelry, there’s something incredibly compelling about the uniqueness of and time spent on handmade jewelry that really takes it to the next level.
There’s nothing to fear with this super accessible craft — you just need a few jewelry making supplies and some important know-how and you’ll be on your way.
We’ve compiled this guide that tells you everything you need and need to know before you start.
Let’s get straight to it!
Jewelry Making Tools
When it comes to how to make jewelry, the right tools and materials will take you more than halfway there.
If you want to create quality pieces, you need to guarantee you have good materials as well as the right tools. By stocking up on the right equipment initially, you can warrant a smooth journey through your jewelry making experience.
In this section, we’ve listed all the jewelry making tools you should have in your kit.
It’s important to note that this list contains just basic tool recommendations for beginners – however, there is a wide variety of other tools better suited to more advanced jewelry making techniques. We suggest starting out with the below and building up your toolkit as you become more experienced in the craft.
Every jewelry crafter needs a decent set of pliers.
When creating your own pieces, it’s guaranteed that you will need something strong and sturdy to cut through and handle all the various types of wires.
Pliers are extremely versatile; they can perform a multitude of jewelry making techniques, from bending wire and making loops, flattening components and stringing beads.
The huge variety of pliers have their own specially-built purpose to make your crafting process a little bit easier.
Here is a little breakdown of what each can do:
- Chain Nose Pliers
These pliers are rounded and pointed on the outside of their jaws, but are flat inside. They are extremely versatile in jewelry making as they allow you to reach smaller spaces.
They can complete a variety of different tasks from firmly holding jewelry elements to bending wire to opening and closing jump rings. These are must for anyone beginning the craft!
- Bent Chain Nose Pliers
Bent chain nose pliers have bent jaws which allow you to extend your reach within a project.
These distinctive pliers are flat on the inside of the jaw and rounded on the outside, allowing you to hold different components without obstructing your vision. They are extremely useful when working with tighter areas and awkward angles.
Planning a more delicate project? You definitely need a pair of these.
- Crimping Pliers
If you’re working with wire or other stringing materials which you can’t knot, you’ll most likely need to use crimp beads to secure a clasp.
However, crimping does not always give the prettiest finish, which is why crimping pliers have been introduced. With their specially shaped inside jaws, they help create a neater finish and can completely squash crimp beads, providing overall security to the piece.
- Flat Nose Pliers
Flat-nosed pliers are primarily used to firmly clench wire in wirework, bend wire at precise right angles, and flatten crimp beads. They are known for their strong grip, and their flat jaws maintain consistent tension and even pressure.
- Loop Closing Pliers
Loop closing pliers are designed to create the perfect loop or ring. The rounded tip features grooves inside each jaw for loops and links, holding each component stable whilst neatly closing it.
Cutters are an absolute necessity in jewelry making, especially if you’re working with wire.
They allow you to create sharp, flat cuts with perfect precision, giving an overall neat and professional finish.
There are several different cutters available, but we have rounded up the three best cutters we believe are the most useful for a beginner:
- Side Cutters
Side cutters are your basic tool for cutting soft to medium wire. They have short, sharp jaws to provide quick and clean cuts with a neat finish.
- Memory Wire Cutters
These are specifically built for use of memory wire. They have tough blades with a specialist rounded jaw opening for the wire to comfortably fit inside, tightly compressing to make sharp, clean cuts.
These are specifically used to cut cord and thread as opposed to wire. They are extremely sharp to prevent the fraying of fibers. This essential tool features long, straight jaws to provide slick, accurate cuts in a matter of milliseconds.
Jewelry Making Supplies
Now that we have our main tools, we need to purchase the sufficient materials to get started.
You can find an array of jewelry making supplies and materials in local craft stores and you have an even more extensive range available online.
Here are a few essentials:
Good quality wire is crucial, as this will be the basis for all your jewelry making projects.
Wire is what holds the beads together and creates the basic shape of your project.
Some of the best wires for jewelry making are memory wire and 19-strand bead stringing wire, as it is thin, flexible, easy to cut, and fits most beads.
As well as wire, you could also use small linked chains.
These are great for making beaded charm bracelets and necklaces. Chains can be purchased in a variety of different metal types in either a shiny or matte finish.
Gold-filled and silver-plated often work the best, and look and feel very classy.
Beads can be found in a variety of shapes, sizes, hole configurations, and colors.
It may be useful to keep a variety on hand including crystal, glass, metal, and gemstone – so you have enough beads to create a range of unique designs.
We also suggest purchasing some Bead Stoppers as they can save you so much time. You simply squeeze the little loops on either end, spreading the springs apart, then insert your bead wire and release the loops. The bead stop stays on the wire, keeping your beads in place.
As well as these materials, it is also helpful to purchase closing clasps and jump rings. These are reasonably priced and can be found in any craft store.
How To Make Jewelry
The jewelry making process is extremely fun, and once you know the basics, it proves to be very simple and straightforward.
Here are a few simple steps to get started:
It is really important to know your jewelry measurements, in order to determine how big or small you want your jewelry piece to be.
There are common, standard sizes for necklaces and bracelets — but you can also customize your measurements to best suit you or the receiver of the jewelry
Assemble Your Required Materials
Once you have chosen your jewelry project, gather and assemble all of the needed materials. It is extremely useful to have all your required materials at hand so that you can have a hassle-free jewelry making experience.
It is also important to ensure that you have a clear and comfortable working space. Be sure you’re working on a dry, flat, and level work top and that you have sufficient light to work under. This way you can guarantee a pleasant jewelry making experience.
Jewelry Making Ideas: Beaded Bracelet
In this section, we will be giving you a step by step guide to create a handcrafted beaded bracelet.
There are several examples online of different jewelry making projects, and you can also find inspiration on craft channels and craft magazines, but here is a simple bracelet tutorial to get you started:
For this particular bracelet, you will need:
- Beading wire
- Wire cutters
- Crimp beads
- Jump rings
- A closing clasp.
Begin by stringing your beads onto the wire still attached to the spool.
Keeping the wire attached to the spool allows you to change your mind about the length of the bracelet as you make it.
Keep stringing on beads until you make the bracelet as long as you would like it to be.
Once you have determined the right length of your bracelet, add the clasp and jump ring as your last items on your bracelet.
Remember to leave some room on the end of the wire.
Then, take the tag end of the wire and thread it back through the end crimp bead. Ideally you need the jump ring to be dangling on the wire loop.
The penultimate step is securing the end of your bracelet.
Keep threading the wire through the rest of the beads until the jump ring is pulled taut against the wire.
Use your crimping pliers to clamp down on the crimp bead and secure the crimp bead.
You can trim away any excess wire near the crimp bead. After you have completed this step, repeat this process with the other side of bracelet.
Lastly, add a clasp to the end of the bracelet.
Use pliers to twist and open the jump ring and then feed the clasp onto the ring. Close the jump ring, and connect your bracelet together.
Here’s a video tutorial for another basic jewelry making project:
Jewelry Making Ideas
If you’re looking for jewelry making ideas, the solution is all around you.
Start window shopping around expensive jewelry shops, take note of styles and designs you like in fashion magazines and simply on the street.
And, of course, take a look on Pinterest for inspiration and tutorials. Check out our board first!
Once you have mastered creating beaded bracelets, try using more beads and a longer piece of wire to create your own hand-crafted necklace.
Jewelry making becomes easier with practice. Once you have tried simple designs, why not look at more advanced techniques?
You could even sell your creations at craft markets or online, and start your very own handmade jewelry business!
That’s all you need to know about jewelry making — any questions?