As promised, here is my first post in my jewelry making lessons series! Here I'll share lots of free jewelry making lessons from what I've learned through my years of beading.
Today I wanted to talk about the tools that I use most often while beading. This is in no way a comprehensive list, just what are my favorite things to use.
First up is tools!
If you want to get into jewelry making, you NEED at least three of these tools. A metal hole punch is not really necessary unless you plan on getting into metal work, but I still recommend it. I've had the same round nose pliers since I started like 8 years ago, but have upgraded my needle nose and wire cutters since then. I prefer to use bent nose needle nose pliers because I think they are just easier to work with, but you can also use the more conventional straight ones.
I've only had my anvil and chasing hammer for a year, but I LOVE them. If you want to get into wire working these are both a must.
Other random supplies to keep on hand: tape to use while stringing beads, scissors, super glue, tape measure, and a bead mat so all your beads don't roll away while you are working on a project!
For stringing projects you need to have some sort of beading wire on hand. I'm cheap so I just go with the off-brand of Tiger Tail that can be found at Michaels or Joanns. Two other good brands are Soft Flex and Beadalon, but they are a little more pricey. I also keep elastic on hand for bracelets and ribbon on hand for necklaces. Again, if you want to get into wire work you should keep some kind of wire on hand. If you want to make fancy jewelry sterling silver wire would be your best option, but that stuff is expensive! I'm on a college budget so I mostly use silver plated.
Eye pins and headpins will be your friends. You can NEVER have too many of these. Money saving tip: make your own eye pins. Save the ends of your head pins and make your own! I'll show you how in a later lesson.
Keep lots of ear wires on hand if you want to make earrings! Crimp beads are also necessary for stringing projects, and jump rings come in handy all the time. I have them in various sizes in both gold and silver.
Chain can be used in so many different jewelry projects! You can usually buy chain by the inch at a bead store or in a package at Michael's and Joanns. I tend to buy it packaged because, once again, it can get expensive at beads stores. There are TONS of different kinds of chain though, it's really fun to work with!
There are tons of different findings to keep on hand (findings are the little metal pieces that help you make jewelry) but I mostly use bead cones and bead caps in multi-strand stringing projects (they go over the ends of the strands of beads before the clasp to make it look nicer) and cord ends and ribbon ends (not pictured, I need to buy more!) to be able to use cord and ribbon in a jewelry piece.
I really don't know if Chandelier earrings are in or out these days, but I still love making them! There are tons of different earring frames to buy, and all you have to do is add beads to the bottom and an earring wire up top and you've got instant earrings!
Lastly, for bracelets and necklaces keep lots of clasps on hand. For bracelets I tend to use a lobster claw, toggle clasp, or magnetic clasp since they are easier to use one handed. Hook and eye and barrel clasps are normally the cheapest clasps you find, and they are better suited for necklaces.
So there is a brief overview of the tools and supplies I use most often! Once again, the list is in no way comprehensive, but if you want to get started making jewelry these items are the place to start!
Up next week: all about BEADS!!!!!
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