Jewelry Making 101! Part 1- supplies

Happy Monday to you all! :) I think this is the happiest Monday I've had in a while. Know why??? Today is part one of a four part jewelry making mini series! From now until Thursday I'll walk you through the very basics of jewelry making in hopes that at the end you can create something fabulous that you love!

*DISCLAIMER:* I am no expert. Far from one, actually. Most of what I am teaching you I learned myself through trial and error. The point of this mini series is to cover what I wish I would have known before I ventured into the land of jewelry. I hope you enjoy it. :)

Today I'll cover basic supplies. The jewelry I'll be showing you how to make over the next few days is all metal based. No elastic, no cords, no strings. So the supplies you'll need will differ from those you need for stringy jewelry. I've included a '"shopping list" of what I use and then I'll walk through each item individually and explain exactly what each of them does. The list is broken up into two parts, tools and findings. Tools are the supplies you need to work the metal, and findings are all the different "parts" of the jewelry.

Materials Needed:
  • Small needle nose pliers
  • Round nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Head pins
  • Eye pins
  • Jump rings
  • Chain
  • Clasps
  • Ear wires
  • Ear posts
Small needle nose plies. These are the second most useful tools in jewelry making, IMHO. These little suckers can be used to open jump rings, close loops, open links in chain, hold small beads, etc, etc, etc. You'll use these a lot, so make sure you invest in a good, non cheapo pair. Try to get ones with no "teeth."

Round nose pliers. These look extremely similar to needle nose pliers so you may be tempted to skip over these but DON'T! This is the most important tool you'll need, you'll use it for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. They are absolutely essential for making nice, uniform "loops." (More on that later.) If you buy nothing else, buy these, they will make your jewelry go from "homemade" to professional looking. Good ones will taper at the top so you can make different sized loops (the one pictured above are tapered.) These ones also include wire cutters and crimpers, but I've yet to use either of those functions.

Wire cutters. These make life so much easier when you're cutting excess wire from head pins and eye pins. You might be able to get by using the ones on your needle nose or round nose pliers, but these babies can get into small areas and will make a world of difference in your finished pieces.

Ok, you've got your three tools! There are a lot more that can be used and would probably make life a little easier, but so far I've been able to do everything I want to with just these three tools. Head on over to Michaels with a 40% off coupon!

Head pins. These little guys look like a nail that isn't sharp. You'll need these to make dangly earrings, charms, and anything else that may "hang" off of jewelry. One end is flat to hold beads and whatnot in place, the other end is for "looping." They come in a ton of different lengths, I recommend getting longer ones (at least one inch) if you're just starting out.

See how the flat part of the head pin keeps the beads from sliding off? The other end is then looped and attached to an ear wire.

Eye pins. These are named so because at the end of each one it looks like a little eye! The eyes are are the loops I keep talking about, tomorrow you'll learn how to make your own! You use eye pins when you are attaching things (chains, wires, more eye pins) to both sides, rather than just one (like the head pin.) As with head pins, they come in a lot of lengths, and I recommend getting longer ones at first.

I used eye pins to attach clusters of glass pearls to each other and then attach them onto a chain to create a necklace.

Jump rings. They may be small, but they are life savers. Use these to help attach anything to anything: clasps to chains, beads to chain, eye pins to eye pins, head pins to ear wires, the list goes on an on. Get lots of these little guys in as many different sizes as you can afford.

Jump rings are the primary ingredient of my button bracelet, I used over 50 for each one! They attached the buttons to the chain.

Chain. Chain is your primary ingredient for most of your projects. You'll need it for bracelets, necklaces, even earrings. Try to get a long length of chain that comes all nicely wrapped up like this, rather than just an 18" chain. The more chain you get, the more projects you'll be able to complete! They come thin and thick, large and small, delicate and chunky. Get a kind that appeals to you and is versatile like the one pictured above.

Clasps. Without clasps, you won't be able to wear any of your creations! There are a ton of varieties (lobster, magnetic, hooks, etc), just get the kind that appeals to you most.

Ear wires and ear posts. You can't make earrings without these! Ear wires come in a million different varieties (french, kidney style, fish hook, etc.) and are used for making dangly earrings. The posts are used for making studs. The kinds of earrings you want to make will depend on which kind you need to get!

Phew!! I know it seems like a lot, but you can buy starter kits that include all the findings you need for $10 or less. This will give you enough to practice with and make a few pieces. The tools also come in kits so you can get everything you need to make something for less than $20!

 This is my box o' findings. I have a lot of different sizes of materials as well as different colors. I am not expecting you to have this much, this is just to give you an idea of what all your materials will look like. Try to get as many different sizes, brands, and colors as your budget will allow, this will help you discover what you like best.

Oh! And don't forget beads and other pretty things. :) Can't make jewelry without pretty things! May I recommend glass pearls in a variety of colors?

I am so excited to start creating jewelry with you!! Tomorrow we'll cover basic skills. See you then! :)


Kara said...

this post was SUPER helpful! Thanks Amie! Can I get a starter kit (the $20 one) at JoAnn or Michaels??

Beth @ Wiccan Make Some Too said...

I think the one thing I have not tried is making jewelry. My youngest daughter makes it & she can hardly keep up with the orders. Does look like fun I will check in on your tuts since my daughter lives 1100 miles away. Thanks in advance!

AmieAnn said...

I am definetly going to have to try to make some button jewelry.. maybe as Christmas gifts! Oh and I gave you a blog award.. come claim it @ http://pinkapotamus.blogspot.com/2010/11/we-have-winner-and-award.html

Anonymous said...

Just thought I would comment and say great theme, did you code it for yourself? Really looks excellent!

Amie said...

Thank you! I know how to do the code but for this one I didn't, I got a much more talented person to help me. :)

Anonymous said...

Hola, Interesante, no va a continuar con este artнculo?

Amie said...

This is only part one. Look under my "tutorials" tab to see parts 2, 3, and 4.

Anonymous said...

Infine, ha ottenuto quello che stavo cercando! Io sicuramente godendo ogni po 'di essa. Contento mi sono imbattuto in questo articolo! sorriso che ti ho salvato per verificare cose nuove di postare.

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