If you’re like me you were in a department store shopping with your friends, headed to the jewelry section, perused the selections and realized that nothing they offered was your flavor.
Yeah, it happens. Sometimes the style we’re looking for just hasn’t been created yet and doesn’t really express our uniqueness. I mean why wear jewelry if it doesn’t represent a part of who you are?
It may be in this instance that you are inspired to create your own jewelry, something that represents you, gives you self-expression, and makes a bold statement.
That’s it. Your mind is made up and you’re going to create your own jewelry.
Good for you Diva, welcome to our world. Many jewelry artists start by reading books, taking a class, joining a jewelry club, watching videos or simply diving into experimentation.
No matter how or where you start every Jewelry Diva must have these essential tools:
1. Round nose pliers- These pliers are definitely needed to make simple loops, and later, eccentric designs. Nickname: Alligator*.
2. Flat nose pliers- These help make angles, create awesome geometric shapes and “clean the wire” to make it look more professional. Nickname: The Cleaner*.
3. Wire cutters- These are pretty self- explanatory, they pretty much just cut the wire. Nickname: Cutter.
Seriously Divas, these are the three main tools you’ll need in order to create fabulous pieces of jewelry. I know what you’re saying…But Angela there are SO many other tools on the market, don’t I need them? Nope.
Technically you don’t “need” them, you may want them. I mean do we really “need” a garlic press? People create gadgets to make our lives simpler but sometimes the exact opposite happens we become overwhelmed because we don’t know how to use them. Later we find out the three main tools we started with in the first place does the same job. In the beginning, let’s keep it simple.
Now that we have the jewelry tools, we need the jewelry materials.
The first time I took a basic jewelry class we were given a supply list of materials we needed for the class which was cool but it had no pictures. The list may as well have been written in Spanish because I didn’t know what these items were or what they looked like.
Walking into a craft store trying to find these things by yourself is a nightmare, especially when there are no associates to help you. (True story.) Oh and here’s your first jewelry term: Findings- jewelry components or pieces. So here’s the breakdown:
1. Head pin- In my humble opinion, the head pin looks like a very thin nail. The flat end of a head pin is equated to a stop sign or a period- you can go no further in the design. It stops the bead and almost camouflages itself into the bead. In other words, it takes backstage in the design and allows the beads to be the star of the show. These are available in many gauges, more about this later.
2. Eye Pin- These look like thin sticks/wire with a loop at the end. These loop gives you the option to continue or add to the design, if you were a writer this would be your comma or period. You could simply open the loop to add more: another bead, chain, etc. It’s all up to you and the possibilities are endless.
3. Jump rings- These are available in various sizes, shapes, texture and colors. What is their job in creative design? Jump rings connect pieces together, make things dangle, create length, and in some cases, add texture. Opening a jump ring is easy and did you know there was a kiss involved?! Honey, it’s the most romantic supply ever. We’ll talk about that part at a later date.
4. Ear Wires- Ear wires come in different varieties such as post, kidney, fish hooks, and leverbacks. Although these represent different styles, they all serve the same purpose- to make earrings.
5. Clasps- Just like with ear wires, there are also creative ways to add elegance and finesse to your bracelets and necklaces. You can choose from toggles, spring, and lobster clasps (not the kind you eat, lol). These findings allow you to finish your design.
6. Stretch Magic- I know, I know. Weird name, great resource. This is the elastic used to make those stretchy bracelets you often see in the store, more like a one size fits all type piece. I guess that’s the magic. When purchasing this you want to make sure the elastic isn’t too thick for the hole of our bead. I made this mistake the first time I bought it. Ahhh but I’ve learned my lesson.
7. Beading wire- This is not the wire used in wire wrap projects, this is the wire used in stringing projects. Let me explain this a little better. Beading wire is thin, doesn’t bend into shapes to create funky circles or butterflies. It is used to thread beads on to in order to create multi-strand necklaces, bracelets, decorative earrings….things like that. Get it? Still confused? No worries, there’s a class for that.
8. Crimp beads- These are so freakin’ tiny but so important when creating strung jewelry pieces. So basically these are used in the beginning and the end of a piece. Its purpose is to stop the beads from falling off and to allow room for a closure. (Clasp)
9. Crimp covers- Crimp covers go over the crimp beads to give it a professional look. You’ll definitely want to invest in these and they’re super easy to use.
10. Beads- Of course we need beads and there are many styles, types, colors, shapes, and textures out there. Explore and buy what you like because that’s the whole reason you wanted to create in the first place, right?
Here’s one last tip from one Jewelry Diva to another…….Have fun and let the creativity flow. Oh did I forget to mention that I actually teach jewelry making in our new Member’s Club? I do. You can even treat yourself to a free download of the syllabus by clicking on the photo.
Hey leave us a comment and tell us your flavor or why you decided to get creative! We love meeting new people.