Beading 101: How to Get Started Making Jewelry

There are many benefits to learning how to make your own jewelry. First and foremost, it is fun! Making jewelry is a hobby that allows you to express your creativity in an enjoyable and relaxing way.
Learning how to make jewelry is also practical, and you can learn to make beautiful, handmade and custom pieces for family, friends and, perhaps eventually, potential customers.
Beginning jewelers may not know exactly how to get started in the art of jewelry-making, whether it be for business or pleasure. Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you translate your interest in jewelry-making into a rewarding and lasting endeavor.

INVEST IN THE RIGHT TOOLS

Creating high-quality pieces with low-quality tools is difficult for even the most advanced jewelry makers.
The basic, must-have tools that any beginner should have to get started creating their very own beautiful jewelry and beading projects include:
  • Wire Cutters
  • Round-Nose Pliers
  • Flat-Nose Pliers
  • Crimping Pliers
  • A Ruler/Tape Measure
  • A Bead Organizer
  • Adhesive, such as the E-6000

While you may be tempted to scrounge for tools that “sort of” fit the bill in your household toolbox at first, investing in the proper tools will help you turn out better pieces from the get-go.
The cost of high-quality tools more than pays for itself. Purchasing specialty tools may seem like an investment at first, but well-made and designed tools outlast their cheaper counterparts, and you will find that you will have to replace high-quality tools much less frequently.

…AND THE RIGHT MATERIALS!

Not only is having the right beading materials necessary but picking out beads is also one of the most fun parts of getting into jewelry-making and developing your unique style! Some necessary beading materials for beginners include:
  • A Variety of Glass Beads
  • Beading Cord
  • Memory Wire
  • A Beading Needle
  • Earwires
  • Clasps and toggles
  • Headpins and Eyepins
  • Crimp Beads
  • Beading Wire
  • Beading Thread
  • Fire-Polished Beads
While pre-composed bead kits can be convenient, they are not always the most cost-effective choice unless you like and plan to use all the beads included in the kit.

Gemstones, glass beads and crystal beads offer a more high-end finish for pieces than their cheaper Lucite and plastic options and will fetch a higher price if you plan to sell your creations. Better beads are also longer lasting. Also, invest in a container with compartments to store your beads so they can be sorted by size, bead and color, making them easy to find.

START SMALL

You may have been inspired to start making jewelry by the creative and intricate pieces of other jewelry artists. However, as a beginner, it is best to start small.
There are plenty of free project tutorials available online geared toward those who are just getting started in the art of jewelry-making.
By starting small, you will slowly build up your skill set and abilities, and you will find yourself capable of making the beautiful pieces that inspired your interest in jewelry.

LEARN THE LINGO

Before making any purchases, it is best to do your research and become familiar with jewelry-making lingo.
Knowing the different purposes of various materials will give you a better idea of what it is that you need for a project and save you the time and expense of returning unnecessary items.
Being familiar with the vernacular will also help you advertise your pieces if you plan to sell them.
For example, various necklace lengths have certain names:

BECOME FAMILIAR WITH INDUSTRY STANDARDS

Before putting all your time into creating a unique piece of jewelry, it is important to become familiar with standards within the industry. This includes the standard lengths for necklaces, bracelets, chokers and anklets.

With these standard lengths in mind, remember that custom measurements are always best for commissioned pieces.
Aside from the various lengths, it also pays to be versed in the various birthstones and their corresponding birth months and semiprecious alternatives.

Making birthstone jewelry is an easy and fun way to personalize a gift and it guarantees an audience for your creations.

FIND YOUR STYLE

The vast range of jewelry-making styles can make even the idea of getting started seem daunting.
Should you start with beaded work? Or is the idea of incorporating leather into pieces more tempting? Are you a fan of the simplicity of metal-worked jewelry, or do you find yourself drawn to the vibrancy of glass beads?
The answer comes down to your style and preference. What style of jewelry do you find yourself wearing time and time again? Looking through your jewelry box is a good place to start. Find which pieces are your favorites and try to discern a common theme among them.
For example, if you like the boldness of statement pieces that involve daring bead choices and cutting-edge color, you will most likely have trouble trying to mimic the minimalist style of metal stamping.
Moreover, why choose to make jewelry you would not want to wear? It is best to choose the style you most enjoy first and dedicate yourself to mastering the ins and outs of that distinct style of jewelry-making before trying to take on another something you are less familiar with.  
After developing one skill, you can always move onto another as your tastes develop and use what you have learned to help you accomplish a new skillset.

CREATE YOUR OWN WORKSPACE

Anyone who has worked from home knows the frustration of not having their own space for taking care of their daily work.
Not only does working in an open area lead to distractions, but it also leads to disorganization. Having your supplies all over the house rather than in one place leads to wasted time and lost supplies.
Set aside a room, corner or even just a desk for yourself and dedicate it to your craft. Keep your space organized with boxes, Tupperware and labels. You can find creative storage ideas online on sites like Pinterest that will suit any needs.
Once you have found an organizational method and developed a crafting schedule, stick to it! Keeping organized will ensure your crafting hobby remains enjoyable and relaxing and doesn’t become another unneeded stressor in your life.

JOIN A CLASS

If you have specific jewelry-making skills in mind that you would like to learn, consider looking into beginner courses for those skills.
Many craft stores and online sites offer fun and interesting courses in general beginner topics as well as in more specific skills, such as metal work, clay metal, soldering, beading courses and resin work.
Classes are also an excellent way to become familiar with basic beginner skills, such as making wire loops and working with jump rings.
As in any industry, networking is essential and classes are an excellent opportunity to meet other jewelry enthusiasts and learn from the best in the industry! There is nothing like learning a skill first-hand from someone with a wealth of knowledge on the topic and building up a network within your hobby will keep you interested and expand your social circle with like-minded people.
With a little dedication, you may be the expert that the beginners are turning to one day.

PERSUE THE WEB FOR INSPIRATION

The internet is an invaluable tool for jewelry makers, whether you are a professional or just starting out. You can use the internet to find supplies online, research new techniques and troubleshoot, search for inspiration and DIYs, market your products and view market trends.
These websites are particularly conducive for jewelry makers of any level.  
  Designinspiration is a social media search engine that is an excellent source of inspiration for anyone in the creative field and an organizational tool for many jewelry makers.
You can use Designinspiration to search for ideas and inspiration for any kind of design. The save feature can be used to make a digital vision board and save images of jewelry and other artwork that inform and inspire your brand.
DIY tutorials and information blogs are also collected and concentrated on the website, and it is an excellent way to instantly refine your search and find only the best and most useful information.
You can also follow the boards and pins of other jewelry makers and brands you admire and see what it is they are focusing on. This helps you keep ahead of the curve and trends in the jewelry industry.
After starting to develop a line of jewelry, you can also use Designinspiration to post photos and advertise information about what you are creating, which makes it an invaluable and free marketing tool.  
  TheBeadTraders.com is an online bead supply source that offers a vast selection of high-quality beads and beading supplies. Their hand-selected inventory of gemstones, pearls and metal beads is available at the click of a button and from the convenience of your own home.
Not only does the site stock an impressive collection of rare gemstones and everyday beads, but they also cater to all of your findings, chain by the foot and finishing needs. Their superior customer service makes for hassle-free transactions and a pleasant buying experience, and their blog is an excellent resource for information about working with specific gemstones and findings. Many of the blogs include DIY projects geared toward beginners and provide inspiration for advanced jewelry makers.    
  It is likely you already use this video-sharing tool to view videos, listen to music or watch television. However, it also serves as a useful tool for creativity due to the millions of free DIYs and tutorials uploaded to the site annually.
YouTube is particularly helpful for beginning jewelry makers or jewelry makers on a budget who are looking to learn new skills before investing in the cost of in-person courses.
However, it is best to remember that quantity does not equal quality. The wealth of information that is available on YouTube is a double-edged sword, and the quality of videos range from very high to extremely low.
Look for jewelry artists who have well-developed channels and who are dedicated to their craft. Once you have found a YouTuber whose content you like and trust, you can subscribe to their feed and never miss an episode.  
  Dotdash.com, like its predecessor About.com, is a collection site that is split between six different topics, each of which is dedicated to teaching users how to accomplish various tasks and crafts.
Thoughtco is the portion of the site that is dedicated to publishing how-tos and articles from experts about any form of crafting, including jewelry-making. It has a collection of tutorials and e-courses for individuals of any experience level.
For more experienced learners, you can even sign up for a direct email newsletter for certain, more directed techniques and skill learning.

DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF

Remember that when it comes to your jewelry-making hobby, there are no limits! Do not limit yourself to one skillset or one style of jewelry if you become interested in another.
Trying new things with your work should not be intimidating. It should be fun! If you stay curious and do not shy away from experimenting with new techniques, sizes, colors and styles, you will be amazed at what you can create.
And who knows–your new jewelry-making hobby might lead to the lifelong practice of creating beautiful jewelry pieces for yourself and others.  

 

Be first to comment

Leave a Reply