There is plenty of jewelry making tools or kits for beginners on the market, making homemade jewelry has never been simpler. You can even try your hand working with precious metals and gemstones now with the help of a metal jewelry making kit. But then again, before you can make good use of any kits or tools, you need to know what the basic jewelry making tools are for. We’ve created a rundown of the essentials so you can shop for tools with confidence.
Table of Contents
9 Basic Jewelry Making Tools for Beginners
1. Jewelry wire
Jewelry wire is used to bind together materials like beads. The type of wire that you need depends on the hole size of the beads and embellishments that you will be working with. As is the standard with wires and cords, the higher the gauge number, the thinner and more fragile the wire will be.
The 24-gauge jewelry wire is recommended for projects that require more tensile strength – say, for bracelets with heavy gemstones that are set on the precious metal. The 26-gauge jewelry wire, on the other hand, is perfect for average-sized beads.
The wire has to fit the holes of the beads perfectly, so if you need to go middle of the road on this, do it. And finally, there are also the 28-gauge and 30-gauge wires – these are often used in fine jewelry because often, gemstones and other expensive stones only have the smallest holes in them for setting in jewelry.
2. Jeweler’s saw
Among all jewelry making tools, jeweler’s saw is one of the most important tools you will ever hold. Professional jewelers can overuse theirs quite a bit, because it’s so useful. A jeweler’s saw allows the creator to make precise and intricate cuts across a variety of materials.
It is recommended that you lubricate the blade when using it to reduce the risk of chipping it or breaking the blade at any point during work. You only need a little lubricant each time to get a much better experience while cutting with a jeweler’s saw. Also, you may want to experiment with different throat depths to see which one gives you the best experience, too.
3. Disk punch
You can use a disc punch to punch out different shapes accurately, and for semi-mass production. Simply place the sheet of metal between the handle and the base, and voila, you can punch out as many shapes as you want. Using a brass hammer helps create the shapes quickly and effortlessly, too.
This is a very simple tool, but one that you will be using frequently regardless of the type of design you are working on, or what materials you have chosen for your jewelry.
Pick a graphing ruler so you can more easily visualize what you are doing while at the work table. A graphing ruler can also help with an estimate of the distances and scale of the parts of the jewelry, too.
5. Dummy materials
Dummy materials are inexpensive practice materials that you can use while still practicing your designs. Trust us, you wouldn’t want to use real gold wire or chains if you have never worked with such a precious metal before. The same goes for sterling silver if you want to create fancy designs with it. A base metal wire is fine for practicing your designs and you can make as many mistakes as you want with such material without breaking the bank.
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6. Flush cutter
A Flush cutter is basically a pair of pliers that can cut through thick sheaths of wire effortlessly. While it’s true that other pliers have a section dedicated to cutting wire, having a separate flush cutter really takes away the difficulty in cutting bundles of wire in a uniform manner. Loose ends are definitely a problem when making jewelry, so using the right cutting implement is imperative.
A wire cutter (industrial design) is different from the smaller and sharper wire cutter used by jewelers specifically to cut wires for jewelry. We recommend that you get both types of cutters just to see which ones serve you the best. Wire cutters look like pliers, but often have a blunt tip and several gauge markings along its body to indicate where you should place the wire to be cute. A wire cutter can also double serve as a wire stripper (used in electrical work).
8. Nylon-tipper pliers
We love nylon-tipped pliers because they are designed to grip small wires and not let go. Nothing could be more frustrating than exerting all that effort into beading a bracelet or necklace nicely, only to find out that all your other pliers can’t grip the smooth wire.
Nylon-tipped plier will hold on and allow you to pull the wire through with zero fuss. Plus they’re small and they fit quite easily into anyone’s hands. ‘
9. Round-nosed pliers
Round-nose pliers are best used for creating loops and bends in the wire. This is especially important if you are into metal wires and beadwork with precious stones. The gemstones and other embellishments would have to be secured with the loops and folds in the wire itself.
Tips For Novice Jewelers
- Invest some time in mastering the basic skills needed to manipulate your materials. For example, find a way to practice working with jump rings, and forming loops with as little damage as possible to the metal wire.
- Collect high-quality tools so you aren’t frustrated with the results. While you can order a jewelry-making kit online, these kits may not provide everything you need to get good results. You will still eventually have to buy better tools.
- Visit crafts and supplies stores frequently and slowly build up your inventory of supplies for jewelry making.
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