Like many other DIY projects, making homemade jewelry has now become easier than ever with bead kits for jewelry making, DIY jewelry kit, professional jewelry making kit, and metal jewelry making kit that you can easily buy online.
Homemade jewelry can be made from a variety of materials, from non-metals to actual silver chains. In today’s blog, we’re going to provide a primer for those interested in trying homemade jewelry making, so you will know what you are getting into.
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Jewelry making actually involves dozens of different steps and skills that may not be apparent to the untrained eye, because the object of the work is often small, like pairs of earrings, or bracelets. If you are working with metals, you will mainly be using tools like wire cutters, flat-nosed pliers, and the like.
Pliers help you manipulate metal poles and rods and allow you to shape the metal as you please. There is actually nothing ‘basic’ with the process of making jewelry because working with small wires requires utmost dexterity and patience. Below are some of the common tools and what they are for:
- Round nosed pliers
Round nosed pliers are used mainly for looping and hooping wires, as well as bending wire. These are also useful when you are affixing clasps and fixing jump rings. Jewelers typically use round nose pliers when there is a need for a controlled and smooth curve in the metal.
- Nylon-tipped pliers
These pliers are designed to grab and not let go. Beadwork can get frustrating sometimes with regular metal pliers, so if you’re feeling like throwing away your beadwork because of the pliers, reach for a pair of nylon-tipped pliers, instead.
- Wire cutters
Wire cutters look exactly like pliers until you get to the head. The head is comprised of cutting levers (like scissors) that are designed to withstand the hardness of metal wires so you can snip them apart like cotton threads.
- Flush cutter
A flush cutter is used to cut multiple threads of wire with ease. However, we have to warn you about overdoing it as cutting metal that is too thick can damage the cutting edge of your flush cutter, which would make a perfectly good tool a lot less reliable.
While not exactly tools, you will be working with wires a lot so you might as well familiarize yourself with them. 24-gauge wires are perfect for projects that have larger and heavier beads. These will hold the beads in place easily, and you won’t have to worry about bracelets and other pieces of jewelry becoming deformed.
26-gauge wires are commonly used for most beaded projects. The great thing about the 26-gauge wire is you can use it for wrapping designs without deforming or weakening it, and it is also still thin enough for average-side beads. We recommend that you avoid crimping it too many times as this can weaken the wire and cause it to break. Once the wire breaks, you will have to rewire your jewelry.
28-gauge wires and 30-gauge wires are used mainly for gemstone projects. The reason for this is that gemstones (precious and semiprecious stones) are often drilled with very small holes, so it might be challenging to use 24-gauge or 26-gauge wires as they may not fit. Use higher gauge wires if you need to wire-wrap precious stones. However, you need to be extra careful with your hand movements as these wires tend to break more easily.
For folks who would like to bring their jewelry making game to the next level, know that there are now mass-produced laser cutting and laser engraving machines that can be purchased online. The advantages of using laser machines are:
- Precision – You will get the exact design on the metal every time.
- Quality – Laser-cut or laser-engraved metals are cut with perfection, leaving a finish that looks truly professional.
- Speed – If you are thinking of producing dozens of pieces of the same design, a laser engraver or laser cutting machine can help produce identical designs in record time. No muss, no fuss – just great designs on each piece of jewelry.
Of course, in the beginning, not everyone would be willing to purchase such a machine especially if they’re just starting out. Many of you are here mainly to learn about the many manual techniques that are still being used widely in many parts of the world in creating quality jewelry.
For folks who aren’t using wires in the beginning because they’re not that confident yet, we recommend that you practice knotting first. Materials like leather cords and cotton threads can be used for non-metal jewelry, and these would require some expert knotting so you can execute the designs well.
Square knots and overhand knots are often used for braiding and weave, as well. Additional knots that are useful for making homemade jewelry are the surgeon’s knot, the half knot, and what they call the lark’s head knot. All of these knots can be used for making remarkable bracelets and necklaces with pendants. As for the pendant itself, you can use laminated pendants, semiprecious stones, etc.
If you are interested in beading, you need to familiarize yourself with the different bead types, bead sizes, wire requirements, bead shapes, and basically everything that has to do with how beads are manufactured and what suits them the best when you’re adding them to jewelry.
Beading without thread requires special skills with the metal wires, so be sure to study the technique first and use the right type of tools so you don’t accidentally cut the wire that you are working with.
For folks who want more complicated designs with a wider dimension, you may want to try using a jewelry loom. Jewelry looms help DIY jewelers create perfect bands of beads while securing every layer.