Jewelry Making 101

Good morning and Happy Memorial Day! As I sail the Caribbean Sea, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to have easy access to Internet and technology, or would I want to, so I got this post ready for you as a resource in your own jewelry making endeavors. Most of what I know about beading has been through a self-teaching process. Looking at pieces and wondering how they came together, experimenting with new finds from the craft store, browsing here and there through books and manuals, but mostly just getting my hands dirty, so to speak. I wanted to share with you some of the basic tools and techniques I use for making bead jewelry.

Tools.

The most common tools I use are the round nose pliers (for making eyepins, jump rings, etc), the flat nose pliers (for bending wire, opening jump rings, holding anything small) and the crimping pliers (for crimping). There are a million gazillion more tools out there, but these are the ones I use. Most pliers come with a wire cutter, making it super easy to make cuts in a snap.

Favorite Jewelry Tools

Findings.

These are pretty much every other thing you need other than beads. Again, there’s a sea of findings out there, but here’s the ones I always keep on hand.

  • beading wire: necklaces, bracelets
  • crimp beads: makes and end to the wire
  • crimp covers: pretty much a decorative cover for the crimp bead
  • jump rings: attached anything together, links
  • clasps: finishes necklaces or bracelets
  • ear wire: base for earrings
  • eyepins: beading connectors
  • headpin: beading ends

Favorite Jewelry Findings

Now let’s talk about how to use all of these.

Crimping.

First, cut wire to desired length. Thread a crimp bead and a jump ring through. Take the wire back through the crimp bead, making a loop.

How to attach crimp beads

Place the crimp bead in the innermost channel of the crimping pliers (kinda looks like an U) and press to make indentation. Move the crimp to the outermost channel of the plier (which looks like a circle) and press, basically folding the crimp in half. If wanted, you can close is tighter by carefully pressing with flat nose pliers. Crimp done!

Crimp Beads

Next, grab the crimp cover with the pliers, place crimped bead inside and close shut.

Crimp Covers

To open the jump ring, hold with two flat nose pliers and pull in opposite direction. You want to make a spiral here. Never open a jump ring outward since you’ll loose the circular shape. Once open, insert clasp and close jump ring with pliers.

Jump Rings 101

Another thing I like to do, which is complete personal preference, is to press the jump ring a little with my crimping pliers to make it into an oval shape, with the seam on the longer side. This just prevents the small wire to be in the opening just in case it gets pulled or the jump ring becomes a little loose.

Oval Jump Ring

Eyepins and Headpins. Basically you use a headpin as the end of a piece or as a hanging element vs the eyepin which is used as a conncetion.

Eyepins and Headpins

Headpins.

Pretty simple. Place bead(s) in eyepin, bend wire at the edge of beads and cut excess wire. How much, depends on the circle you want to make. All I can say is: practice makes perfect.

Headpins

With the round nose pliers, grab the edge of the wire and bend around the pliers with a rotating motion until loop forms. Remove pliers and done.

Finishing a headpin loop

Eyepins.

Same thing, different object. Bead, bend, cut, loop, done.

Eyepin

You could also make your own eyepins. Just grab a piece of remnant wire and loop around the round nose pliers.

Making an eyepin

Bend straight end back in the opposite direction and tighten with the lip provided in the tool. Pretty easy.

Finish an eyepin

Treat eyepins the same as jump rings, always open by twisting in opposite directions rather than opening circle up.

Hope you found these simple techniques helpful! Come back Wednesday and Friday for quick projects on how to use them.

Have a great week!

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