So you want to make a piece of jewelry for yourself, huh? That’s wonderful! My first tip is going to be something that should be obvious but you might not consider: don’t be too ambitious. I mean, make something simple, like a classic single strand beaded necklace or some simple earrings first. Get a feel for where your talents lie and your natural skills. I highly recommend taking a class or two before you start working on your own, but at the very least read a book at your local library or watch some youtube videos first.
There are lots of different techniques out there, from metal stamping, to beading, to intricate wire work. Think about what types of jewelry you like. Look at bead stores online or visit craft stores and see what inspires you. Then you’ll have a direction to go in and it will also give you an idea of what tools you are going to need. Jewelry making requires quite a few tools, most of which are pliers!
Learn some basic techniques before you start. The first thing you need to figure out is how to make a jump ring. A jump ring is one of those little circles with the small opening that you see on just about every single piece of jewelry you own. They attach charms and pendants, you can use them to make chains, and they can be used as clasps. There are great videos and websites out there to guide you in this process, as it is a little too long to write up here and it’s better with visuals. Another helpful thing to learn is how to make a wire loop. Keep practicing, and you’ll get it down pretty well. This is a perfect skill to have if you want to make pendants, charms, or drop earrings.
Next, before you make your jewelry, do not forget to measure! Make sure that you know how long you want the finished piece, and cut your materials accordingly. If you don’t know the proper length, you can find charts online, or you can measure some of your own pieces that you like the fit or length of.
I also can’t stress enough the idea of finishing your pieces. If you’re using any metal or wire, be sure to finish the edges so they aren’t sharp or raw looking, and polish any visible metal surfaces (stones, too, for that matter). This will really make your piece go from looking homemade to a quality handmade piece.
Lastly, remember that you’re learning. Be patient with yourself and keep trying. The first piece you make is probably not going to look as pretty as you hoped it would. That’s OK. Try again. The next piece you make will look better. The more you practice, the better things will look. Eventually you will start to be proud of your craft, and you’ll laugh at how hard something like a wire loop felt!