Making jewelry for beginners isn't so hard after learning a few simple jewelry making instructions and tips. Making jewelry is fast becoming the home-based business choice for many crafters. But you don't have to sell your wares to take up jewelry making as a hobby. Beaded, resin and wire jewelry techniques are accessible to beginners and offer intermediate and advanced jewelry makers hundreds of options to take their creative vision to the next level. Whether you're looking to design pieces for your own enjoyment, give as gifts or yes, start your own business, the following tips will help you get started.
Choose a Medium
You probably already have a good idea of what jewelry medium interests you, whether that's beading, wire or crochet jewelry. The next step is determining pieces you'd like to make. Are you interested in making bracelets, making necklaces or making earrings? What about pendants or broaches?
Start from a place of interest and let that be your guide. Think about the jewelry you wear, admire on others and are drawn to in photographs or when you're shopping. Collect images that inspire you when it comes to shape, color and design and keep them in a notebook or binder to refer to as you begin to work.
Look for books or Web sites that focus on the medium and/or techniques that interest you. Many jewelry making Web sites offer jewelry making tips and tutorials for beginners as well as beginner jewelry making kits so you can try your new hobby on for size.
Types of Handcrafted Jewelry
Wire jewelry. Sometimes called wirework, this jewelry-making technique uses various kinds of wire to sculpt jewelry shapes and designs and often incorporates the use of beads or gemstones which are wrapped with wire to hold them in place.
Resin jewelry. Resin jewelry is made from liquid plastic that magically turns solid when a hardener is added. Resin is quite a versatile medium for jewelry. It can be cast into virtually any shape or color, and can also be painted. The popularity of this material for jewelry making has soared with the introduction of easy-to-mix, low-odor products. Resin is being increasingly used by manufacturers to make ethnic fashion jewelry items.
Beaded jewelry. With beaded jewelry, you'll use a needle to string beads onto various kinds of threads, including wire, along with various knotting techniques to secure beads into place. Beginners would do best with kits that provide the complete materials needed for the projects as well as knotting instructions.
String jewelry. Using knotting techniques from macramé and stitches from crochet, jewelry is crafted from materials like hemp and other durable fibers to produce necklaces and bracelets. Beads may also be incorporated into the knotted designs.
Choose a Project
Whenever you start a new hobby, it's tempting to rush out and purchase the full range of materials, tools and supplies you need. Be warned: depending on the type of jewelry you want to make, you could be in for a significant cash investment.
When you're just starting out, stick to small projects in a single medium and take advantage of project kits, especially if they include the tools you'll need. By purchasing kits, you'll steadily build up an inventory of jewelry making products appropriate to your skill level for a cost that is less than purchasing materials a la carte.
Get the Right Tools
Set a budget and stick to it. View your early projects as practice and save your pennies for later when you're ready to move on to intermediate or advanced techniques and want the flexibility to choose your own materials rather than be limited by what comes in kits. Look for bulk deals on necessities like clasps, earring posts, string, wire and adhesives to keep costs down.
Keep a running list of the materials you need for the kinds of pieces you like to make and always have a small stock of supplies on hand so you're not running to the store or placing an order for each project. The medium you choose to work in will determine your supply needs.
Although jewelry making is a great way to express creativity, it can also be a rather precise art. Those on-sale wire cutters you bought at your local craft store may not work as well on heavy gauge wire as lighter gauge. Likewise, the adhesive that works for your earrings may not be the right formula for that mixed-media broach you're designing. Do your research and choose the right tools for each job you need to do. Not only will your jewelry making be a more enjoyable process, but your pieces are less likely to fall apart later.
Jewelry doesn't only take time, energy, and funds: It also takes space. You'll need a space big enough to spread out your work materials, but you'll also need a place to store those materials. If you don't have a work table or other area you can dedicate to your jewelry making, be sure to have plenty of containers on hand to hold your supplies, especially small items like beads that can be easily scattered and lost.
Once you have an idea of the different kinds of jewelry making products on the market and of your interests, it's time to start practicing. Look to books, magazines and online sources for jewelry making tips: Most will have basic beginner exercises to start with, and you can advance through the tutorials as your experience deepens and you grow more comfortable with new techniques.
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