It can be hard to know where to start with jewellery making but these beginner tips should give you a good guide.
1. Choose what type of jewellery interests you most
It can be daunting when you first decide you want to become a jewellery maker or hobbyist.
You don’t expect to learn how to crochet, knit, hand-sew, quilt, and embroider all in one go and similarly it’s unrealistic to try to attempt every type of jewellery making when you’re beginning. Instead, pick one type you’re most drawn to and go from there.
Perhaps you like wearing metal jewellery, wired jewellery, pearls or maybe you love beaded jewellery. Maybe you want to work with leather, clay, or glass.
We recommend you choose one medium to focus on first, as you can always add other elements down the track… you may even find that the skills you are learning will complement each other and you’ll learn a new technique faster because of existing knowledge.
2. Master a few basic skills
Whether you’re planning on working with beads, clay metal, or another type of jewellery first, there are a few skills you’re going to want to know for just about every project you make.
Most projects, for example, will require that you have a basic knowledge of how to open and close a jump ring properly and form a simple wire loop.
Once you master these skills, they transfer to whatever type of project you’re creating.
3. Invest in good quality tools
For your first attempt, it may work okay to just “borrow” the wire cutters and pliers from your household toolbox. But the reality is, the better the tools you have to work with, the easier the process will be and the better your project will turn out.
At first, it may seem like a bit of an investment, particularly when it comes to specialty tools like metal stamps, etc., but in the long run, they more than pay for themselves when you’re able to create rather than buy your jewellery as well as make jewellery to give as gifts and/or sell to others.
4. Learn the terminology
What’s the difference between a head pin and an eye pin? Is 12-gauge wire thicker or thinner than 20-gauge wire? And what are “findings” anyway? You’re going to need to know!
Before you purchase anything, make sure you know what it is that you need. It’ll save you the time, expense, and frustration of having to return and exchange the wrong items.
5. Get your hands on some jewellery supplies
There are countless options for where to purchase jewellery making supplies. Online shops such as AJS and WFT have large inventories, and you can also always find just about anything you’re looking for on Etsy.
But we suggest you visit local stores and get your hands on some supply products and familiarize yourself with them. Later, once you get into a groove and know what you like working with, go for the ease of ordering online, but we still personally love the experience of seeing things for ourselves before we buy.
6. Have an organized, dedicated workspace
There’s nothing more frustrating for a crafter than having random supplies just about everywhere. If you can’t find what you need, you waste precious time that you could use for creating.
Choose a room of the house or at least a certain table, desk, drawer, etc. that you can devote just to your hobby. Once you have it, sort your supplies and label them. There are all kinds of jewellery making storage ideas like inexpensive bins and boxes you can get that already have dividers in them to easily store various beads, findings, and more.
Figure out a system that works for you and stick with it. That way you’ll always know what you have and it’ll be at arm’s reach when inspiration strikes.
7. Check Pinterest and blogs for inspiration
Sometimes a great idea for a new jewellery piece will just come into your mind. But more often than not, when it comes to making jewellery, we get inspired by what we see.
Check out the jewellery for sale in your favourite clothing and accessory stores. Browse around on Pinterest. Find a few favourite bloggers whose style you like and check out their jewellery archives.
8. Take a class
Is there something specific you want to learn? Take a class and let an experienced instructor walk you through the process!
9. Don’t get discouraged
Like any other skill, making your own jewellery has a learning curve. The first wire loop you try to create is going to look like a hot mess. And that’s ok! Because the second one will look better and by the tenth one you’ll feel like a pro. Don’t let one difficult or failed project ruin your enthusiasm. Just keep trying, keep practicing, and remember that all skills take time to develop.
10. Take risks!
Don’t be intimidated to try a particular skill because you think it looks or sounds difficult.
Also, don’t limit yourself to a certain style, colour, or size of the jewellery. Play around with your supplies, try new things, and see how you like them!
Experiment with different materials and see what happens. Good luck as you embark on this fun new hobby or career change!