Monday, April 11, 2011

Jewelry Making 101: The Tools

sweater & shorts: thrifted, shoes: so ancient I don't remember
pink sparklies & black watch
Today's outfit was thrown on to go the grocery for milk. Nothing special, but pretty comfy. I've had the pink Keds since high school. Ironically, in view of today's post, none of my jewelry is diy. Sorry about that.  Anyway, enough about today's boring clothes, let's get on to the good stuff.

Jewelry Making 101 - The Tools
Tools: bead board, pliers (bent, round nose, & needle nose), tweezers, wire cutters
To start out with basic jewelry making you will need a few tools. Most of them can be found relatively inexpensively at a hobby store or Walmart. If you are going to do a big order, the best online source I have found is Fire Mountain Gems (you can also order one of their incredible catalogs). I got my bead board at Walmart and it is the best one I have used - much better design that the huge one I used to have.

Basic Tools:
    * Bead-board - this is for laying out your bead design. You can make jewelry without one, but a bead-board makes it much easier. This one has space to design up to a three strand necklace and a separate place at the top for laying out bracelets. I got mine at Walmart.
     * Needle nose pliers - the ones I have are pretty small - you will be working with some tiny beads and findings, so the smaller the better. I have had these for so long, that I have no idea where I got them.
     * Bent needle nose pliers - you will need at least two pairs of pliers and these are the others that are pretty important. Because the nose is bent you can get into really small areas. I think I got mine at Hobby Lobby.
     * Round nose pliers - these are very important if you are going to be working with wire at all. If you won't be using wire, then you can leave these out. Once again, I think these came from Hobby Lobby.
     *Wire Cutters - these are for cutting more than just wire, you'll need them for cutting tiger tail and trimming headpins. (we'll cover all the findings next time). Invest in the best pair you can afford - otherwise you'll be replacing them all the time. I would recommend going to a hardware store and finding some there. I think I stole mine from the Beloved's tool box.
     *Storage - you will need some kind of storage option for beads and findings. There are plenty of options out there, both specifically for bead storage and for other things. I used to have one of those drawer organizers from the hardware department. Now I just use ice trays. Random and weird, yes, but they work and I had them handy. I keep everything together in a plastic storage bin because I have a toddler. Everything has to be put away before he gets up in the morning.

There are plenty of other options as far as tools and storage, these are only the basics. If you are beginning or want to start jewelry making, these are the minimum requirements, so to speak.

Hope this was helpful. Next time we'll start talking about findings and beads. Eventually we'll get to a tutorial on putting it all together. 

Have a great night ya'll!

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