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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jewelry Basics: Tools and Findings

I recently received an email from Kalie that asked me for some advice on how to get started making jewelry- tools, materials, etc. I have decided to make a mini series out of this question. Today I will be talking about the tools and materials (called 'findings' in the jewelry world). I have also been working on some necklaces that use basic techniques. These will be featured in upcoming tutorials. For now,  I am going to link to items in my Etsy shop to show examples of jewelry that can be made with some of the materials.

I will be posting the links to the websites where these photos came from. Many of them are from However, the prices on are higher than my local craft store. You can get even better deals if you use coupons, which places like Michaels offer all the time.

I usually use Blue Moon or Jewelry Designer for my projects, but I am sure that any brand will do.


The first thing you need to make jewelry is a set of tools. This is the set that I have. They have worked really well for me. The three I use the most are the wire cutters, round nose pliers, and bent pliers.


Eye pins are essential for making necklaces that link together like this one or dangly earring like these.


Head pins are needed for jewelry like these pearl necklaces.


Jump rings are needed to attach clasps, hook eye pins together, attach chain, etc.


Chain is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to jewelry making. Besides all of the obvious uses, I like to use it on a long beaded necklace to make them weigh less. Meaning, rather than having the beads go all the way around my neck, I use chain on the back so I get the look of a beaded necklace but it isn't as heavy.

These are lobster clasps, but there are a lot of different kind of clasps you can buy. Choose whatever kind you like.

Tiger tail is a flexible wire for stringing beads. You can use it for pendants too. This is an example. This is the best thing to buy if you want to make strung bracelets like this.


Crimp beads are needed to get the clasps to stay on the tiger tail. It won't work without them.


Obviously, a necessity for making earrings. If you are like me and don't have pierced ears, it's also possible to get clip on findings.

And of course you need beads!

I hope this was helpful. Tutorials to come soon.


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