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Beading 101: How to Get Started Making Jewelry

There are many benefits to learning how to make your own jewelry. First and foremost, it is fun! Making jewelry is a hobby that allows you to express your creativity in an enjoyable and relaxing way.

Learning how to make jewelry is also practical, and you can learn to make beautiful, handmade and custom pieces for family, friends and, perhaps eventually, potential customers.

Beginning jewelers may not know exactly how to get started in the art of jewelry-making, whether it be for business or pleasure. Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you translate your interest in jewelry-making into a rewarding and lasting endeavor.

Creating high-quality pieces with low-quality tools is difficult for even the most advanced jewelry makers.

The basic, must-have tools that any beginner should have to get started creating their very own beautiful jewelry and beading projects include:

  • Wire Cutters
  • Round-Nose Pliers
  • Flat-Nose Pliers
  • Crimping Pliers
  • A Ruler/Tape Measure
  • A Bead Organizer
  • Adhesive, such as the E-6000
woman using pliers making jewelry

While you may be tempted to scrounge for tools that “sort of” fit the bill in your household toolbox at first, investing in the proper tools will help you turn out better pieces from the get-go.

The cost of high-quality tools more than pays for itself. Purchasing specialty tools may seem like an investment at first, but well-made and designed tools outlast their cheaper counterparts, and you will find that you will have to replace high-quality tools much less frequently.

Not only is having the right beading materials necessary but picking out beads is also one of the most fun parts of getting into jewelry-making and developing your unique style! Some necessary beading materials for beginners include:

  • A Variety of Glass Beads
  • Beading Cord
  • Memory Wire
  • A Beading Needle
  • Earwires
  • Clasps and toggles
  • Headpins and Eyepins
  • Crimp Beads
  • Beading Wire
  • Beading Thread
  • Fire-Polished Beads

While pre-composed bead kits can be convenient, they are not always the most cost-effective choice unless you like and plan to use all the beads included in the kit.

closeup of diy necklace

Gemstones, glass beads and crystal beads offer a more high-end finish for pieces than their cheaper Lucite and plastic options and will fetch a higher price if you plan to sell your creations. Better beads are also longer lasting. Also, invest in a container with compartments to store your beads so they can be sorted by size, bead and color, making them easy to find.

You may have been inspired to start making jewelry by the creative and intricate pieces of other jewelry artists. However, as a beginner, it is best to start small.

There are plenty of free project tutorials available online geared toward those who are just getting started in the art of jewelry-making.

By starting small, you will slowly build up your skill set and abilities, and you will find yourself capable of making the beautiful pieces that inspired your interest in jewelry.

Before making any purchases, it is best to do your research and become familiar with jewelry-making lingo.

Knowing the different purposes of various materials will give you a better idea of what it is that you need for a project and save you the time and expense of returning unnecessary items.

Being familiar with the vernacular will also help you advertise your pieces if you plan to sell them.

For example, various necklace lengths have certain names:

Rope35” and up

Before putting all your time into creating a unique piece of jewelry, it is important to become familiar with standards within the industry. This includes the standard lengths for necklaces, bracelets, chokers and anklets.

Women            MenKidsBaby
Bracelet7”-7 ½”8”-11”5 ½”-6 ½”3 ½”-5”
Anklet9”-9 ½”11”-14”7”-8”4”-4 ½”
industry standard lengths table

With these standard lengths in mind, remember that custom measurements are always best for commissioned pieces.

Aside from the various lengths, it also pays to be versed in the various birthstones and their corresponding birth months and semiprecious alternatives.

MonthPrecious StoneSemiprecious Stone
JanuaryGarnetRose quartz
MarchAquamarineRed jasper
AprilDiamondRock crystal
SeptemberSapphireLapis lazuli
birth month precious and semiprecious stones

Making birthstone jewelry is an easy and fun way to personalize a gift and it guarantees an audience for your creations.

The vast range of jewelry-making styles can make even the idea of getting started seem daunting.

Should you start with beaded work? Or is the idea of incorporating leather into pieces more tempting? Are you a fan of the simplicity of metal-worked jewelry, or do you find yourself drawn to the vibrancy of glass beads?

The answer comes down to your style and preference. What style of jewelry do you find yourself wearing time and time again? Looking through your jewelry box is a good place to start. Find which pieces are your favorites and try to discern a common theme among them.

For example, if you like the boldness of statement pieces that involve daring bead choices and cutting-edge color, you will most likely have trouble trying to mimic the minimalist style of metal stamping.

Moreover, why choose to make jewelry you would not want to wear? It is best to choose the style you most enjoy first and dedicate yourself to mastering the ins and outs of that distinct style of jewelry-making before trying to take on another something you are less familiar with.  

After developing one skill, you can always move onto another as your tastes develop and use what you have learned to help you accomplish a new skillset.

Anyone who has worked from home knows the frustration of not having their own space for taking care of their daily work.

Not only does working in an open area lead to distractions, but it also leads to disorganization. Having your supplies all …