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Jewelry Making 101: Tools and Materials

By: Catherine Fox

Jewelry making supplies are more than just beads and findings. Learn about all of the different tools and materials you'll need to get started making beaded jewelry with this guide and video.

Tools:

  • Long-nose pliers
  • Round-nose pliers
  • Side cutters (a.k.a. wire cutters)
  • Crimping pliers
  • A couple of beading needles (they come in little packs.)
  • A good ruler (so you can see the numbering easily)
  • A beading dish (you don't need to spend the money on fancy beading trays. All you need right now are some plastic lids or a shallow dish.)
    *Hint: You can usually find a set of pliers at a great price. You don't need to spend a whole lot on pliers when you are just beginning.

Materials:

  • Beading wire: There are many different brands of beading wire, but all you need to look for is the number of strands as well as the diameter of the wire. When I started beading, I used a 7-strand beading wire. To be completely honest, I became frustrated with it. I would highly recommend you start out with at least a 21-strand beading wire that is about .019” in diameter. I recommend purchasing a couple spools and the color should be something neutral like silver.
     
  • Beading thread: A spool of black and a spool of white is all you need. I like to use Nymo thread.
     
  • Crimping beads: 1mm and 2mm crimp beads are what I usually use.
     
  • Crimp covers: These are optional. I find that they come in handy to keep the wire end from hitting against the skin. They also make your jewelry look more professionally finished.
     
  • Jump rings: I like to use 5mm jump rings.
     
  • Clasps: Spring ring clasps are a good choice for both necklaces and bracelets. Lobster claw clasps are nice, but I usually don't like to use them for necklaces.
     
  • Chain tabs: These are used on the opposite side of the clasp. These have two openings, one at either end. The small opening is for you to attach your beaded work. The other opening is for the clasp to hook onto.
     
  • Bead tips: These are used for finishing jewelry strung on beading thread. I like to use the bottom clamp on bead tips.
     
  • Ear wires: If you are interested in making earrings, you must have ear wires! Just find a value pack of ear wires to start out with and soon you'll find out what kind of ear wires are your favorite.
     
  • Headpins: These are a necessity when making earrings. Just string a few beads onto a headpin, make a loop on the top, attach to your ear wire, and you have a beautiful earring!
     

 

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