Jewelry Blog

Top 10 Beginner Jewelry Making Tips

Making your own jewelry is not only a fun and addictive hobby, it also has the added benefit that you get to wear what you create! However, many people don’t really know where to start.

Here are 10 simple tips to get you started with beginner jewelry making.

FREE Download: A Beginner Jewelry Making Guide

Jewelry Making for Beginners: Top Tips From the Pros

Find inspiring photos and expert jewelry making tips from pros in this FREE PDF guide, available exclusively on Craftsy!Get My FREE Guide »

1. Choose what type of jewelry interests you most.

Wirework bracelet

It can be really overwhelming when you first decide you want to try your hand at making jewelry because there’s such a broad range of possibilities! Just as you wouldn’t expect to learn to crochet, knit, hand-sew, quilt, and embroider all at once, it’s unrealistic to try to tackle every type of jewelry making when you’re first starting out. Instead, choose one kind you’d like to make first and go from there.

Perhaps you like wearing beaded jewelry best, or maybe you prefer the simple look and personalization of metal stamped jewelry. Maybe you want to work with leather, clay or glass. Choose one medium to focus on first, knowing that you can always try something else later… and in fact, the skills may even build on each other and you’ll have an easier time learning a new technique because of what you can already do!

2. Master a few basic skills.

Stacked Copper Rings

Whether you’re planning on working with beads, clay metal, or another type of jewelry 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. But in the long run they more than pay for themselves when you’re able to create rather than buy your jewelry as well as make jewelry to give as gifts and/or sell to others. Once you have the necessary tools in your stash, it’s usually very inexpensive to make any particular piece.

Blow torching a ring

4. Learn the terminology.

What’s the difference between and 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. There are lots of great resources to help you, like this beginner’s guide to working with wire or this basic intro to metal stamping

5. Get your hands on some supplies, literally.

There are countless options for where to purchase jewelry making supplies. Online shops like Goody Beads, Lima Beads and P&J Tool Supply have wide inventories, and you can also always find just about anything you’re looking for on Etsy.

Before you choose your favorite online vendors, though, I’d encourage you to find a local craft store and literally get your hands on some of these tools and supplies. Look at them, touch them and choose exactly what you want.

I’ve ordered things before that ended up being not at all what I expected just because of my lack of experience. For example, I didn’t have a concept of what a 4 mm bead really looked like, so when I ordered a whole pack and they showed up, I was shocked at how tiny they were. Go get your hands on some things and familiarize yourself with them.

Later, once you get into a groove and know what you like working with, by all means go for the ease of ordering online, but I still personally love the experience of seeing things for myself before I buy.

6. Have and organize a dedicated work space.

There’s nothing more frustrating for a crafter (or their family!) than having random supplies strewn 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 or drawer — that you can devote just to your hobby. Once you have it, sort your supplies and label, label, label. There are all kinds of jewelry 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!

Resin Jewelry Collage

7. Scour the web for inspiration.

Sometimes a great idea for a new jewelry piece will just come into my mind. But more often than not, when it comes to making jewelry, I get inspired by what I see.

Look all around you for inspiration. Check out the jewelry for sale in your favorite clothing and accessory stores. Browse around on Pinterest. Find a few favorite bloggers whose style you like and check out their jewelry archives. And, of course, search right here on Craftsy for ideas! There are over 2100 bracelet projects on here alone, not to mention that there are over 11,000 total jewelry projects including necklaces, earrings and more.

Sometimes, you’ll find a great tutorial that you want to follow step by step, or you may just find something that appeals to you and you want to tweak the colors, size, or style a bit to suit your own preferences.

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! You’re already in the right place. Craftsy offers all kinds of classes, some of which are even free, where you can learn a variety of jewelry making skills. You can take a basic beginner level class or choose a course about a specific technique like wire wrapping, working with resin, or soldering. You might also be able to find a class at your local craft or specialty bead store where you can learn in person.

Wirework Gold Bracelet

9. Don’t get discouraged.

Like any other skill, making your own jewelry 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. I always love having the opportunity to let friends play around with my metal stamping tools and see just how easy it is to create their own personalized pieces. So many folks are intimidated by the idea, but with the right tools, they’re amazed what they can do!

Also, don’t limit yourself to a certain style, color or size of jewelry. Play around with your supplies, try new things and see how you like them! Experiment with different materials and see what happens. Some of my favorite pieces are things I wasn’t even sure I’d like when I started making them. The sky’s the limit…reach for it!

Good luck as you embark on this fun new hobby. Once you start, you’ll quickly see that it’s totally addictive! Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! Be sure to submit your own jewelry creations right here on Craftsy too so we can see what you made!

FREE Download: A Beginner Jewelry Making Guide

Jewelry Making for Beginners: Top Tips From the Pros

Find inspiring photos and expert jewelry making tips from pros in this FREE PDF guide, available exclusively on Craftsy!Get My FREE Guide »

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2015 and was updated in February 2018.

25 Comments

Iris

how do you measure strands to make a double strand necklace- thank you- Iris

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Mrs A Hackney

Please what do you called the tool ( like a jewellery clamp) but no idea what is it clled in j”ewellery making terms” ….on this page picture that is below the “impress art” HAMMER…
I would like to order one myself…. Thanks…..

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Amy Latta

Oh, that’s actually a hole punch. You place a blank in there, twist, and it makes a hole for a jump ring or a rivet. It’s available on goodybeads.com. The two sides make two different sized holes.

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Tracy Boddie

I have never made any kind of jewelry but have been thinking about trying a few leather & beaded bracelets that I saw on Pinterest. What would be the “first” tools and supplies I would need to help me get started?

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Lisa Garber

Good tips, many people are interested in making their own jewelry, but they don’t know how. This is really helpful, must share!

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amy@oneartsymama

Thanks, Lisa! Glad you enjoyed it; thanks for sharing!

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Sarah Merrill

Hi and thanks for the great tips, and also for the free tutorials. I have a much clearer understanding of a technique that I am shown, since I have used books to teach myself most of the basics. I have a question, I have been making jewelry for 5 years now and i have gotten very discouraged the last while. I have noticed that my pieces have been deteriorating. I buy the quality I can afford, but every type of wire has tarnished or irritates my skin after a little time. I have asked some etsy sellers what kind of silver wire is actually high quality? But I was told it’s very expensive and. Do you have any ideas for keeping the metals in good shape? Do you have a place that is affordable and has high quality stuff? Also how can you tell if you have crappy wire? It’s labeled silver jewelry wire so i think it should stay useful for more than a year or so. Thanks again and sorry for the long note.. Sarah

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Camelia

Sarah, first you need to figure out what kind of “silver” wire you’re using: sterling silver, fine silver, argentium, silver-filled, silver-plated… Silver is very generic… Little more info to explain why this is important: pure silver is found in the form of wire or sheet and findings under the name “fine silver” and it is pure silver. The problem with it is that fine silver is too soft for most applications in jewelry that will be submitted to wear and tear, like rings, so it’s more common to use sterling silver, which is an alloy, usually made of 925 parts pure silver (hence the “925” marking) and 75 other metals, usually copper. The copper is used so that the resulting alloy will be a bit harder and more resistant than just pure silver. The downside with using copper is that sterling silver will oxidate (change its colour), but that doesn’t mean that it is toxic or that it should irritate your skin, unless you’re one of those rare people who are allergic to most metals…
Silver filled is actually not really silver entirely, it’s just some other metal, like copper or brass, that is then covered with a layer of sterling silver. Silver plated is esentially the same as silver filled, except that the plated one is covered with a thinner layer of sterling silver. The problem with silver filled or plated is that the thin layer of silver eventually wears off, leaving exposed the core metal. So if it’s this type of wire that you usually use, it can be that you’re allergic to whatever metal the core of the wire is made of.
To be on the safe side, you should make sure you buy sterling silver or Argentium silver (another alloy with silver and germanium usually, which doesn’t tarnish). One other thing I can recommend is to make sure you buy your wire from a well-known supplier, I buy mine from Rio Grande and I know that what I get is really sterling silver.
And make sure you keep your jewelry clean from dust, not touching it when you know your hands are not very clean, because accumulated dust, oils and dirt in general will of course irritate your skin. This is something we don’t usually think about so much, but if we wash our clothes and other things that come into contact with our skin, why not clean the jewelry, too? You can find a lot of cleaning solutions for silver, non toxic ones that will also not damage your stones, I use for example something called QuickBrite, I also bought it from Rio Grande. Or sometimes just a mild soap with lukewarm water will go a long way, too. Hope it helps.

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Toni Maresca Charpentier

I have a similar issue but the bracelets were made with elastic. I have many stored in the little plastic pouches sold with the beading supplies. The pouches are stored in boxes. I went through them and many are apart with beads loose in the bags. The boxes are not moved or disturbed, totally stationary. Any idea jow this happened? Am I storing properly? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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depika

As you may know , elastic bracelets are not a very good candidates for long term. They will stretch out over time. If you are keeping them undisturbed in a plastic pouch they will still
loose their elasticity and separate. Just enjoy them by wearing and be prepared to restring them very often.Thanks. Hope this helps.

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Lillian Moore

I love the suggestion to invest in good quality tools. I can see how they could seem like a bit of an investment, but I totally agree that in the long run they more than pay for themselves. For most of my craft projects, I like to use the metal stamps to add my insignia to the edge of a piece. It is fun for me to have my own line of jewelry to gift and sell to others. I really appreciate the tips. They definitely coincide with my current techniques and preferences.

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Bharath Narasiman

Can truly relate and retain this outstanding post. Very well written.

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Skylar Williams

I have come to the conclusion that buying jewelry is much too expensive. I’ve been looking into making something myself. One benefit is that it can be a fun hobby. I’ve thought of rubber O-rings as a material. I wonder how I can spice them up.

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Myriam

Great stuff! I make my own jewelry too and know how much fun it is!
-Myriam

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jessica

Great Information! Will try the same thing at home.

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Olawale Philip

Great tips for beginners. Thanks. Can you suggest any training institute one can learn how to become a jeweler

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Yvette K

I have been making vintage and silverware jewelry. I’m having problems with the jump rings pulling apart from the chain and/ or charms. What am I doing wrong? Should I be soldering them? Thank you

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Jack Titchener

I would love to learn more about working with resin or soldering. I’ve been thinking about making my own jewelry, but since I’m new to this, I would need to learn some basic skills like wire wrapping. Thank you for the helpful jewelry tips!

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Sarah

I found some new bench/tool tips. These are great tips for experienced and newbies. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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Tiffany Locke

I like that you mention how there are many online vendors that can help you get some of the necessary tools and supplies. I also like your advice to first visit a local store in order to look at and touch the beads, jewels, and other items to figure out what you like. Once you’ve done this, it would probably be a good idea to start getting ideas for jewelry by drawing pieces and seeing how the different supplies look together. Once you’ve done this, it would probably be a good idea to then figure out which online suppliers you like best so that you can ensure they’re able to provide you with the items you need to create the jewelry you want to.

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Elsa Leena

It is worth guide who loves to do something unique. Moreover, Jewelry is very popular part of fashion life. Thanks #Amy Latta to share your knowledge. I will follow this at home 🙂

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David Mike

Nice post with a lot of important points. Thanks for sharing with us.

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Vicky Allen

Great post, such a great hobby. and can turn into a great side business. Best best part is the satisfaction of creating a beautiful piece with you own hands and someone appreciating your work. So many artist with so much creativity. Keep up the great work and never give up on your dreams. Going to share on social media.

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Maya

I love this posting and have come back to it a few times just for a boost when I’m feeling discouraged or frustrated.
Great thoughts for beginners or “old pros.”
For newbies, your tools are ABSOLUTELY an investment. Just like any other hobby or activity, you’re going to have to spend money to get yourself started. It’s ok to start with something cheaper at the beginning until you are sure of your interest, but after that please be aware that you get what you pay for. Remember, too, to think of comfort. You’ll be using these tools a LOT. 🙂

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Brigit

Love your tips and am looking forward to putting my design ideas into actual pieces. I do have one question though that I can’t seem to find a good answer to.
I just made a tree of life pendant but have many sharp ends on the back side that would scratch the skin. I made a the same one but with the ends on the front but it isn’t pretty and still scratches fingers if you touch it. How do you finish wire ends professionally so they look nice and don’t scratch the skin?

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