Getting Started

Getting started in jewellery making couldn’t be easier.  The question is: what results do you want to see when you first start?  Quite simply, you can pick up some cheap beads and some thread or cord, depending on the hole size of the beads, and start work.  You’ll probably be working with pony beads or wooden beads, if you take the easiest route.  You can certainly create some attractive things with these, but they won’t, of course, have a crystal lustre or the weight and style of gemstones, or even some more “serious” manmade beads.  Mostly, you’ll be able to make bracelets or necklaces.  I’m sorry to say it, and I don’t want to come across as a jewellery making snob, but it’s not really serious jewellery making – it’s more accessory making.  You can make things that will look good and work well with the most casual look.  Generally speaking, you’re unlikely to make something you’d be truly happy to wear to some special event, such as a wedding or a romantic dinner out!

So, where do we go from here?  Personally, I’d say that you will need to start with a certain minimum of items: a good pair of pliers; some good quality seed beads, crystals, or even gemstone chips; some nylon thread or beading wire (such as Tiger Tail, which is nylon covered steel, with various numbers of strands bound together to achieve the size or gauge); a mixture of findings, such as ear wires, clasps and jump rings; and a fairly soft cloth to act as a makeshift bead mat.  Oh yes, you’ll also need some scissors! [In the UK, I would seriously recommend the small tool kit sold by JewelleryMaker.com!  It’s inexpensive, good quality, and will serve you well as your skill set increases!]

The simplest  jewellery consists of threading beads onto some kind of stringing material.  That sounds simple.  Well, in essence, it is, but in fact you’ll quickly discover that some things look good and some don’t!  Some colours mix well (sometimes unexpectedly!) and some look awful together.  Sometimes, crystals can get lost in  a mass of other beads, making it pointless including them.  There are times when necklaces refuse to lie right, or other items just feel uncomfortable.  Sizing can be less simple than it would appear, too.  Quite simply, some guidance in those first steps is really essential!  There are numerous sites offering basic tips and Youtube is crammed with videos demonstrating basic techniques.  Failing that, there are, of course, books.  Best of all is finding a local group of beaders who welcome beginners!  Being shown directly, by somebody willing to sit beside you, is better than any other alternative!

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