If you’re just starting out with jewelry making, beading might not be the place you think to start. You may be surprised to learn that beaded jewelry can be easy, as long as you have the right tools and guidance.
That’s where we come in. Learn some of our beading for beginners tips, like the right supplies to purchase, best brands for beginners and more. You’ll thank us later, when you are making our own drool-worthy jewelry.
Jewelry Tools and Supplies
Before you begin your jewelry projects, make sure that you’ve purchased the right tools and supplies. Here’s a couples of the basic jewelry tools we recommend purchasing:
Pliers are probably the one must-have supply for making beaded jewelry, because it’s a tool that jewelry crafters use often. Jewelry pliers can be used to create a wide range of beaded jewelry projects.
There are a few types of pliers:
- Round nose
- Chain nose
- Flat nose
- Crimping pliers
- Wire or side cutters
Round nose pliers can be only used for bending wire and making loops because of their curved nose. Chain and flat nose pliers have a rounded exterior nose but the interior nose is flat. This makes them the ideal choice for compressing, creating a flat surface. You can use these types of pliers as a second hand, holding pieces or jump rings open while you use the beads, closing them and for fine detail work. Crimping pliers are designed specifically for crimping beads and making sure they are securely in place.
Wire or side cutters make it easy to cut the stringing materials. Make sure you have the correct tools for cutting your materials, if you’re using the wrong ones, you could damage them. Keep in mind that the thicker the material you’re cutting, the stronger the cutting tools should be.
No matter what type of pliers or cutters you decide to purchase, make sure that you are purchasing jewelry pliers, not an ordinary pair of pliers from your local hardware store. Jewelry pliers are typically a finer, smaller type of plier. In addition, they have a high polished and smooth finish inside the nose. This is important because this is what actually comes in contact with your beads.
Choose your wire, cord or chain based on the project you want to make and types of beads you are working with. Beading thread comes in a variety of sizes and colors. There are varieties that stretch so you can make stretch bracelets and some that do not, which are perfect for bead stitching and bead loom projects.
Beading wire is the right choice for projects that include wrapped loops, wire-wrapped beads and more. Make sure you determine what type of gauge you need for your project before purchasing:
- Thick jewelry wire is typically 14-16 gauge and is ideal for large shapes, bases and clasps
- Medium jewelry wire is typically 18-20 gauge and is ideal for average-sized jump rings and clasps
- Thing jewelry wire is typically 24-26 gauge and is ideal for delicate, detailed pieces.
Check out this handy wire gauge guide for a cheat sheet you’ll want to bookmark!
(Photo courtesy of our blogger, Bev. Learn how to make her braided leather chain bracelet.)
Jewelry Findings can be an essential for because they are what keep everything together! These are the small parts used to join the components together to complete your project. They come in a variety of designs, colors and styles. Some of the most common include:
- Bails, which allow you to create pendants from a variety of materials
- Clasps, which come in a variety of styles and are an easy way to finish off your project by attaching two sides
- Connectors, which are decorative ways to connect two sides of a project
- End Cones are a decorative way to finish off a project and connect multiple strands of beads
- Jump Rings are probably the most popular jewelry findings. Use them to attach clasps to chains or cord ends, attach beads to chain in clusters, fasten pendants and charms, attach earrings to fish hooks, create unique jump ring jewelry and more
- Eye and Head Pins are essential for creating your own bead links, head pins, charms and bead drops
- Caps, which have a wide variety of uses, including dressing up beads, show off focal pieces, corral multiple strands of beads or provide a place to attach a jewelry clasp
- Crimps, which secure beads onto a strand and can also be used to end bead strands with a loop
Beads for Jewelry Making is where it gets fun and you can be really creative. Choose beads that speak to your personal style and the look you’re trying to achieve with your jewelry project. Beads come in a wide, wide variety of shapes, sizes, styles and colors, so the options are endless! Some of the common bead materials include:
- Bone and Horn
- Plastic and Acrylic
We weren’t kidding when we said the options were endless! There’s no hard or fast rules for choosing beads, but we do recommend sticking to a similar style or color palette. Many types of beads come in a kit to make creating uniformed, complimentary beaded jewelry items a breeze.
Best for Beginners
If you’re just starting out with beaded jewelry making, invest in medium or entry level type of tools, price-wise. You don’t have to break the bank with the most expensive options on the market, but having a good set of tools you can rely on will make the process a little easier. Many of the essential supplies are sold in kits or sets, like a kit with the basic types of pliers and kits of complimentary beads.
What’s your must-have jewelry tool? Share below.
More Project Ideas
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