Learn How to Make Jewelry

The Basics of Different Jewelry-Making Techniques

A jewelry-making station
Betsie Van der Meer / Getty Images

Learn the basics of jewelry making using materials such as beads, wire, glass, metal, and clay. You'll find tips, projects, techniques, and DIY articles to get you started crafting your own hand-made jewelry.

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    These five tools are useful no matter if you are stringing or doing bead weaving or wire work. You will want to stock your craft room with wire cutters, round nose pliers, chain-nosed pliers, flat nose pliers, and crimp tools.

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    Get some of the basics down with these tips, techniques, and how-tos on beading. First, become familiar with the different types of beads and the findings used in bead jewelry. Some of the techniques you will need include bead knotting

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    With these basic metal techniques under your belt, soon you will be soldering and fabrication your own metal jewelry designs, whether you are using base metals or precious metals. 

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    You will work with wire for many types of jewelry. The choice of wire is a personal preference and the type of jewelry you are making. Here are a few general rules of thumb that you can follow when first starting out.

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    This unique form of clay turns into solid metal after firing. Depending on the heat required to fire the clay, you have a number of options available including a kiln, a torch, or a hot pot. Then you'll need some cutting and smoothing tools. Find out more about this wonderful clay that allows you to form and fire metal jewelry. 

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    Fused glass can be used in many types of jewelry. ​You may want to learn how to make glass stringers and glass frit to decorate fused glass pieces.  Dichroic glass is different from regular glass in that it may contain multiple colors or even appear opalescent. It changes color with the light and the angle at which it is held. Here's how to make a pendant.

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    Macrame Jewelry

    Hearken back to the '60s or herald the arrival of hipsters with this style of jewelry. Here's how to use basic macrame knotting techniques to make a necklace.

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    Kilns for Jewelry Making

    A kiln can allow you to expand your jewelry skills in a number of ways including enameling, casting (used for burn-out), metal clay, and fused glass. Here's what to consider when deciding whether to invest in a kiln and ensuring you are getting one that will serve all of the different projects you will want to make.

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    If you've designed a pendant or charm that you want cast in metal, you could do it yourself with lost wax casting.  That is an intricate process of making the wax mold, creating the plaster cast around it, placing it in a kiln and centrifuge to add the molten metal, then cleaning up the piece to finish it. You can use a metal casting service instead, or learn to do it yourself.

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    Jewelry making has become a popular art and craft, and while you can learn about it online, it definitely is worthwhile to have a hands-on class. Here is where to look in your community for classes that may be inexpensive or even free. Bead groups, gem and mineral societies, and other artistic clubs can be excellent resources.