Jewellery workshops with Sally Moon –
I’ve been making jewellery since the 1970’s, when it was almost impossible to get any sort of exciting beads and craft materials and had to rely on friends in America and Canada to send thing to me. Now it’s different, they are so many suppliers out there, you will never run out of ideas or beads to make them with, but if you want inspiration, keep checking my website.
PLEASE NOTE –
I SELL SOME BEADS AND FINDINGS ON THIS WEBSITE WHICH WILL BE GOOD PRICES AS LEFTOVER STOCK, SO CHANGE ALL THE TIME, BUT THERE ARE PLENTY OF SUPPLIERS OUT THERE!
There are some basic essential you will need to make some jewellery and they are these:
- A flexible pair of jewellery making pliers – something that can cut, bend and grip.
- A bead stop mat – essential!
- A roll of good strong beading flexible wire (Tiger Tail) or stretchy cord.
- A selection of ‘findings’ – various metal pieces, catches etc. to help you construct your jewellery
- Selections of beads – both ‘feature’ beads and spacers.
- Tape measure.
- A ‘big eye’ needle (if you want to thread beads onto cotton for weaving or sewing)
- A plastic tray to hold all the bits and pieces.
- A good ‘hobby’ light – with or without a magnifying glass!
- Preferably an area where you can leave all these out if you are in the middle of something!!
- Boxes or containers to keep your beads neat and tidy and stop them going all over the place.
You need to ‘make friends’ with your jewellery pliers, they are the most essential piece of kit you will have, so get to know how to handle them and find out what they can do. It’s a bit like chopsticks, once you get the knack, it’s easy!
Before we start, let’s talk through the other things that will help you design and construct your jewellery.
- A bead size chart – until you get used to the sizes, this is useful if you are buying on line. (Try www.beadsdirect.co.uk)
- A colour wheel – if you don’t have a natural eye for colour, this is essential.
- Names of ‘findings’
You can find plenty of colour charts or wheels online. Remember it’s not only the colours next to each other you can use, but the ones on the opposite side as well!
When you are ordering on line, expensive mistakes can be made if you see a bead you love, buy them and then realise that they are enormous or too small for what you want. Check your bead sizes before you order!!!!
There are many types of jewellery making that you can get into like bead weaving, wire jewellery, ribbon jewellery, micro bead, metal stamping, links, leatherwork etc. I could go on, but what you are going to learn today are the essentials to help you get going and develop your skills.
These are general made of metal and are the foundations of your jewellery. If you are looking on any good bead suppliers’ website, you will find a section called findings.
Essentially they are the pins (headpins and eyepins), the closures (bolt ring or lobster clasp) and jump rings which you use at the other end of your necklace, all of which come in different sizes. Then you get into clasps. These can be many shapes and sizes, but are good for finishing off a bracelet or sometimes a necklace. Bar and hoop, magnetic, clips, bolts – a lot to choose from. It depends on what you want your finished piece to look like. The best way to see what there is out there is to go onto a website like Beads Direct, Creative Beadcraft or The Bead shop – there are hundreds of them, look on the findings page and see what they have. One of the tiniest bits you need is pretty essential and that’s a crimp bead. It’s what you close off the end of your bracelet or necklace with – without these tiny little things, your jewellery falls apart! They are also useful if you want to space your beads with gaps in-between, crimp them into place.
Threads and cords:
What you thread onto is again a huge choice. I tend to use Tiger Tail. It’s strong, flexible and comes in many colours, so you don’t have to cover it with beads. You can also use fishing line, again very strong and clear, so you don’t see it. Ribbon is also popular, but you have to make sure the beads you use have a big enough hole to thread the ribbon through. Then you get into leather and suede, wire, silk or rayon cord – you get the idea!
Before you start:
This might sound obvious, but plan your piece of jewellery. Get your beads together and, using your bead mat (or bead board if you want to spend more) to plan your project. Now from my point of view, that tends to start with some inspiration of some kind. The wall above my workbench is covered with pictures pulled out of magazines, photos I’ve taken or even postcards people have sent me. It could be the colour used, the shape or indeed just the landscape that inspires a piece of jewellery or indeed seeing some new beads!
Lay out your beads in a rough idea of what you want your finished project to look like – now’s the time to change it if you don’t like the look of it! The main thing is don’t be afraid to try beads next to each other.
SIMPLE NECKLACE OR BRACELET –
Start with a piece of wire/thread about 3” longer than the finished piece. Thread through the catch, slide a crimp bead over the wire catching both ends and crimp together with pliers. Make sure it’s pinched hard; it has a lot of beads to hold! Now for the fun part!
- Thread your beads on in the order you planned. Don’t be afraid to change them if you don’t like it.
- Make sure you use a smaller bead (spacer) in-between any big beads. It makes the piece flexible.
- Put a crimp bead on last, thread wire through jump ring and back through crimp. Push wire through last couple of beads as well and make sure it’s fairly tight (check your piece here for mistakes, gaps etc. it’s your last chance!) Close the crimp bead hard with your pliers. Cover crimp beads if needed.
- Tuck your tails in! (Make sure both the tail ends are tucked into the end few beads.
- Sit back and admire your work!!
- A bracelet can be made in the same way, but you can use different ‘bar and hoop’ or lobster catch fasteners instead.
- These can be single or double pins, short or long, studs or wires, it’s up to you. Again, plan your earrings first.
- Start with headpins or eyepins and thread them through the bead(s) you want to put on your earring. Use a smaller bead near the top of the pin. (Also use for pendants to hang off necklaces.)
- Cut off the rest of the pin you do not need with the pliers, leaving approximately ¼” or 75mm at the end. Grip this piece near to the top bead with the tip of your pliers and bend it to a right angle with the beads.
- Clasp the end of that piece with the tip of your pliers and bend it round slightly to form a small curve.
- Turn your wrist over (palm up) and grip the end of that curved section with the pliers and roll your hand over, this will form a loop or eye at the top of the pin, holding your beads in place and creating a loop to attach to your wires/stud. Also use this to link beads in a necklace with eyepins.
- Gently prize open the loop on the wires or stud and slip your earing pin onto that, make sure it is the right way round! Close the upper loop and there is your earring.
If you would like a half day work shop for you or a group, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for charges and terms.