Please suggest some tools that I can get for making my own jewellery.
November 5, 2014 1:13 PM   Subscribe

So I've made bits and pieces of jewellery like necklaces with clasps and such, but that's as far as I've gone. I'd like to take it a step further by making more complex bits of jewellery like bracelets and (in particular) earrings out of recycled metals; but I'm not sure what tools I would need or how to go about making the actual earrings and the metal that loops through the ear etc. Can anyone give me some advice on this or recommend me any books or the like that will help set me off to a good start with this?
posted by sockpim to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Bead Simple? Also you will definitely need needle nose pliers. A dremel is helpful for buffing and sanding and drill, etc.
posted by Duffington at 1:17 PM on November 5, 2014


I've ordered metal stock from http://www.riogrande.com/

They have probably every tool you can ever need, and also stock of simple parts like the earring hooks you're referring to. No need to make your own if you just want to focus on the dangly bits.
posted by odinsdream at 1:24 PM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


You can buy earring hoops (and posts). You can make them yourself with some wire and pliers but they're very cheap to buy - the search term you're looking for is "findings".

It really does depend on the style of jewellery you want to make. A soldering iron and dremel would be good investments. If you're interested in chain maille, you'll want chain nose pliers and regular jewellery pliers (the straight, flat ones). For wire wrapping, flat pliers, and needle-nose are good to have.
posted by missmagenta at 1:28 PM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I cannot recommend books, but there are lots of great free videos online about jewelry making techniques. I would start at beaducation.com.

For example, their Wire Jewelry Fundamentals video will teach you how to make simple ear wires, while showing you exactly what tools you need and what you need them for.

Youtube is also a great resource, but I find Beaducation a great place to start because the quality of the instruction is so high.

Beaducation (whom I do not work for) also sells tools and supplies, and I've also purchased from and been happy with Rio Grande. You might want to look into local bead and jewelry supply stores (Not the Michaels/Joanns type craft store) in your area. They probably have classes, and definitely have knowledgeable staff.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:46 PM on November 5, 2014


If you're interested in wire work you want chain nose pliers, round nose pliers (for loops!), and nippers to cut the wire. A steel bench block, metal hammer, and plastic/resin hammer are also highly recommended- the metal hammer flattens and the plastic hammer work-hardens, so your findings stay intact as you take them on and off, among other things.

Rio Grande is great, but for getting started, especially if you're on a budget, Michaels' bead section is improving rapidly, though as sparklemotion says your best bet is to go to bead store. It's great to see things in person.
posted by clarinet at 1:50 PM on November 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ebay is a great resource for supplies.
posted by royalsong at 3:29 PM on November 5, 2014


This book is a great reference for all kinds of jewelry metalworking techniques.
posted by doctord at 7:12 PM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


It would be helpful if you could link examples of the kinds of things you'd like to make - that could help refine recommendations.
posted by ersatzkat at 8:31 PM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you decide on chainmaille, hit me up and I'll give you a bunch of links.
posted by PlutoniumX at 6:52 AM on November 6, 2014


This is super useful for making holes in found bits and pieces, especially small delicate things that are hard to dremel. E6000 is a great all-purpose adhesive, and between that and a small collection of pliers and wire cutters you can make a surprising amount of things. I get my findings here, although if I want something special I will often trawl Etsy, or hit up a flea market or bead shop.

Can you give specific examples of the style of jewelry you want to make?
posted by ananci at 3:34 PM on November 6, 2014


Well at the moment I'd like to be able to make earrings from scratch, like inscribing designs into pieces of copper or making chain link earrings or something like that.
posted by sockpim at 9:52 AM on November 7, 2014


Sorry I didn't come back to this sooner. For chain link earrings, you need a few things - a couple pairs of pliers (round nose, chain or flat nose) to open and close rings, and a few really fine-grain metal files for taking any sharp edges off where you close the rings. I use a jeweler's saw to cut metal, but for really fine wire, jump rings, and chain you can also use a pair of flush side cutters.

For inscribing designs into metal, there are literally tools called metal scribes. Lots of jewelers make their own using various sized nails that they modify - melt and shape the ends, sharpen the ends, etc, but you can find lots of those things commercially available too. You can buy your metal in pre-punched or shaped "blanks", or you can buy sheets and cut them either with a jeweler's saw or punch kits. You can dome metal using a dapping block. A metal bench block is a good surface to use to work on.

You can go high-end on a lot of this stuff from places like Otto Frei, or you can find hobbyist versions of these tools at Michael's - I was pleasantly surprised at the wide selection of tools the last time I looked around there.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:38 AM on November 10, 2014


Thanks for all your answers, all this information should get me off to a good start.
posted by sockpim at 11:34 PM on November 11, 2014


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