The thought of making one’s own jewellery is a fabulous one: Settling down to a whole box full of faceted gems and findings just perfect for making a simple bracelet, pair of earrings or ring. Handmade jewellery makes for a wonderfully personal gift to that special lady in your life, your mother, sister a grandparent or even a partner.
However getting started may not always be so straightforward especially if you are doing this for the first time. What are the basic tools that one will need when starting to make simple pieces of jewellery? Here is a basic list that I hope will help:
Round nose and shaped pliers:
Whether it is a round or ‘half moon’ these are essential! The shaped nose part will help you create the decorative filigree parts of your jewellery. Why not pick out two or three different shaped pairs to help you get started? Most pliers and other hand tools will come with a comfy rubber or plastic coat at the handles to protect your hands. Some have a comfy rubber grip which will help when shaping more tougher metals.
Side cutters should also be in your beginners kit. It will cut the copper wire you will use for your first few pieces. Snipping tools are also known as ‘side cutters’ or ‘wire cutters’ and have a very sharp pointy nose. Although they are used in electrical and construction work try looking out for one specially designed for jewellery making. Many suppliers will know what you are looking for and have them in stock.
This will come in a variety of lengths and thicknesses. As copper is a soft metal be careful not to buy too thin a wire as it could snap easily. Especially if you are intending to hammer it for texture. A 0.5-0.7 mm are good thicknesses to begin with as they are strong enough to be played around with. Thicker than this could make cutting and bending difficult for the novice jewellery maker. It will normally be measure in lengths so buy a few meters to begin with.
A selection of ready made findings:
Jewellery findings are the small attachments used on clasps or links. You can make your own however for beginners it is recommended that you buy them until you are confident with your tools. Findings include earring wires, stud posts and backs, lobster clasps and jump rings. They can be picked up for reasonable prices if you shop around online.
Once you have these pieces then you are ready to begin taking your first few tentative steps into jewellery making. Experiment with copper swirls, have some beads? why not add them to your wire earrings? Let your creative side flourish through making jewellery.