Making My Own Bracelets Rings Earrings and Pendants

by Debra on April 1, 2012

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I am fascinated by the idea of making my own bracelets, rings and pendants. In high school I took a few classes designed to teach simple jewelry making. I also watched my dad create silver and turquoise jewelry with great interest… And I wasn’t sorry!

I’d attained a fair degree of skill in making a few jewelry pieces… but that was long (I mean decades) ago and I’ve forgotten most of what I learned. I’ve decided to attempt this creative hobby again… and I added to my small stash of supplies recently:

  • A few pairs of pliers
  • A wire jewelry jig and accessories
  • A small anvil and rubber pad
  • A variety of hammers
  • An assortment of small files
  • Tin snips, side cutters and a jewelry saw.
  • Metal stamping kits
  • Wood Dapping block
  • Steel Ring Mandrel

I love bracelets and rings and spend a great deal of time “drooling” over catalogs and website images of jewelry I will never afford.  In fact, my “Bertie’s” never left the house without decking their fingers, arms and ears with gems, gold and silver adornments.  They were thrifty shoppers and I am still (to this very day) wearing some of these bits and bobs handed down.

I get so many ideas for finished jewelry and learning ALL the techniques – it’s a bit overwhelming (and could get god awful expensive).  I am finally finding the need to stop “learning” and just start “doing”.

Having decided what I want to make first (this was a huge hurdle)… I purchased a few supplies.  I spent way more than I should have (or probably needed to)… and yet I don’t regret these purchases – I know I’m going to love what I make the very first time out of the gate.

What I’m Not Going To Attempt First

I’m not going to attempt anything with the jewelry saw.  A jeweler’s saw requires dismantling and the re-assembling for each cut. These cuts are made after piercing the metal several times with a drill and also using a V-shaped wood block (which I don’t have).

The wood block is fastened to the worktable with a clamp or some other way to attach. I can already tell I will need much more patience than I have at this point… and a few more tools which I don’t want to pay for right now.

Soldering is my chief bug-a-boo and I’ve studied up on it, but practice is essential, using the accepted techniques (several options are available – with equipment I don’t yet have).

I’m really not interested in small bead work.  The Peyote Stitch is a mystery left to those who have the skills.

What I Will Be Working On First

Beaded Bracelets – I still need to get stringing wire for this project. I’ve finally found the video I need to get the right info… it’s not for bracelets (they show a necklace) but it IS the treasure style multi-strand beading I want to do.  Simple – and yet eye catching.

I broke apart some old “thrift store” jewelry and stuff I don’t wear anymore… I should have plenty of treasures to work with.

Hammering – Dapping and Stamping Metal – I want to “beat the crap” out of some metal. *giggle*  I purchase a few pieces of copper sheeting to get started and a few rolls of wire. I did purchase jewelry grade wire… but I will be scoping out the hardware store soon as well.

I have a pair of earrings that I love and have the desire to “copy” them – but with different beads.  The project also requires dapping and some wire spirals on a jig.  I’m even going to try my hand at making my own ear wires.

This project will fulfill my desire for beating metal as well as learning to use a few of my new tools. I won’t be stressing out by starting on a very complicated project.

The earrings look like they even include a metal washer – I should be able to “stamp with letters” on a washer.  Now to go raid hubbies “washer” drawer.  Fun.

Wire Jig Pendant – I mentioned a wire and dapped charm I want to attempt in my Wire Jig Review article.  I may make two – trying to duplicate wire wrapping exactly – and use for earrings. I much more of an earring gal than a pendant gal.

Wire Ring –  I have soooo many rings I want to make that require soldering. Saving those for later. My first few rings will be made with just wire – and maybe a few beads.  I love the look of hammered silver wire with loops.  I also have a copper wire and bead ring that I want to duplicate with different types of beads.

Again… this will require some hammering, which I’m really excited about right now. I think I need to release some stress…

Most of the projects I will attempt at first will be “short term”… meaning, I hope they only take an hour or two.  These short projects usually motivate me to tackle larger – more complicated projects.

What are your first jewelry projects? Do you have some in your “idea file” and haven’t gotten “round to it”?

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