Beginners FAQ:

Here is a list beginners FAQ (frequently asked questions). If you need your question to be answered, feel free to contact me.

1. I am a novice when it comes to making jewelry. I am eager to start. What do I need to know first? How hard is it to learn?

You need to become aquinted with the different types of beads, beading tools, stringing materials, findings, wire and chain. All of these are explained in detail on the following pages:

beads
beading tools
stringing materials
findings
jewelry making wire
jewelry making chain

Once you are familiar with the basic tools and equipment, you can start making some of the projects listed on the site. Some of the basic earring projects will take only a few minutes to master, while other projects might need some practice. Making jewelry is not rocket science, just take it one step at a time.

2. I am a complete beginner and I don’t want to spend a lot of money on tools and supplies. Where do I start?

Starting with a basic earring project will be the most cost-effective. Here is a list of things you will need to make some earrings:

  • french hook earring wires
  • headpins
  • collection of beads no bigger than 10mm
  • round nose pliers
  • wires or side cutters
  • safety glasses (optional)
Follow the techniques on the page pearl drop earrings for making basic drop earrings. You can make a wardrobe of earrings just by changing the beads of each pair of earrings!

3. I want to make a little bit of everything. What basic supplies and tools must I have in my toolbox?

Here is a list of all the basic supplies you will need to make some earrings, bracelets and necklaces. You can find more information about these supplies on the jewelry supply information page.

  • different types of beads
  • spacer beads of different sizes
  • bead caps
  • headpins
  • clasps and hooks
  • jump rings (4mm and 5mm are useful)
  • jewelry making chain like belcher or curb chain (links must be at least 2mm)
  • earring wires
  • crimp beads
  • calottes
  • coil crimps (leather cord ends)
  • stringing materials: bead stringing wire like Beadalon or Soft flex, memory wire, leather cords
  • 0.6mm (22 gauge) wire, 0,8mm (20 gauge) wire
  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • wire or side cutters
  • measuring tape
  • crimping pliers
  • safety glasses

4. What is the difference between wire and bead stringing wire?

Wire:

Wire comes in different gauge sizes, and you need tools like round nose pliers and chain nose pliers to bend and form the wire. For more info on wire read the jewelry making wire page.

FAQ

Bead stringing wire:

Bead stringing wire is a nylon coated wire with tiny stainless steel cables inside. The main brands are Soft Flex®, Beadalon® and Accu-Flex®. Before you buy beading wire you need to think about the flexibility of your design, wether it has to follow the contours of your body.

The higher the number of strands the more flexible the wire will be. For eg. 7 strand wire has some flexibility, 19 strand wire is more flexible, 49 strand is the most flexible. If you need a very stiff beading wire then Tiger Tail will do the job. It is not as flexible as other beading wires and tends to kink easily due to its stiffness.

Bead stringing wire requires crimp beads to hold beads onto the wire. The crimps beads are pressed into a tiny ball onto the wire with crimping pliers.

FAQ

5. How do I need to finish off an elastic stretch bracelet?

There are 2 ways to finish it off:

a. All you need to do is to tie it off with a double overhand knot (plain knot). Add a bit of clear adhesive or nail polish to the knot to make it more secure, and let it dry.
b. Another way is to use a crimp bead. Pass both ends through a crimp bead in opposite directions and crimp the crimp bead with crimping pliers.

6. Must I use calottes (clam shells) if I’m working with crimp beads?

No, you don’t have to. Calottes are used to hide crimp beads and other cord knots for a more professional finish. You can also use crimp bead covers to hide your crimps. There is no rule that you should cover your crimps, it is totally up to you if you want to cover the crimp beads.

7. I use crimp beads for my bracelets and necklaces. Most of it has come back for repair. Am I doing something wrong?

Some people use chain or flat nose pliers to flatten their crimp beads. The best tool for the job is crimping pliers. It will secure the crimp bead onto the wire if you follow the correct method on the page crimping pliers.

8. What is the difference between headpins and eyepins?

Headpins:

A headpin is a straight piece of wire with a small flattened knob at one end. Head pins are used to hold beads on the pin. The pin is then attached to a jewelry piece. Some bead holes are too big for head pins. First insert a small bead like a metal spacer bead onto the head pin before inserting the larger bead. Head pins are available in different lengths and types of wire. A head pin can be clipped shorter.

headpin


Eye pins:

An eye pin is a piece of wire with a loop at one end. You can make your own eye pins with a basic wire method. I prefer making my own eye pins, because then I can choose the wire size I need for my project. Eye pins serve as links in a design.

eyepin


9. What is wirework, and will I benefit from learning it?

Wirework basically means to use wire when making jewelry. This is a very popular way of making jewelry.

The most basic techniques are forming single and wrapped loops. Other techniques include coiling wire, making spirals, making clasps and hooks, making briolette wraps and many more.

Learning some wire wrapping techniques will allow you to make a range of designs that you won't be able to make unless you learn wire wrapping techniques. Visit the wire wrapping techniques page to see what amazing techniques you can accomplish with wire.

Return from Beginners faq to Home Page