Generic Step-by-Step Approach to Jewelry Making Projects
Some final thoughts for beginners:
first discuss some common errors that people experience in getting started
that make it harder for them to be successful.
Many people see a jewelry design and that design is what motivates
them to begin making jewelry. Unfortunately, if that design is not
suitable for a beginner, it may be a bad choice as a first jewelry
project. The biggest single error that people make is in picking a first
or second project that is too difficult. We recommend making the Queen of
Clubs Earrings as a good first jewelry project. It is suitable for
beginners and allows you to make something that looks hand made and can be
used as gifts.
A second error that people make is not accepting that everyone should
use practice wire and make about 3 pieces out of practice wire before
cutting your good wire. Sterling Silver and Gold Filled wire are almost
at record high prices. Don't cut a segment of this expensive wire until
you know exactly how much is required because you made the component in
practice wire and measured both before and after so that you know exactly
how much wire to use. For the Celtic Triangle Earrings above, we made
this component out of practice wire about 7-8 times before we were
satisfied with the technique. Any time you are making a new component,
you should assume that you will need to make that component out of
practice wire a few times until you are satisfied that you can make it
properly. Just as it is when you learn any new skill, everyone needs to
practice, including us.
A third error that many novices make is in not following the basic
steps. The basic steps are easy. First you measure and cut the wire to
length, second you make a loop in one end of the wire, and third you
straighten the wire. Many people forget to fully straighten the wire
using nylon jaw pliers. This results in some irregularities in your
finished jewelry item.
A fourth error that many people make is in placing all their pegs in
the pattern at the beginning. Unfortunately, this is something that we
learned relatively recently. You should always begin every pattern with
only two pegs and add pegs as you go. Many of our patterns on our web
site don't show this, because when we documented that pattern, we weren't
smart enough to know it at that time. Now we know that if you have a
pattern with 6 pegs and you start with 6 pegs, 4 of those pegs are going
to be in your way and making life difficult.
A fifth error that people make is in not pushing the wire with just
one finger while you hold and move the jig with your non-dominant hand.
Intuitively people want to grab the wire and hold the wire by the end of
the wire and keep the jig stationary. The important thing in making wire
components is to keep the wire straight until you are ready to bend it
against or around a peg. Keeping the wire straight isn't easy to do when
you grab the wire. You will tend to add kinks and bends to your wire
using that approach. If you essentially hold the wire stationary, by
pushing it with only the index finger on your dominant hand touching the
wire, while you rotate the jig with your non-dominant hand you will find
that it is easy to keep your wire straight. Once you understand and can
accomplish this technique you will be much more successful in making
jewelry items with our jigs.
A final error that is relatively common is not releasing your grip on
the wire after bending it against a peg. Releasing your grip allows the
wire to relax back to its normal position. By releasing your grip after
you bend the wire against a peg you ensure that your wire component won't
spring out of shape when you remove it from your jig.
The above are the six most important techniques that must be
mastered/errors that must be overcome. We also discuss some
other common jewelry making errors
starting here. If you haven't visit that page and the two that follow
it lately, it would probably be a good review. Above all, don't get
frustrated. Like any skill worth learning the skill of making jewelry from
wire and beads does require some practice.
Our Beginner's information continues on the next page with
10 basic techniques for making jewelry by hand.