Last week we were looking into which tools to use for which tasks in jewellery making. That is all well and good, but what do you use the tools on? In jewellery making the components you use to bring secure different parts together are called Findings. These are usually tiny and metal. They come in many different colours and sizes to suit you specific needs.
In this post I’ve covered some of the most common of these items as well as describing their uses as a guide. We will be posting tutorials on tips and techniques using all of these items very soon so Follow Us to keep up!
1. Jump Rings
Jump rings are used to connect one element to another such as chain to clasps or decorative items onto cords, chain, earrings wires and each other. They can also be used to create chain and decorations by themselves. This is a technique known as chainmail. By connecting the rings together in assorted ways you can create different patterns for decorative or functional purposes. Jump rings are an essential aspect of jewellery making and we’ll be exploring how to use them in depth soon!
2. Headpins and Eyepins
These little sticks so much more than they seem. Use eyepins (loop at the end) to connect beads together instead of cords and nylon wires, they give the finished piece of jewellery a professional aesthetic. Use headpins to hang beads as pendants or earring droplets. Create a simple loop with round nose pliers or go even further and make a wrapped loop for a more decorative effect.
3. Split Rings
Used in the same way as jump rings for connecting jewellery elements together split rings are more difficult to use, but once utilised are incredibly secure! One to use if you’re making delicate jewellery.
Earwires come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This ‘fish hook’ earring wire is probably the most popular and can be used with jump rings or head/eye pins to create a drop earring.
5. Lobster Claps
Lobster clasps are just one of many ways of professionally securing your jewellery. Use a jump ring to attach the clasp and another to latch it onto to create a quick and safe fixture.
6. T-Bar Clasps
More decorative than lobster clasps. These are mainly used on bracelets where the clasp is a feature of the piece rather than hidden away.
7. Bell Closer.
Bell closers can be used to attach the end of cords onto chain or clasps. Glue the cord inside the dome with strong jewellery glue. The loop is a headpin inserted from the inside and looped with round nose pliers ready to connect.
We know there are a lot of craft blogs out there written by and for parents. Here are some of our favourites. Unleash your inner child and get crafting with your kids:
Kate Lilley’s bright and beautiful blog is full of creative activities and handmade stuff for kids, things that the whole family can help make using inexpensive materials found around the home. Lots of, but not limited to, clever paper crafts.
We’re a little bit in love with Trula and her effortless DIY style. This mother of 2, living in Barcelona (jealous? us?), likes to ‘pretend I’ve got all the time in the world to make clothes, take pictures and admire the little details of everyday life.’ and she’s doing a fantastic job.
3. Made By Joel
The totally cool Made by Joel is a space to share art, craft, and handmade education projects for children and their care givers. Artist and designer, Joel Henriques, has devoted himself to making arts and crafts both accessible and meaningful and encourages everyone, regardless of economic means, skill level or age to participate in the collective, creative process.
4. Mer Mag
Illustrator and mum of three, Merrilee Liddiard loves to play. And to play creatively at that. No lonely cardboard box is safe – ‘we’ll grab some duct tape and before you know it, we’ve turned it into a playful mask or interlocking castle!’ Obsessed with all things kids and playful, you’ll find Merrilee creating, celebrating, playing, doing and wearing all sorts of loveliness on this inspirational blog.
Rubyellen and Ben have four little girls, True, Brave, Soul, and Glow (yes, those really are their names) and this blog chronicles their everyday lives and shares Rubyellen’s love for making, decorating, celebrating, and loving, including a great regular series on family meals.
Jennifer Kirk from Ambrosia Creative is a graphic designer and crafter with some great ideas for keeping kids entertained. Her blog has some brilliant boy friendly projects too, like this Minecraft creation.
7. Oana Befort
We just adore Oana (pronounced Wanna) Befort’s beautiful blog and especially her Kiddo Tee DIY series of tutorials and free printables.
Merete likes to ‘design spaces, travel, craft and mostly just be with my family. I’m excited to share my ideas as well as tips on how to live with and design for children.’ Expect a lot of clay modelling and fun projects.
Definitely one of our faves, not least for sharing this candy floss cloud cake topper idea with us. Some really fun ideas from Melanie Blodgett, the author/editor/featured dancer of You Are My Fave, a lifestyle blog devoted to handmade projects, parties and fave finds.
Passionate about children’s arts and creativity, through this treasure trove of a blog, Jean Van’t Hul shares ideas, information and inspiration to encourage parents and carers to enjoy and share art with kids. Posting several times a week on children’s art, seasonal crafts and family fun this is a great resource to have in your blog feed.
We hope you’ll agree that child’s play never looked so good.
I love to learn new things. I have a habit of diving in head first and learning on the go which can sometimes have amazing results, but most of the time ends in total craft chaos!
It helps to stand back, reassess what has gone wrong and start from the beginning. That’s why I’m writing this series “Make a Start” not only to help new makers learn new skills, but also to give the impatient a little time to recap, relearn techniques and correct our bad habits.
This weeks Tools of the Trade: Jewellery Making Basics Part One
Side Cutter Pliers: These are one of the big jewellery making tool necessities. You will use cutters on a range of different findings to -you guessed it- cut stuff.
Chain Nose Pliers: Another staple in your jewellery making kit. Mainly used for opening and closing jump rings or chain links. I would definitely suggest investing in at least one pair of these, if not two. Or if you wanted to have a nice range of pliers get one of these and one of the next item….
Flat Nose Pliers: These are very similar to chain nose pliers, and have similar uses. The main difference is the surface area of the plier. This is useful when working with larger objects to hold them steady. They also have fantastically flat edges, great for creating nice clean bends when working with wire and metals.
Round Nose Pliers: Round nose pliers are essential if you’re working with beads and want to make anything pendanty. For example earrings, necklaces of charm bracelets. All of these necklaces use headpins and eye pins which require round nose pliers to create a loop at the end.
Bent Chain Nose Pliers: have a similar use to your regular chain nose pliers (as above) except the bent tip. When you’re working with chainmail or other intricate repetitive work as they allow your hand a more natural and relaxed position.
Nylon Jaw Pliers: Nylon Jaw Pliers come in all different shapes and sizes and are a necessity if you want to keep your wire work scratch free. You can also buy a coating for your regular pliers that pretty much does the same thing.
Split Ring Tweezers: If you’ve ever tried to open a split ring without a pair of these babies (or the plier version) you’ll know how useful these can be. If you’re planning on using split rings save your nails and invest in these!
Beading Tweezers: As well as the obvious; picking up and sorting your teeny tiny beads you can also use the tweezers to tie tight and secure knots between beads. Why knot!?