Saturday, November 19, 2011

Making Jewelry: The Tools I Use

I get a lot of questions from people about my jewelry -- how I make it, whether I bend the wire by hand, if I use tools. I do use tools, though there are times when I bend the wire by hand, if I'm able. But if you want to get started with making jewelry, here are some basic tools to have. You can order beginner jewelry kits online and most have just what you need.

1. Round nose pliers: These have a rounded tip and are great for making loops. They're a necessity for things like floral designs and spirals.

2. Flat nose pliers: These have a flat tip and are great for squeezing things tight. I also use them for making angles, like in my square and triangle pieces. Plus, they're useful for straightening wire.

3. Flush cutters: I use wire cutters that cut on the flush; this way, the wire isn't jagged at the end. You definitely need quality wire cutters because if you try to cut with a regular scissors, you won't get an even cut.

4. Heavy duty wire cutter: I have a much stronger cutter for snipping 14 gauge wire, which is tough! It's good to have different sizes for different sized wire.

5. File: Always file the ends of the wire so it's not sharp. You don't want to stick yourself or someone else. Trust me, it hurts!

6. Wire (duh): I like to use 20 gauge silver plated for most projects, but I'll sometimes use softer (22-28 gauge) or harder (18-14 gauge) if a piece calls for it. For instance, I'll use very hard 14 gauge to make a thick pendant, but will use 28 gauge to connect a stone. I like to use 18 gauge for bracelets because it's flexible, but holds well.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs.

Silver Abstract Earrings With Purple Stones

Often, when I'm making jewelry my pieces kind of "make themselves." Sometimes I have a very clear idea in mind for a piece, but other times, I'll just kind of bend the wire and the design will surprise me. This is the case with these silver earrings.

I had some leftover silver wire -- not enough to make a necklace or bracelet and I didn't want to waste it. So I began playing around with it and ended up with this weird, envelope-looking shape. When I showed it to my friend who was visiting, she liked it and suggested that I add a stone. She chose purple, her favorite.

The biggest challenge in this was getting the second earring to match the first. It's one thing to randomly bend wire and come up with something cool. But it becomes more challenging when you have to copy that randomness and make it look even! It took a few tries, but I finally got it and these earrings were born.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs.

Bridal Necklace: Swarovski Crystal Pearl Necklace With Silver Flowers

I was inspired to make this necklace by a friend who loves antique jewelry. She asked if I could make something that looked vintage, which is when I came up with this idea.

I originally set out to make a bib necklace comprised of wire flowers with Swarovski crystal pearls in the center. However, as I created it, I decided that the wire daisies would look better as a smaller pendant. With the way they're connected, they resemble a lace doily -- which to me, always reminds me of my Grandma's home.

The rest of the necklace is fairly simple; I strung some Swarovski crystal pearls and connected them with floral accents. I really like how it came out, though, and think that it does look like a piece that my Grandma would've worn or that you'd find in an antique shop. It's a pearl necklace plus.

What's great about this piece is that it works as a wedding necklace or with a casual outfit. It would work really well with a sweater set. Pearls are great because they're so versatile, both in wearing them and when it comes to incorporating them into jewelry.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs.