Anyone who has not learned the wire work basic I suggest you do so. Jewelry making newbies love memory wire. The other choose is using softer metal like silver or gold filled. Make sure of the gauge size so its easier too work with. Buy a book or talk a class and try easy techiques with proper tools. Bead stringing is where most beginning jewelry makers start, and with good reason. Anyone who has wanted to work with metal but wasn't sure about how can learn in this blog.
For earrings, first decide what type of earrings you will make. For pierced ears I find fishhooks the easiest as you can buy these ready made and simply attach your earring design to them. I use head pins to make dangly earrings. Beads can easily be threaded onto them and the flat base leaves a smooth finish at the end of the earring. However, stud earrings and clip on earrings are also possible. You buy the backings for these and beads or designs can be glued into place. If you have the time and want more creative designs take old buttons or earrings (clipons) and glue them into your new designs. You can use them for a new ring or bracelet, even a necklace. For necklaces you require thread, at a thickness which fits easily through your beads. This needs to be strong, I use waxed linen thread but also nylon would be perfect. And you will need a method on fastening the finished necklace together. Jump rings are just small rings of metal which hook into bolt rings, which are the metal rings with the small lever to open and shut them.I recommend, but it is not essential, a bead board. These have grooves running around them and inch/centimetre markings so that you can easily measure and design your necklace before stringing it together, this avoids having to restring it to make changes or correct mistakes.The basic toolkit includes round-nosed pliers, flat-nosed pliers and flush wire cutters. These are for creating loops in the wire to attach the findings or other beads and for cutting the wire with a flat edge so as not to leave any sharp edges on your jewelery.
Next lay out your beads in the desired pattern and when you are happy, start by tying the jump ring (a complete circle of wire) onto one end then thread the beads onto your linen or nylon thread. Depending on the thickness of the thread a needle may be useful but note that the smaller beads will not always pass over the eye of the needle. You may find something called a jewellery needle, but this is just a needle with a small eye and is not particularly specialised for jewellery making.Be careful when adding the bolt ring (necklace fastening with the lever) to the other end. If you tie a necklace too loosely then the beads move around, too tightly and they bunch together. A small amount of practice may be required before you can feel how tight it should be. Earrings: Arrange the beads you want on a head pin then cut off the excess with the wire cutters leaving around 1cm above the beads. Then using the round-nosed pliers curl the excess wire into a loop and pinch closed if necessary with the flat-nosed pliers. Attach this to the base of your fish hook to complete the earring.
Once you have practiced with a few simple designs you will no doubt want to tackle some more complicated designs.One of the most effective designs is adding a pendant to a necklace, either a single pendant in a Y shape, or one longer and two shorter pendants at either side. Pendants may be added by using a head pin in the same way I described making earrings in the previous article. Or pendants can be purchased specially if you would like to use a certain charm like a butterfly or angel. Again be careful of the weight of the finished piece. I find 16 inches with a 1.5 or 2 inch pendant looks very nice.You could make an extra long necklace or a necklace with many strands. Maybe use invisible wire to make your necklace. Use rougher thread and tie a knot either side of the bead to make it stay and leave gaps between the beads.You can add two or three head pins with beads on to the fish hooks, making them various lengths. Maybe you could use an eye pin (which has a loop instead of a head on it) to add a larger bead at the top and hang other beads from that. Or use eye pins to make a string of beads to attach to the fish hook.You can buy the findings for chandelier earrings and add your own beads. Or buy cages for beads to make earrings or necklaces (though it is possible to make these yourself with wire work.)
The basics: Threading the bead onto the wire coil, then cut the wire, leaving 0.5inches or 1cm on either side. Using the round-nosed pliers curl these ends into a loop. Do this with several beads and you can link them together in a chain.Making your own eyepin: Cut the wire to your desired length. Flush cut the ends. Place one end of your wire at the back of the round-nosed pliers then curl it al the way round. Next, using the chain-nosed pliers bend the loop back towards yourself, this is called breaking the neck and should create a curve below the loop. Then to shape the eyepin, put the loop back onto the round nose pliers and bend the length of wire until it is straight. Do this at both ends if you wish.Making a spiral: Cut a length of wire depending on what size you want the spiral to be (if making two or more of the same size remember what length you used.) Next, using the tip of your round-nosed pliers curl the end of the wire into a tight circle. Then with the flat-nosed pliers grip tightly and curl the wire around on itself. To finish curl a small loop back the opposite way to enable you to attach it to you jewellery piece.Spirals can be made closed or open (open take a bit of practice to keep the space even). The open ones can also be made uneven, of course with short sharp movements. You can put beads on them, make smaller ones and attach them to larger ones. Hammer them flat.S-links: These are my favourite things to make. They are so simple yet look professional when done. Flush cut 9cm of wire, create two small loops at the ends of the wire, in opposite directions. Then, gripping the wire at the base of the small loop bend a larger loop in the opposite direction. Repeat this at the other end. If desired flatten the outer edges of the large loops with the chasing hammer.Of course there are many other shapes that can be made with the wire. Once you have mastered the basics you can use your imagination to invent your own shapes or there are many books available on the subject.