How to Make Jewelry

Making your own jewelry can be a fun and rewarding hobby. With some simple tools and materials, you can create beautiful and unique pieces to wear or give as gifts. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through all the steps and techniques for crafting your own jewelry.

Getting Started with Jewelry Making

Before you begin making jewelry, you'll need to gather some basic tools and supplies. Here's an overview of the essentials:

Jewelry Making Tools

  • Jewelry pliers - Use flat nose, round nose, and chain nose pliers for bending, shaping, and cutting wire and metal.
  • Wire cutters - Essential for cutting jump rings, wire, and other jewelry components.
  • Jewelry saw - For cutting shapes and designs out of sheet metal. A saw frame holds the replaceable saw blades.
  • Jewelry files - Filing tools smooth rough edges and polish metal. Needle files, flat files, and emery boards all work.
  • Sandpaper - Like files, sandpaper smoothes and shapes metal. Use varying grits from coarse to fine.
  • Mandrels - Stainless steel rods for shaping rings and bangles.
  • Hammers - A steel jewelry hammer can texture metal with hammer blows. Chasing hammers have a flat, round, or square end.
  • Drill - A variable speed drill makes quick work of drilling holes for rivets or wire. Jewelry drill bits come in many sizes.
  • Polishing cloths - After filing and sanding, use polishing cloths to buff metal to a shine.

Jewelry Making Materials

  • Metal - Precious metals like gold or silver, or non-precious metals like copper, brass, and steel. Use wire, sheet, beads, or casting grain.
  • Gemstones - Natural or synthetic stones like quartz, agate, onyx, etc.
  • Beads - Glass, metal, wood, or other beads with holes for stringing.
  • Jewelry findings - Ready-made components like clasps, jump rings, pin backs, head pins, and eye pins.
  • Jewelry chain - Available in different metals in a variety of styles.
  • Jewelry tools - Like tweezers, glue, tape, and an engraving tool.

Jewelry Making Supplies

  • Jewelry displays and packaging - Essential if you plan on selling your work. Displays busts, pillows, stands, and gift boxes showcase your pieces.
  • Jeweler's workbench - Have a dedicated bench with a pegboard, storage, and a durable work surface.
  • Jeweler's vise - Holds work securely as you saw, file, or hammer. Can be mounted or freestanding.
  • Jewelry magnifier - Optivisors and magnifying glasses help see small components during intricate work.
  • Jewelery box - Keep all your essential tools and supplies organized and in one place.

Jewelry Making Techniques

With your tools and materials ready, it's time to learn some beginner jewelry making techniques. Once you master the basics, you can apply these techniques to make all kinds of jewelry designs.

Stringing and Knotting

The simplest technique is stringing beads and spacers onto flexible beading wire. Crimp beads on each end to form loops for attaching a clasp. For knotting, make an overhand knot between each bead to keep them in place.

Wire Wrapping

Bend and twist wire to make rings, earrings, pendants, and more. Use pliers to grip the wire and shape simple loops and spirals. Wrap wire around stones to create wire-wrapped beads.

Cold Connections

Connect jewelry components without heating or soldering. Options include using eye pins, linking split key rings, or opening and closing jump rings. Crimp beads and crimp covers make cold connections too.


Use a riveting hammer to flare tube rivets through holes and lock components together. Rivets come in many head shapes and finishes.

Metal Stamping

Use steel letter and design stamps with a hammer to imprint words or patterns into metal. Anneal copper and silver to soften them for stamping.

Metal Hole Punching

Punch clean holes in metal quickly with a hole punch pliers. Rotate the pliers after each squeeze for round, even holes. Use for stringing or riveting.

Metal Bending

Shape metal wire or sheet into angles, curves, rings, and bangles. Bend wire around a dowel or ring mandrel. For sheet, anneal first and use wood or steel forms.

Metal Cutting

Cut shapes from sheet metal with jeweler's saws or snip softer wire with cutters. Lubricate saw blades for smooth cutting and minimal clogging.

Jewelry Designs to Try

Once you've practiced some beginner skills, put them to use in these fun and stylish jewelry projects:

Beaded Bracelet or Necklace

  • String beads in colors and patterns onto beading wire.
  • Separate beads with small spacers for texture.
  • Crimp ends and add a clasp for closure.

Wire Wrapped Pendant

  • Shape wire into spirals, loops, or waves with pliers.
  • Wrap wire around stones, crystals, sea glass or charms.
  • Add a jump ring and chain to create a necklace.

Engraved Cuff Bracelet

  • Cut a cuff shape from sheet metal with a jeweler's saw.
  • File edges smooth and use sandpaper to round and polish.
  • Stamp letters, numbers, or designs using steel stamps and a hammer.

Textured Ring

  • Size a ring band to your finger and cut metal wire to length.
  • Use hammers to create dents, bumps, or other textures on the band.
  • Wrap wire ends together to close the ring.

Cold Connected Earrings

  • Cut out earring shapes from sheet metal with a saw.
  • Use eye pins to connect shapes to French wire findings.
  • Or link split key rings or jump rings to connect components.

Riveted Leather Cuff

  • Cut leather cord or cuff band to desired length.
  • Arrange decorative metal pieces like coins or shapes.
  • Rivet all components together with a hammer.

With a beginner's set of tools and techniques, the jewelry making possibilities are endless! Experiment with different materials and designs to find your unique style. The more you practice, the more your skills will improve. So grab your pliers and beads and start creating your own beautiful jewelry pieces today.