11/19/12

4 must have Jewelry tools for the budget savvy beginner


When it comes to jewelry making budget can be an issue, especially when you are first starting out. You want to be able to get good quality beads and supplies without having to spend all your money on tools. And trust me as I’m sure you realized there are A LOT of different tools out there. So where do you start?

Once you decide the type of jewelry you want to make the next step is to find out what types of tools you are going to need. Books and other resources can be very expensive and there are a lot of free resources out there for you to find. I recommend doing some web-searches, that’s where I started. Kudos on finding this blog by the way. :-) I also recommend you tube, if there is anything you want to lean odds are you can find a video for it on you tube. Many jewelry stores or blogs post free videos for you to learn how to do many different jewelry techniques.

(Video link posts to come later)

There are certain tools of the trade that you will find many of these resources mentioning.  I can tell you that there are a few things out there you that will make your life a whole lot easier. J While you’re still learning or if you’re just starting out and don’t want to plunk down a whole lot of money right away for tools there are also few things you can live without.

If you can find an inexpensive ‘kit’ that has em’ all go for it! I love those kits they are a good place to start. I have gotten some of the most fun little beads and finding [clasps, headpins, crimp beads etc...] in those types of kits. Just keep in mind though that the quality is not always the best in those ‘contain all’ kits and so you may have to replace your tools at a much faster rate. [That happened to me :-[ ] But when you’re just starting out these are super fun and often times come with instructions and patterns as well which are fun to start with.

If you do want to use a little more money to get a little better quality there are some tips to help you be shopping savvy.

1. The first thing you might want to reach for would be a pair of pliers:
 

They have what they call chain nose and what they call bent nose pliers. They each have their own plusses and minuses. If you are doing basic beading or earring work with wire headpins I recommend going with the bent nose pliers first.
 
( The pliers pictured above are bent nose pliers. The Chain (or straight) nose pliers  below are also handy tools)
 
 
The reason why is that they are more maneuverable and give you more grip. They also tend to have a narrower tip which makes it easier for them to fit into tight spaces. The chain nose pliers seem more versatile because they also come with wire cutters [which would save you money] but I always recommend getting separate wire cutters or flush cutters. These would help you to make closer and straighter cuts without all the twisting it often takes to get the chain nose pliers in there.

If you plan to do more work with jewelry wire I do recommend springing for both because having two pairs of pliers is like having two hands instead of one.

If you have a very limited budget I recommend skipping the chain nose in favor of a good pair of round nose pliers.

2. Round nose pliers:

These have to rounded tips that tapper into a cone shape in their jaw. The size and type that you want depends on the type of jewelry that you want to make. These allow you to make loops and curved shapes in your jewelry wire or head pins.

3.Wire or ‘flush cutters’:

A good pair of wire cutters can be your best friend. This is why I recommend having a separate pair of cutters. They allow you to make clean strait cuts very close to the jewelry you are working with. They also allow you to put chain or any other wires or stringing materials you may be using.

There are also different sizes of these based on the gage or (size) of wire you are working with. The smaller the gage on the wire the thicker around it is. Ex: 18 gage wire would be much thicker and stronger than say 24 gage. If you are having trouble determining which cutters you need you can always ask. I recommend shopping in bead specialty stores rather than large chain stores because they will be more available to answer your questions.

4. Crimping pliers:
 

If you are going to be doing a lot of bead stringing I recommend a good pair of crimping pliers.

These are basically just like they sound. When you finish a string of beads a good way to close it is to use crimp beads. (I will post more on this later) These pliers not only flatten the bead but it neatly folds it. This creates a stronger hold. If you just simply flatten the bead it will be much easier for the strand to come apart. You flatten the bead first by using the biggest opening in the crimpers ( at the back of the pliers) this will give you a flattened bead with a slight ‘dip’ or bend in the middle. You then turn the flattened bead so that it is now vertical and flatten of crimp it again so that it neatly fold the bead in half. (A detailed tutorial to follow)

There are also different sizes of crimpers. If you plan on doing very very small bead work you might want to look into a micro crimper. This works with much smaller crimp beads.

If you have a heavier strand you’re going to want a bigger crimp bead, much lighter strands can use smaller crimp beads.

 

Remember you can always find help and tutorials online and I will post some more myself so you can get more from your new tools.

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