If I Were the Queen of Handmade Jewelry

If I ever become the queen of handmade jewelry, on my very first day I will issue a proclamation:

"Hear ye, hear ye, loyal jewelry-making subjects. From this day forward, thou art no longer required to make earrings that match."Asymmetrical is funky Look at the earrings above. Aren't they fun and funky? Isn't it obvious that I had a joyful time creating them? It's easy if you follow a few simple non-rule rules:

If you use beads, (sometimes I don't) keep them in the same color family.When you work, go full-on creative, make each pair a dangly work of art. If you run short of ideas, inspire your creativity with a theme. (I like Wild Woman.) When you're finished, name each pair, like the work of art it is. My customers love that. Remember: Just because you call them a "pair," it doesn't mean they have to match.
No, really! Your earrings don't have to match

I remember my first pair of non-matching earrings. Of course, I didn't think of my li…

Playing With Wire

Do you get so caught up in precision jewelry techniques that you miss the joy of the creative process?

We jewelry crafters and artisans are truly fabulous. We transform simple wire, metal, stones, and glass into grand, elegant, funky, or even whimsical jewelry. It's a joyful craft indeed.
We really shouldn't take it so seriously.
Metalwork can be a bit tedious until you get the hang of it, but working with wire should feel like an exciting creative experience from day one.
It should feel like fun... like child's play.
Learn the basics
Of course, you do have to learn a few things first. Angles, measurements, and nearly perfect curves and loops are important to beautiful, well-made wire jewelry. You should learn at least a few rules before you get down to breaking them all.
But wire jewelry making rules are only half the story. Learn the rules, then make your wire jewelry even better by adding in your own originality, your own ideas, and above all your own sense of playful exc…

A Big Bold Beautiful Woman Wants Handcrafted Jewelry That's BIg Bold & Beautiful Like Her

A plus-sized jewelry lover may wander from booth to booth at an arts and craft show before she finds a single piece of jewelry she wants to wear. You can be the one who gives her what she wants.

What does she want? A big beautiful woman wants jewelry that's big, bold and beautiful, just like her. Unfortunately, most handcrafted jewelry designers cater to the petite modelesque women portrayed in fashion magazines. I'm guilty too. I've been known to make standard 7-inch bracelets and 16-inch chokers, but these “norms” are far from normal.

Go Bigger and Bolder

You don't have to change your jewelry making style to create beaded jewelry for big and beautiful plus-sized customers. Just go bigger and bolder.

If big and bold jewelry is a new venture for you, test the waters. Experiment a few pieces at a time. Take one of your existing beaded designs and make it longer. Create a few plus-sized pieces to add to your inventory and see what your customers think.

You will need to m…

Build a Bracelet With Your Own Creative Style

Some people like to have a bracelet or necklace planned every step of the way: this bead will go here, that shape will go there. That's the way most jewelry instructors teach. 

Everybody follows the same steps. Everybody uses the same beads. And everybody goes home with the exact same piece of jewelry.

Why not try it another way? 

First of all, stop doing what everyone else does! Build your bracelet using wire shapes and creativity. 

If you've created jewelry with wire before, either freehand or with a jig, you know how to make wire shapes. If you don't know how to make wire shapes, get some wire and practice.Once you figure out how to make a few simple wire shapes, you'll be on your way to building a fabulously bold bracelet.You can make your bracelet a delicate piece if you prefer. Simply use a smaller guage wire and create delicate shapes shapes.
Round Nosed PliersNeedle Nosed PliersWire CuttersIf you're at least a beginning jewelry maker, you no doubt have thes…

More Simple Metalwork Basics - Adding Textures, Letters & Cut-Outs

If I were conducting an in-person metal class, by the end of lesson one I would have reminded you to purchase a jeweler's saw and lots of blades to practice cutting. And if you returned to class the following week, (some students think working with metal is so difficult they don't return after the first class) I would welcome you back, congratulate you on getting over any beginner's frustration and ask you to pull out your first practice piece.
A Simple BeginningHopefully you started out simply, creating a simple shape for a pendant or perhaps two pieces for a pair of earrings. By the second class you probably would have figured out that a round shape sounds simple enough, but it's one of the hardest shapes to cut; so maybe you created a triangle or perhaps an oval instead.
You've cut out your first piece, now you are ready to take the next step to turn that simple metal shape into something creative.
Smooth the Rough EdgesNo matter how gracefully you perform up-and-d…

A Day Without Headpins (Headpins Are Great But ...)

I have nothing against headpins. I use them too, but sometimes you need a change to jumpstart your creativity.

No Headpins Allowed
Here's a crazy jewelry making idea. Give up headpins for just one day.

No headpins! A crazy notion indeed. Headpins are a jewelry making staple. An earring DIY must-have. Headpin + bead + loop + earwires = earrings. You can do it with your eyes closed. Why would you reject your dependable, little flat-headed jewelry making friends?

I love headpins too; but when you let go of what you usually do, you challenge your creativity. Try it for just one day.


PliersRound nosed pliersCuttersHammer and block - optionalPull out your wire jig if you have one

20 and 16 gauge wire - 20 fits bead holes best. 16 makes bold shapes.Beads - flat beads work wellEar-wires
Wire, the great headpin alternative
Learn a few basic no headpin techniques. Use your imagination; and soon you'll have tons of your own no headpin ideas.

Coiled "Headpin" 

Cut 2…

Wire Jewelry Making: Tree Thee For Christmas

Don't just deck the halls this Christmas. Create a piece of wire jewelry that lets you take a bit of holiday cheer wherever you go. Make a wire Christmas tree pin. Wear it on your sweater, coat, scarf or hat for a unique holiday touch that's bold and creative too.
Creating your own bold wire Christmas tree pin is pretty simple. Once you get the hang of it, you'll want to make a Christmas tree pin for every friend on your Christmas list.
ToolsPliersRound-nosed pliersWire cuttersFiles or sandpaper (Try cushioned emery files)A hammer and anvil or block (Optional)
Materials16 Gauge WireIf you are already creating wire jewelry, use precious metals if that's what you prefer. If you don't have much experience working with wire, try experimenting with copper wire until you get the hang of the technique. Switch to more expensive metals, like sterling silver or gold filled, once you feel comfortable.
Cut Your WireCut a 12 inch piece of 16 gauge wire.If you're using sterling …