Move over SXSW, Austin Fashion Week 2016 (“AFW”) is coming and it’s revving up into a …
Crafting jewelry can bring anyone a unique kind of joy. Creating personal gifts, embracing creativity, and selling products are just some of the excitements that come with starting this hobby.
However, it can be difficult for new homemade jewelers to know where to begin. Before crafting any beaded bracelets or quirky rings, you’ll need to do some research and gather the right materials. Use the following step-by-step guide to get your jewelry-making mini-business up and running:
Step One: Find Your Style
Though your tastes and abilities will change and grow with your business, you’ll need to first pick a kind of jewelry that most interests you. Do you want to focus on beads and glassware, or are you more interested in shaping and etching metal? Will your style be eclectic, trendy, or minimalist? Finding style inspiration will help you know what tools and materials you need to collect.
Step Two: Gather Tools and Materials
Before you can make any piece, you’ll need some supplies. While there are many online suppliers of bulk and specialty jewelry crafting items, Craftsy recommends heading to a local craft store first. If you’re inexperienced, in-person shopping can help you understand exactly what you’re buying, and craft store employees can help you find what you need.
If you’re focused on fashion jewelry, you’ll mostly be bending wires, using pre-made chain, and purchasing finished beads. Shopify writes that the extent of the tools required for fashion jewelry crafting is minimal. Needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, and glue might be the extent of your toolbox.
However, if you’re looking to mold glass and metals, more research and specialty equipment might be necessary. For example, you’ll need to know intimate details of many jewelry metals, from silver to stainless steel 304, the most common grade of stainless steel. Check out Fire Mountain Gems and Beads for an extensive material guideline.
Step Three: Practice Basic Skills
Next, practice the building block skills of your chosen jewelry style, from beading to gem-setting. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts aren’t successful. Practice makes perfect!
Step Four: Get Good at a Few Staples Items
Once you’ve been making jewelry for a while, you’ll start to master some basic skills and pieces. At this stage, sharing work with friends and family is a great way to stay inspired. If you’re planning on building a business, now is the time to start selling staple items that can be produced quickly. Don’t forget to observe which styles most interest buyers.
Step Five: Rediscover Your Style
One of the most rewarding steps in any artist’s journey is rediscovering the craft they love. Once you’ve learned to make a variety of common items, you might catch yourself experimenting with form, color, and style. Let creativity guide your next creations and business choices, and you might discover an item that sells like crazy, or a gift truly overwhelms someone special.
Using this guide, you’ll be on the path to a fun and rewarding journey in jewelry making. Happy crafting!