If you are hoping to branch out from big box store beads and experiment with semi-precious or gemstones but you aren't quite sure where to start this book make be what you are looking for. Beading with Gemstones starts out with learning what a gemstone is. The author explains that there is no exact definition and that some consider a gemstone as "ornamental stones". She goes on to discuss minerals, organic stones, and rocks, as well as Gemstone Qualities, Birthstones and Healing Stones. From the basic gemstone question Valerie goes on to cover Accent Beads, Precious Metals, Tools and Supplies, plus a section on basic jewelry making techniques.
If you don't know what your birthstone is there is a chart for you to figure it out. My birthstone is Turquoise and I have always felt very lucky because I LOVE TURQUOISE. Or maybe I love turquoise so much BECAUSE it is my birthstone?
I enjoyed this book and over all, would consider this a good book for a beginner jewelry maker and there is lots of inspiration to be found for jewelry makers with more experience as well. Definitely worth adding to your bookshelves.
What is YOUR birthstone?
Do you have a pile of used up gift cards in your home? Do you find yourself wanting to keep them after they are "dead"? I do. I tend to like the colors, images or graphics on many gift cards and usually ask to have them back after I use them up so that I can re-purpose them and use them for another project.
Gift cards make great tools as applicators for lots of things you may not like to get your fingers in like glue, gel or paint. They are also good for scraping dried paint, food or glue off of lots of surfaces including counter tops and dishes. They are a quick and easy book mark and many gift cards can be re-loaded and used over and over again.
I have not been able to find a good jewelry project for my gift cards until I discovered that they cut fairly easily with a really good pair of shears. Then I discovered that they bend and warp in interesting ways once a little heat is added. Those two discoveries lead me to create Recycled Gift Card Necklace for Earth Day. By cutting randomly sized circles, warping them and then adding more color I was able to create a fun and funky repurposed necklace. You can find all of the instructions by clicking on the link to make one of your very own.
How do you re-use your gift cards?
One of the problems you may have if you have been making jewelry a while is how to store your finished pieces in a way that makes them organized as well as visible. It can be difficult to choose jewelry to wear if it's tossed into a drawer in an unorganized heap.
Many jewelry designers own far more jewelry than they could ever possibly wear but like to keep it on hand. Not only is it a reminder of their progress as a designer but many pieces may have been made in a favorite class, on a fun trip, or for a special occasion making them memorabilia as much as wearable art.
But how do you organize, display or store all of those pieces?
The problem is that many ready made storage solutions can be expensive and can also take up a lot of valuable space, especially in smaller rooms. I have rounded up 11 Clever and Easy DIY Jewelry Displays so that you can create your own jewelry storage organization that fits your budget and your space. Many of these pieces can be configured in a way that allows you to store your handmade jewelry in a way that makes sense to you.
And the bonus is that they are not only useful but also pretty to look at adding a decorative element to your room.
How do you store, organize and display the jewelry you make?
If you have a young woman going to prom this season you might find that she is looking for a corsage or boutonniere that is a little different or unusual. Not only do young women seem to be looking for accessories that look nothing like the corsage that their mothers or grandmothers wore to dressy dances they also may not want to wear what everyone else is wearing. They are looking for ways to express their own personal style.
Creating your own bracelet corsage lets you dictate the styles, colors and textures in the accessory you wear. You can match your dress, shoes and other accessories creating a look that is unique and personalized. The best part of the FLOWER CORSAGE BRACELET is that it is a fairly easy, though possibly time consuming, DIY jewelry making project. For a few dollars and a little time digging through the (vintage) jewelry, buttons and other notions you may already have at home you can have a unique and personal accessory to wear at prom, a wedding or other occasions.
After you have danced the night away you won't have to worry about your corsage wilting either. This is one corsage that you will be able to wear again and again or keep with your other memorabilia from your very special evening.
I love adding fibers to jewelry projects. It's an easy way to add a unique texture and color to my pieces without going to the bead store to buy more beads. Fibers may be incorporated as a compliment to the piece or as a major player in the overall design.
Fibers for jewelry making projects might be found simply by rummaging through your general craft supplies like with this Freshwater Pearl Necklace with Fabric Rose Accents Necklace I created where the fiber is actually fabric flowers meant to be stitched onto garments.
But there are also fibers that are meant specifically for jewelry making like soutache, felted beads and WoolyWire Etc come to mind.
If you've not heard of WoolyWire Etc you might be wondering what it is. I recently wrote an article Make a Pendant with WoolyWire Etc reviewing WoolyWire Etc - wool wrapped wire for jewelry making - and showed how it can be used to wrap around a channel type pendant.
I found WoolyWire Etc fun and easy to use and made another WoolyWire Funky Pendant project because I couldn't stop creating with it.
So grab some colored yarn, fabric, twine, WoolyWire Etc or other fibers and use your imagination. You never know what you'll come up with.
Have you ever used fiber in your jewelry projects? What is your favorite fiber to use?
Memory wire bracelets are easy to make and can be made from a variety of beads - everything from Swarovski crystals to plastic. That also means they are economical as a large group project for groups from Girl Scouts to a bridal shower or Mother's Day (this Super Stylish Super Easy Memory Wire Bracelet is a great look for the latter two).
They are great for teens who want to express their individuality and can also be made as a fund raiser for cheer, church or other social groups with meaningful symbols or colors worked into the beads.
While memory wire bracelets are a great beginning project for those new to jewelry making they also make great gifts for people who may have limited mobility in their hands as they are easy to get on and off without a clasp.
It is easy to make one continuous length of memory wire look like several bracelets all stacked together with this Easy Memory Wire Bohemian Bracelet.
Just be sure to use the right cutting tool for the job when working with memory wire. You can find out more about that in this article - 5 Basic Jewelry Making Tools for Beginners
Do you remember the first jewelry making project you made? What was it?
If you've been looking at handmade jewelry and thinking that you might like to start making some of your own you might feel a little overwhelmed by all of the possibilities, especially if you've been wandering the aisles of your local craft or bead store. With all of the tools and equipment you can buy, not to mention all of the beads, it can be hard for a new jewelry maker to know where to start. It is also quite easy to spend quite a bit of money only to arrive home without the items needed to finish a few projects. No one wants that. To help new jewelry makers get started I've written an article 5 Basic Jewelry Making Tools for Beginners that will help you narrow down your first purchase a little. I doesn't really matter what type of jewelry making you plan on pursuing you will probably need these tools. In fact, if you are just starting out it is a good idea to begin with some basic stringing projects in order to get a feel for color, balance and other general design concepts. Stringing will also give you a chance to explore an abundance of colors and techniques helping you to refine your aesthetic and style. You will definitely need these five tools for bead stringing projects. I hope you find the list useful and would love to hear your experience as a beginning jewelry maker. If you've been making jewelry for a while what items would you add to the list?
I've been making jewelry for several years and I truly love it. I've created jewelry for some of the biggest manufacturers, for publication, for sale and I even made a piece that walked the red carpet at the Emmys. I love my "job"!
I also work in the craft and hobby industry as a designer, I've done interior design for television and am a certified floral designer. I enjoy living a life full of creativity and fill my home with creative touches. You can see more of what I do over on The Creative Goddess blog.
I think that jewelry making is lots of fun and I enjoy learning new techniques, experimenting with new supplies, and I love the endless combinations that we can use to create unique pieces of jewelry that express our personal style.
I look forward to getting to know you and would love to connect with you online Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Instagram. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, tell me about you? Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced jewelry maker? What is your jewelry style and what are your favorite tools to use?
This is just a brief note to let you know that 12/31/13 will be my last day as the About.com Jewelry Making Guide. I want to thank my readers for their support and encouragement over the past 15+ years. I will continue to write online about jewelry making and other crafts at my personal blog, Crafty Princess Diaries, at http://www.tammypowley.com and I hope you will become regular readers over there. You will also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Ravelry, and through my email (tammypowley @ yahoo dot com) and newsletter.
Shells, either in the form of pendants or beads, can be excellent additions to your jewelry making. Here is a list of some jewelry projects on this site that included shells: Shell Jewelry.