The ongoing quest for the ultimate dream of multiple streams of income continues. In a lovely twist, one of my fellow dreamers (Thanks Alyse!) reminded a mutual friend of my jewelry and viola… Two pairs of earrings are sold!
I got a boost of creativity this weekend and after spending 30 minutes to de-fur my jewelry workstation chair (kitty loves that spot) I actually made a few jewelry pieces this weekend. Getting back into the production, using the tools, and creating a few calluses made me remember a vital piece of information in good jewelry design. GREAT tools!
Here are few tips to help you make decisions on what to buy for what you want to do:
What type of beaded jewelry do you want to make? Like any creative job, different types of jewelry requires different tools. Do you love wire work? Make some space for the tools! Wire working tools include round nose pliers, needle nose pliers and wire cutters of many sizes. Looking to create beads on a string? You can get away with a good pair of scissors to cut the stringing material, and a few specialized pliers like crimping pliers for crimping the ends of the jewelry. Once you figure out what you want to play with, you can start your list and the following decisions will help you look at the tools to find the characteristics that will make them work for you.
You will be handling your tools. A lot. Picking tools that are comfortable and easy to handle will make the process much more fun. Look for ergonomic shapes and test them in your hand. Most jewelry shops have samples they use around the showroom, or just ask if you can take them out of the package to see how they feel in your hand. My suggestion for you? If there are only a few dollars between the options, and the more expensive one fits like a glove, go for it.
Quality matters. Take it from me, after you spend $20 on the OK pliers and then create a huge divot in them my cutting hard wire, you will appreciate the higher quality metal. Here’s what to look for – soft and smooth finish on the metal. Inexpensive tools can scratch the wire or beads as you work with them. Look for tools that are coated in rubber to avoid making a mess of the wire surface as you work, or even coat them yourselves after you buy them.
Buy the brand. I know, generic has its appeal in both cost and ease of finding the tools. Those cheap and easy pliers will be great for the first few dozen projects, but you would be amazing how quickly the performance of lower quality tools goes down. I have slowly replaced almost my entire collection of beading tools with the ergonomic options from Beadsmith and love the results I continually get. Lots of great quality tools can be found locally and my favorite haunt is Legendary Beads.
Have you found an unconventional tool that gets the job done for your artwork? I’ll be sharing some of mine in the near future — can’t wait to hear about yours!