Jewelry making is so much fun, and many projects are surprisingly easy! I remember the thrill I felt when I made my first bracelet; it was very basic, made with inexpensive materials, but it came out so pretty and took barely any time at all to make.
We have put together a collection of our favorite picks for the aspiring jewelry maker – an assortment of tutorials, books, supplies and kits for a variety of jewelry making techniques, and you’ll be happy to see that it’s very affordable to get started.
Whether you want to create jewelry yourself to give as gifts, make jewelry to sell, or have someone on your gift list who is thinking about trying their hand at jewelry making, these items will get you off to a great start.
It’s really kind of crazy how many catalogs we get in the mail, especially this time of year. I like leafing through many of them, but pretty and inspirational as they are, I don’t really need 30 Pottery Barn or Sundance catalogs in one year.
Every time I put a pile of them in the recycling, I used to think to myself: there must be something I could do with these instead of just throwing them out. And there is! There are tons of paper crafts and DIY projects you can use them for, and one of my favorites is making paper beads. (more…)
This time of year, I always start longing for a house in the country, or at least a house of my own with a garden where I could grow vegetables and herbs and spend sunny afternoons weeding and pruning and picking homegrown lettuce for a dinner salad. Maybe one day… for now, I’m in an apartment in a large city, and the only green around me are the trees in neighboring yards.
To add a bit more living nature to my life, I have house plants and plans for a windowsill herb garden. But I recently found another awesome way to add more greenery to my everyday life: plant jewelry. Crafty (and green-thumbed) jewelry designers have come up with a variety of styles that admittedly do need a little bit of maintenance (some are to be watered on a regular basis; others should get just the right amount of sun to stay healthy), but that’s a small price to pay to be closer to nature!
Here are some fabulous finds:
1. Self-sustaining terrarium curve necklace from With Roots
This step-by-step project is inspired by a technique called chainmaille (sometimes spelled chain maille, chain mail, or chainmail) – a really fun and relatively easy method to create both simple and very intricate pieces of jewelry from jump rings. I have been dabbling in it for a little while, and it is very addictive!
The charm bracelet we’re creating today is even easier though, and it’s not technically chainmaille, just inspired by it. It is a low-cost, super easy project with (I think) a very nice end result. You can either use sterling silver rings, or if you want to keep the cost even lower, use base metal or silver plated jump rings. For a more colorful version, try using a mix of gold and silver rings, or jump rings in different colors (black, red, copper, etc.)
My bracelet is 6.25″ long, and to create it, I used:
Two pliers (I use pointed flat nose ones)
74 open jump rings (5.5 mm)
1 lobster clasp
Tiny lobster clasp(s)
Jump ring(s) for the charm(s)
Start by opening all your jump rings (but keep one of them closed to start the bracelet with).You want to hold each ring with both pliers and then bend one side of the ring away from or towards you. Do not pull the ends apart – very important! You want them to connect again as close to seamless as you can get, and you it won’t happen if you pull. Always bend.
Once they’re all open, you’re ready to start. Hold your one closed ring with one plier and hook two of the open rings onto the closed one. Close them by bending the ends together (as described above). Then take two more open rings, attach them to these two rings and bend together. Keep doing this until you get to your desired bracelet length (remember to factor in the clasp as well). End with a single jump ring and hook your lobster clasp onto it before closing.
(Click on the photos to see them larger)
That’s it! How unbelievably easy was that?
Now you can add charms if you want, either several, or as I did, just one large. For several, layout your bracelet flat, position the charms where you want them, and just hook them on with jump rings.
For my bracelet, I took an old earring apart (old costume jewelry pieces make great charms!) and used this fleur-de-lis piece as my single large charm. You can hook that on with a jump ring too, but I’m always changing my jewelry around, so I attached it to a small lobster clasp first and just hooked that onto the bracelet. It makes it so easy to move it to another bracelet, necklace, or anything you want to add it to.