Friday, February 27, 2015

Jewellery Maker's Basic Tool Kit

5 essential jewellery making tools for beginners


If you're new to jewellery making, it's easy to feel intimidated by the array of tools available. It can be a daunting feeling trying to work out which tools you need and what are they all used for. After all, you've never made jewellery before! But there's no need to buy every tool available - you only need to make a small investment to get started and then you can add to it as you go along. Here's my selection of basic tools you'll need as you start out on your jewellery making journey.

Chain nose pliers

This is my number one "must have" pair of pliers in your tool kit. They have a flat surface on the inner side of each jaw giving you good purchase when you grip things with them. Look for pliers that have a fine tapered point so that you can get into tight spots easily. They should also have a spring mechanism to minimise the amount of effort you need to exert when you use them and they should fit your hand size - i.e. not too large and not too small. I use Beadalon Slim Chain Nose Pliers

Round nose pliers

Round nose pliers are my go-to tool for making loops - these are indespensable when working with eye pins and head pins. They have two round jaws which taper from the base to the tip. Once again, you want to look for comfort in the grip and a spring mechanism to minimise fatigue when you use them for extended periods of time. I also like my pliers to have only a small gap between the base of the two jaws. If the gap is too large, you will find it difficult to grip the wire. My choice is the Beadsmith round nose pliers which are included in the Ergo 4 piece set.

Flat Nose Pliers
Not everyone agrees that flat nose pliers need to be included in the basic jewelry making tool kit but I find them essential for making a sharp bend prior to forming loops. Flat nose pliers have two broad, flat jaws designed for gripping larger surfaces. Look for pliers with a well defined edge on the jaws. I like the Beadsmith flat nose pliers from their Ergo 4 piece set

Flush Cutters, Wire Cutters, Side Cutters and Nippers
You'll use cutters all the time to trim away excess wire and to cut stringing materials to length and there is an array of different types of cutters to choose from. But I prefer flush cutters because they cut the wire with one flush side (desirable) and one pointed side, whereas regular cutters leave a  bevel (point) on both sides. Look for flush cutters with a tapered point so you can nip in difficult to reach places. A spring mechanism is essental to give you more control and to minimise hand strain. My choice for flush cutters is the Beadalon Flush Cutter.


A point to note about cutters is that they are NOT designed to be used with memory wire. Cutting memory wire with your wire cutters will permanently damage the cutting edge of the blades. Use memory wire shears if you intend to work with memory wire.

Beading Mat
This useful mat provides a cushioned surface to work on and prevents beads from rolling around your work space or onto the floor. Select one in a light shade for general use and one in a dark shade for working with light coloured beads - it's much easier on the eyes! This 3-piece set of beading mats gives you a selection of colours.

As you grow in skill and want to move on to different jewellery making techniques, like most of us, you will probably expand your collection to include more specialised tools but this basic set will still be your most-used tools.

Just remember, that your work will only ever be as good as the tools you use. Invest wisely in the basic tools and they will last you for years, but there is no need to spend a small fortune - there are many well-priced tools on the market, like those suggested, that will do a perfectly good job.

If you found this information helpful, you might also like these posts:
Basic Jewellery Making Techniques

Pin this for Later!
5 Basic jewellery making tools guide


Happy jewellery-making!

'Til next time.....








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