Have you ever spotted an expensive necklace at a store and said to yourself- ‘I could make that at home myself’? And have you ever looked at art supplies and been inspired to create accessories and jewellery of your own design?
If you have, then you’re not alone in your search for the perfect DIY hobby that is also a form of art. There are millions of women who are creating handmade fashion jewellery at home for personal wear, and some have even successfully turned their hobbies into a flourishing business.
DIY jewellery is becoming quite a passion for those with a creative flair, combining fun, creative and unique ideas, all realized into personalised, colourful and rare pieces of homegrown jewellery.
Why make DIY jewellery, you ask? The reasons are galore.
- It’s a fun, interesting hobby.
- It’s not expensive.
- It gives you the option of creating the jewellery that you would otherwise spend loads of money on.
- It gives you tremendous creative freedom and satisfaction.
- It can even be turned into a lucrative side-business!
Our detailed guide will give you great tips, insights and helpful information on how to get started with your own DIY jewellery project
1. Start simple
Heads up! You won’t become a pro on your first attempt at making a DIY bracelet or pair of DIY earrings at home. What you will become is acquainted with the vastly addictive and layered process of DIY jewellery. And what fun it will be!
Start by making a simple bead necklace or a bracelet. All you will need is a bunch of coloured beads and craft wire. To start with you can buy a jewellery making kit which are available online or at craft stores. These come equipped with looms, cords, pendants, beads, strings, etc. Or just buy a couple of beads and wires from a local craft store and get started. Consider this a practice round and whatever comes out of it will be encouraging, we promise.
2. Learn about different materials
This is a shiny big playground of numerous materials you can work with. The most popular types of materials used to make jewellery at home are listed below.
- Glass/plastic beads
- Coloured feathers/crystals/wood
- Clay/ metal clay/ polymer clay
- Fused glass
- Silk threads
3. Decide what you want to start with
It helps to start with one or two particular types of material when you are just a beginner in the art of handmade jewellery.
The availability of different types of material as well as the possibilities of using them all are so wide that it can be overwhelming in the initial stages. Metals, glass, fabric, plastic – moulded, plated, embroidered, welded, all at once; not advisable to learn it all together.
Perhaps you can start by using marble and yarn at first, or use beads and tube wire, or even threads and leather. Zero in on two to three basic materials that you will first gain mastery over, which when established will lead you to experimenting and trying all kinds of materials that you might want to use in the future.
4. Watch online tutorials and search the web
Once you have decided on the materials, start watching online tutorials for techniques and instructions. Some of these short YouTube tutorials will teach you how to make jewellery using simple materials already available at home (use these for core techniques) while other videos may teach you how to make jewellery using the material you have chosen to work with. E.g. how to make braided charm bracelets or how to make hemp necklaces at home. In addition to watching online videos, search the web to understand the step-by-step and detailed process of making each type of jewellery, i.e how to make drop chain earrings, DIY beaded bracelet, or how to make a silk thread necklace. Textual guides on the internet will show you alternative techniques that may not have been covered in the tutorial videos.
5. Learn the basic techniques and skills
Whatever material you decide to work with, you will have to master a few skills first. E.g. how to braid a leather string using Celtic knots or nautical knots, what kind of clasps to use for different types of necklaces, or how to tie thread tassels, suede or glass beads over earring hooks, etc. These basic techniques that you learn can be your groundwork for using any kind of material in the future while being creative with your ideas.
6. Buy the right tools
At first, you can make do with the basic tool kit you have at home. Use pliers and wire cutters as well as glue or paint. Once you have hands on practice, you can invest in more specialised tools for jewellery making. With perseverance and patience, you will come to realise that your DIY project has evolved into a professional art, at which point you can even invest in professional artist tools including a 3D printer. Investing in them will even help you sell self-designed and self-made jewellery and start an independent business.
Basic tools and materials that you will need to make jewellery are listed below:
- Wire Cutters
- Round nose pliers
- Flat nose pliers
- Chain nose pliers
- Crimp pliers
7. Get the right supplies
At this stage, you will need the specific supplies you want to work with. You will also have to learn the technical aspects of the supplies you will need.
Stringing materials include beading cords, illusion cords, leather/suede cords, jewellery chains/stainless steel wire strands, memory wire, jewellery wire, etc.
You will also need thick headpins for looping, thin ones for wrapping, eye pins, crimp beads, jump rings, clasps (spring, lobster claw or toggle), earbacks, fish hooks, studs (for earrings), etc.
While creating your own designs out of raw materials may be a tricky and complicated move, you can always start working with jewellery findings. These are assorted jewellery making essentials or components ideal for beginners and you can easily buy them online.
Check out our list of online suppliers from where you can buy jewellery making kits, tools, jewellery findings and supplies.
Before you order anything online, do visit a local craft store or a jewellery store to check out the sizes and specifications of materials and supplies. Hold essential pieces in your hand physically to understand what exactly you’d be ordering online. That way you are aware of the size and don’t end up ordering the wrong kind of findings or beads.
8. Find creative inspiration for your designs
Go online, browse jewellery magazines or window shop at jewellery stores to come up with new and creative ideas for jewellery designs. For example, you could make half-moon clay earrings with ringed chains, a wrap bracelet using studs and threads, a tassel hoop earrings using embroidery floss, a colourful hemp and round stone necklace, a multi-layered woven glass bead necklace… the ideas will keep pouring in. Besides, there are endless designs that you can create using your own ideas & concepts while getting a little help from reference points online.
9. Make time and set a schedule
The craft of making artificial jewellery at home is known to be highly rewarding creatively, thousands of DIY addicts would agree. However, in case if life gets in the way or you get too busy with your demanding routines, it’s a good idea to set apart some time daily to devote yourself to your jewellery making craft, even better if you have a dedicated workspace that helps you get in the flow.
10. Get reviews from friends and family
Once you have created some of your own designs in form of handmade jewellery, show it to your trusted friends, neighbours and family. This will help you get constructive criticism, understand the areas in your designs that might be potentially flawed, conceptually or technically, and more often than not will be a highly encouraging and confidence-building exercise. Even if you do find that your designs are not met with the applause you initially expected, don’t be discouraged. This is your first attempt at DIY jewellery, and no one masters the art in the first few attempts. Remember it takes patience, time and discipline.
11. Join the DIY community
Join an online DIY community, forum or Facebook page to discuss ideas and inspirations as well as to learn about various designing techniques, vendors, materials, etc. Take an online course to get your jewellery making skills to the next level. Keep an eye out for local art and craft fairs where handmade jewellery is being sold. Use social media to follow and connect with fellow DIY enthusiasts, stay alert when it comes to new jewellery trends so that your own designs are enriched by a wide pool of sources and resources.
Once you start making your own jewellery, you will not want to stop. Your DIY jewellery making skills will come in handy when you want unique jewellery for a new outfit, or when you want to gift a friend something handmade or even when you want to unwind and indulge in a little creative time. When you get good at it, you can even think about upgrading your tools, conceptualising more designs, and commercialising your DIY jewellery projects.