Where to Get Tools for Making Jewelry

Where to get tools for making jewelry

I often get different jewelry making questions.  (Feel free to contact me to ask me a question!)

Today I got this question:

“I’d like to know where I can find jewelry making tools.”

Answer:

If you’re just getting started making jewelry, first think about the budget you have to spend on tools.  What tools you can start with really vary based on the amount of money you can/want to spend.

When you are just very first getting started it probably makes sense to not spend a ton of money on tools unless you’re really sure it’s something you’re going to keep doing.  Jewelry making tools can get really expensive.  You don’t have to start out buying expensive tools right away.

On top of that, sometimes you don’t really know what tools you’ll use the most.  There are different tools for different types of jewelry making and you’ll probably find that there are certain tools you’ll use the most.

After you’ve been making jewelry for a little while and figure out which tools you’ll actually use the most you can upgrade those tools to the nicer, more expensive versions.

For example, when I first started making wire jewelry I got a beginner set of pliers and wire cutters.  As I’ve learned which tools I use the most (and frankly, as I’ve worn them out) I’ve replaced those specific tools with better quality tools.

(Once you have quality tools they will last you a long time!)

3 Basic Wire Wrapping Tools

If you’re making a lot of wire jewelry, I recommend these 3 basic tools that you’ll use over and over again:  wire cutters, round nose pliers and chain nose pliers.

I also have an article I wrote about making jewelry on a shoestring budget that gives you options for switching out tools for items you may have around your house.

Having said that, I’m going to give you a bunch of options and hopefully at least one of them will work for you.

Where to get tools for making jewelry

Where to get tools for making jewelry:

1.  Your toolbox.

When I got started to begin with I found tools in my dad’s toolbox that worked for some things.

This is not a long term solution if you’re going to be making a lot of jewelry, but if you’re just curious to get started it’s a start.

Steer clear of tools that are serrated or have teeth on them because they’ll leave marks on your wire.

2.  Barrow them.

If you’re just getting started, ask a friend to use hers.  Then you can find out what tools you’ll really use the most and then invest in those.

3.  Buy them at craft stores.

I quickly found that I needed tools not from my dad’s toolbox (see #1) and needed to get a set.  My first set came from A.C. Moore.

And better yet, you can use the coupons that stores like Michael’s, Joann’s or A.C. Moore have online to get 40% or more off a set of tools.  They also sell individual tools so you can pick and choose.

If you don’t have these stores nearby, you can check out their online stores as well and get the same deals most of the time.

4.  Jewelry supply stores.

I purchased the tools I use every day now at Rio Grande.  (I don’t see the set that I purchased on their website right now.)

Here are some options of jewelry supply stores:

Rio Grande

Fire Mountain Gems

Art Beads

Happy Mango Beads has a selection of inexpensive tools.

Basically anywhere you find jewelry making supplies like beads, that store will probably also sell tools.

5.  Amazon

And, of course, like everything else, you can find tools for making jewelry on Amazon.

{That’s an affiliate link for Amazon.  If you make a purchase, I get a tiny percentage of it.  You won’t pay more for using it!}

You can also find them in places like garage sales or sometimes on Craigslist or eBay someone will be selling a lot of jewelry making supplies that they’re no longer using and you can get a good deal on tools.

Have a question for me?  Contact me here.

If you’re just getting started making jewelry, I have a FREE 14 day eCourse that’s an introduction to jewelry making (kind of heavy on wire wrapping because that’s my favorite!)

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Jewelry Making Tool Organization

Jewelry Making Tool Organization

I never really thought too much about organizing my tools in a way that worked for me.  I basically kept them all in a big basket and would grab what I needed out of the basket whenever I was making jewelry.

Then I started to accumulate more and more tools.  I had old ones that I don’t use along with the new ones I use constantly.  I was always digging around.

Then I found this acrylic tool holder.

Jewelry Making Tool Organization

To be honest, I didn’t think it would make that big of a difference.  I figured that I would basically do what I did before, but instead of digging around a basket they would be neatly hanging on this tool organizer.

I was wrong!  This has helped so significantly in my work flow.  I have all of my most used tools right at my fingertips at any time.  I can move it around easily to wherever I’m working.  When I’m making my ETC TV videos, I have everything right there.  I don’t have to stop what I’m doing because I suddenly need to grab a tool I forgot to grab.

At first I tried putting a lot more tools on this thing.  It didn’t work as well.  Now I have the tools that I use most often and it works great!

I got mine at Fire Mountain Gems, but I think these are pretty common at most jewelry supply stores.

How do you organize your jewelry making tools?

Jewelry Supply Thrift Store Haul

I’m always talking about going to the thrift store to find jewelry making supplies.  Sometimes I find jewelry pieces to take apart, but this time I found actual jewelry making supplies.

Make sure to tune in tomorrow for ECT TV Episode 43 where I use some of these supplies to make a fun necklace!

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Wire in Ring Making

Wire in Ring Making

I’m often asked about what wire to use for jewelry making projects.  The answer really depends on the project you’re making.

In this video I tell you about the main wire used for ring making.

Important things to remember:

1.  The wire you use will depend on the actual ring you’re making.  If you’re making a ring from a tutorial of mine, I will tell you what type of wire to use.

2.  If you are new to jewelry making or if you’re experimenting with a ring project, you probably want to use a less expensive wire to experiment with such as copper, brass or a plated copper wire.  You can find these wires in craft stores in the jewelry making section or even in hardware stores (for brass and copper.)

3.  The number for ring gauge is higher for thinner wires and lower for thicker wires.  So 18 gauge wire is thicker than 20 gauge wire.

4.  If you don’t have exactly the gauge of wire that is called for in a project, don’t be afraid to experiment with other gauges of wire.

Rings Every Day Month

Ready for a challenge?  Check out my Rings Every Day Month Challenge coming up in April!

Making Jewelry on a Shoestring Budget

Making Jewelry on a Shoestring budget

I know that there are times when we are feeling a monetary pinch.  We’d like to make more jewelry, but how are we going to afford those tools and materials?

Sure, in a perfect world we’d have every tool we wanted or needed to make any piece of jewelry we desired.

In the real world, we often improvise.  Especially when we’re just starting and not 100% sure what direction we’re going in.

Supply and Tools

#1 Tools

Here’s a list of the tools that I think are essential, and some ways to improvise the others.  And some ideas to get them on the cheap, too!

Essentials when getting started:

  • Wire cutters (and they should be sharp!)
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Round nose pliers (if you will be working with wire.  If not, you can pass on these.)

You will use them again and again if you’re working with wire. You might want to get some bent nose pliers or other pliers, too, but you can use your round nose pliers to do actually wrapping as well.

Other tools that are useful to have, but not essential:

  • Crimp tool (if you will be doing stringing and using crimp beads.)
  • Nylon covered pliers

And here are some ways to make due with stuff around the house:

  • For ring mandrels when making rings:  Use broom handles, paintbrush handles, markers, dowel rods or any other cylindrical thing that you determine is the same size as your finger.
  • For hammering wire, it’s ideal to use jewelry specific hammers, but normal household hammers work, too.  You will just get a different look on your pieces.  They’ll leave different marks on your wire.
  • Raid your toolbox for your “regular” tools.  These can often be used when you’re getting started or in a pinch.  Often you’ll find wire cutters on normal, non-jewelry making pliers as well.  Just be aware that if they are serrated (have teeth) they will mark up your wire.
  • When shaping wire, use anything you have around the right size and shape that you need:  markers, pens, paintbrushes, etc.
  • Nylon covered pliers are great for straightening wire, but you can often just use your fingers to do the same thing.
  • A sharpie is also a valuable tool for marking where you usually make loops on your round nose pliers so that your loops are all uniform.  It’s also great to form wire around them.

If you have no tools, you can still make jewelry!  Just use stretchy elastic string and tie it when you’re done.  Click here for a tutorial on how to make a stretchy bracelet and properly tie it.

How to get tools on the cheap:

  • Try A.C. Moore/Michael’s/other craft stores. They have weekly coupons of usually 40% off an item. You can even use a coupon to get 40% off a set if tools!  These are a great way to get started.  As you see what you use the most you can upgrade to higher quality.
  • Thrift stores, junk shops, garage sales, friends who are crafty (borrow them), flea markets.

IMG_0355

#2 Beads/Materials

Find beads at thrift stores, garage sales, sales at bead stores, used jewelry sales (they have them in my area at libraries!)

Need help choosing thrift store jewelry to reconstruct into new jewelry, click here for my 9 Lessons in Choosing Thrift Store Jewelry post.  Or click here for a creativity challenge that involved going to the thrift store looking for jewelry to reconstruct.

My favorite bead store is Happy Mango Beads.  They often have sales on beads and you get great deals.

Check eBay for big lots of materials like findings and beads.  You can also find people “destashing” their supplies on etsy and get some great deals that way.

And of course, you can use those coupons I mentioned from A.C. Moore/Michael’s/Other craft stores to get beads, too!

wire

#3 Other Materials

Wire can be expensive. I highly recommend not using silver when you’re first starting out! It can be very disappointing to have very expensive wire and have your design work out.

Try:

Inexpensive silver plated wire from craft stores.

Cooper, brass or steel wire at hardware stores.

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