Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thoughful Thursday - Jewelry Making Videos and a Peek inside my Studio

Hi all, I hope you are staying warm and cozy today, especially if you live on the East Coast where we are getting from Blizzard conditions in the North to rainy and cold all the way down South to Florida! A good day to stay in and Bead!

I have been a fan of Youtube for awhile now (I've only uploaded one video of my own so far but look forward to making some more in the future) and I've come across some that I thought might help those who are beginning jewelry making and there even may be some tips in there for those who are an old hand at it.

Crimping is something I've had a bit of problem with and even though I've seen pictures a dozen times in magazines or jewelry books it always helps in some techniques to actually see someone doing it. Now I finally figured this out on my own, still I found this video to be helpful and I hope you will too.

Learn How to Crimp

Here are more that may help you in your jewelry making, consider it a Quick Jewelry course you can take in your own home while staying cozy and warm and dry!

How to use Jump rings and split rings and tools and how to choose which for each project. If you do a lot of projects using jump rings, the linking ring is indispensable, I have one and it saves you from having to constantly pick up two pairs of pliers to open the rings. I think I got mine for under $3 and its so worth it!

Once you've got the tool basics down check out some of these other videos.

Basic Bead Stringing with wire and crimp beads
Using Links and connectors to make a Bracelet and earrings
Learn Drop Beading using bead caps and head pins
How to use Beading chain and crimp ends bead caps
How to make a Wire Wrapped Bracelet using S. Silver wire
How to make Wire Wrapped Rings

This one may be very useful for those who love a lot of wire look in their work. It demonstrates how to use the coiling Gizmo. If you haven't gotten one yet they can be found at Michael's and Joann's and I used my 40% off coupon to get mine. Now in the video she tells you you will need a C-clamp to clamp it to your table. My solution was to actually screw it to my portable jewelers bench so it is always handy. It has two screws on the base to do just that. My portable jewelers bench is just a piece of MDF that is about 30" long, actually a left over extra shelf my husband cut for my shelving unit that I am not using just now. So in order to save space I use this board and had him build a shelf unit that sits on my table and holds many of my 'need at hand' items but when I want the work space to be used for painting or other things the 'jewelers bench' neatly slides under the shelf and out of the way.

I know I've been promising forever to show you some pics of my studio but I never remember when It's clean AND there's plenty of light. So I just took some pretty awful pics just to show you my 'bench' so you will see what I'm talking about. The first picture (above) shows some of my storage that is behind my worktable. It stores many Jewelry components, wires, beads and other things I use for my clay work and well as pieces in progress. The photo next to it shows how I make it all neat looking when my mind doesn't want to deal with all that stuff, by just sliding the green curtain made from a full bed sheet for $6, closed! It also helps to cut down on dusting too! Yes, that is an over the door organizer with clear pockets that is double sided there on the left side of the curtain, it is great for sorting out all kinds of things and you can see them easily. I think it's original use was as a jewelry organizer you could put in your closet but I re-purposed it to make jewelry! :)

This second pic (above)is of my work table open for designing, painting, sorting beads, etc.
You can see my two Ott lights there which are so great to work under, and the shelf unit I designed and hubby built for me. I also attached hooks to hold a long dowel that holds my decorative craft wire (my precious wire is on the shelf above it). It also holds: jewelry magazines, sketch books, metals and components to work with such as washers, ring blanks and more and works in progress. All tucked neatly into an 11" wide space that spans the table length. My 'Jewelers Bench' slips right underneath and out of the way, made of the same MDF as the shelf unit. Here you can see a few things I keep on there and plan to add some more soon. I have the Gizmo Mandrel holder on the left (the mandrels I forgot to get out but they are stored on the shelf above it). That's some sandpaper on the left end in front of my little miter box, for sanding off sharp points of wire after cutting. I also have a third hand holder in the middle with magnifier, my dapping block and daps on the top right and my little red vise on the bottom right which is screwed down securely to the table. Then when I am done using it, it slides right out of the way under the shelf and I have a clear space to work in again!

The rest of my tools are in a seven drawer tower that you can see a bit of with the coffee cup full of more tools in the very first picture of the storage shelves. Or better yet, here's a full picture of it. You can see it makes things very handy. And the other side of the table? That didn't go to waste at all. I use it mainly for my packaging area, and keep the essentials in that wine box you see to the right and the box on top. I pulled them out for you to see but they store on that right hand corner on the wrapping side and you can see the box in place on the jewelry designing side in the top left corner.

Just in case you are wondering that table is only 52"x52". I have two others I use for my clay work but this is where I do all my main designing and jewelry work after making my beads.

So about that Gizmo?

Check it out and if you got one now you know how to use it! Get your wire out and have some fun!

I don't know if you can make out what that is on the top shelve, it's black so kinda hard to see but it is one of my favorite tools, even though it isn't a hand tool. It is a magnifier that you wear around your head and has a flip down eye piece for even closer views and a jewelers loupe attached as well. I got this from Evie's Tool Emporium on Etsy, she is the best and I recommend shopping there. I love this thing! My husband is jealous of it since the one he has at work doesn't have the extra magnifications! It works for all applications of art and crafts, especially if your eyes aren't what they used to be. I really like it for jewelry assemblage, especially for checking the jump rings to make sure I closed them flush. Also it's good to look at your piece under this magnification before shooting your photos of it. It will show you any lint, imperfections and such that you won't see until you've taken all that time to photograph it and then have to either spend time editing or re-shoot. Here's the one I have, Variable Magnification Visor with 1.5 Loupe at only $7.00 you shouldn't be without one! And while there check out her other tools and handy items for Jewelry makers! She gives you fast shipping and great service! I also got my dapping block there as well and am still exploring all the things I can do with it!

And if you go to The Beading Gem's Journal you can enter to win a $20 certificate to the Emporium, HURRY, the deadline is 6pm Wednesday, March 3rd! And while you're there, check out The Beading Gems helpful videos on Jewelry making and how to use specific tools!

There are videos on

  • Using the Jewelers Saw
  • Stamping on metal Two parts
  • How to use a dapping block
And there's a tutorial on how to use the three step pliers.

So go, BEAD Happy!


  1. WOW, Thanks so much for taking the time to share this WEALTH of helpful info. I have bookmarked it to study in depth.

  2. You have been nominated for the Sunshine Award :) Please pass it on.

  3. Thank you for sharing your space! I really appreciate the shout out!
    Michelle @ Evie's Tool Emporium

  4. Melobeau, you are welcome, happy too

    Tonja, thank you for the award!

    Michelle, Happy too! and if I don't keep forgetting I'm coming back for more!



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