If you are serious about jewelry-making, you need to start thinking about investing in essential jewelry making tools for beginners. Jewelry making tools are unique and are manufactured specifically to give crafters and designers good results.
As you may know, crafting DIY jewelry at home means every detail matters in the final output.
You need the best tools to get the best results. Fortunately, essential jewelry making tools for beginners are not necessarily expensive. You can start with a handful of essential ones and build your collection as you go along.
Most of the tools we will explore in today’s blog allow crafters to effortlessly manipulate jump rings, pendants, chains, jewelry wire, etc.
Essential jewelry making tools for beginners can significantly expand your capacity to craft and work with a more extensive assortment of materials. You’ve found the right guide if you have been dreaming of creating wonderful charm bracelets, necklaces, and earrings.
What Essential Jewelry Making Tools for Beginners Do I Need?
Wire cutters are a vital part of any jewelry maker’s toolbox. These can be used to cut headpins, eye pins, and stringing wire. However, memory wire must be cut with rather than standard wire cutters. Standard cutters will dent the cutting edge of this wire, leaving it useless. For the most outstanding results, invest in jewelry-making wire cutters. The pair you have in the garage will work for the time being, but it may not produce the most delicate flush cut for some applications.
Round Nose Pliers
Round nose pliers are a vital part of a beginner’s jewelry-making toolkit. Round edges make simple loops and other rounded wire parts simple to manufacture. The tapered jaws of round nose pliers allow you to arrange your wire along the jaw to produce the same size loop you want. For a wider loop, place your wire closer to the handles, and for a smaller loop, put it closer to the tip. To construct loops of a consistent size for a particular application, mark the pliers with a permanent marker. This ensures that your wire is always positioned in the same area. Once you’re done, clean the pliers with alcohol to remove the mark.
You might assume you’re using chain-nose pliers when using needle-nose pliers. They may even be sufficient in some circumstances. On the other hand, chain-nose pliers have a flat (rather than serrated) surface that is great for holding jewelry wire without leaving scars or ridges.
The shorter jaws of chain-nose pliers make them easier to work with than needle-nose pliers. Furthermore, because chain nose pliers taper towards the tip and may readily be pushed into narrow areas, they can be used to open and shut jump rings—another valuable addition to your collection of essential jewelry-making tools.
Flat Nose Pliers
Flat nose pliers make it easier to handle jewelry wire because of their non-tapered tip and large surface area. However, you’ll still need two pliers if you don’t want to buy this item: one to shape the wire and the other to grip the other end while moving it.
Crimping Tool or Crimping Pliers
If you are working with a wire that appears between segments of beads, it might be good to use a flat nose or chain nose pliers to hammer the crimp bead into place.
On the other hand, crushing the metal produces an unappealing sharp edge that can cut sensitive flesh. As a result, this is not a suggested procedure. As a result, the crimping tool is included in our list of must-have jewelry-making tools for beginners.
Crimping pliers have notches in the jaws used to flatten and round a crimp bead onto the wire. You can, for example, crimp with one notch and then shape the bead into a circle with a more pronounced notch near the pliers’ end. This tool can also complete a task by attaching a clasp.
Bead stoppers should be included in your package if you have the means and plan on stringing beads. Bead stoppers can help save you time by keeping beads in place on the wire. First, squeeze the loops to help spread the springs apart. Next, enter your bead wire and undo the loops after that. As you work on the other end, this will keep your beads from falling off the piece.
Anvil and Bench Peg
Setting up your workspace for jewelry manufacturing requires an anvil and a bench peg. It simply screws into the edge of your workbench or table to create a flat, steel surface for pounding on when sawing, drilling, cutting, filing, stone setting, and more.
Cutting metal tubes, and thick wire and cutting the metal sheet into forms is best done with a jeweler’s saw. Remember that saw blades and jewelers’ frames usually are offered separately.
It’s critical that your workplace is secure and that you have a good surface for soldering and working with heat. A soldering block is ideal because it provides a fire-resistant surface that keeps the heat where you want it.
For soldering your jewelry pieces, you’ll need a good gas torch. This little jeweler’s gas torch is a terrific place to start if you’ve never worked with a torch before. It has a modest flame and can be used to solder small items. Flux for adding to solder joints before soldering and a safety pickle for cleaning your piece are two more soldering supplies you’ll need.
Tweezers are a must-have in any essential jewelry-making tools for beginners. They help handle hot designs, but they can also be utilized to support items while they’re being soldered. The wooden, insulated handles of these tweezers prevent you from burning yourself. Remember that steel will contaminate the pickle solution, resulting in copper plating of the pieces. Thus you’ll need plastic tweezers for pickling.
When you first start making jewelry, you’ll likely begin with simple rings. A ring mandrel, commonly known as a triblet, is used to create, shape, and reshape rings.
It’s critical to utilize a rawhide mallet when utilizing the triblet since it can mold metal without leaving hammer marks.
Files and Sanding or Polishing Sheets
It’s time to file any excess material from your item after being soldered and coming out of the pickle clean.
It’s unlikely that you’ll begin by polishing your parts using a power tool (such as the Dremel 4000). Instead, to get your design to a high gloss, we recommend starting with polishing sheets.
When designing jewelry, you’ll need a metal ruler to achieve correct measurements. Alternatively, a caliper gauge can perform accurate internal, exterior, and depth measurements in inches and centimeters quickly and efficiently. It’s ideal for measuring stone diameters and depths and setting sizes, wire diameters, metal sheets, rivets, hinges, and other objects requiring precise sizing.
What Is the Most Basic Piece of Jewelry Equipment?
Pliers. Jewelry makers will not be able to go far without different pairs of pliers. So if you’re serious about making jewelry at home, get the different kinds of pliers first. The best thing about these tools is they’re available online, and in physical stores, so you have a lot of choices.
You can visit any Hobby Lobby, Joann, or Michael’s and go home with most (if not all) of the tools you need. Xinar, on the other hand, specializes in providing the best beads and findings, so you can work with the best materials once you get all the tools you need.
There are many various jewelry-making pliers available, ranging from the fundamentals to more specialized requirements. This can be befuddling if you’re just getting started with jewelry creation and aren’t sure which pliers you’ll need. Snake nose pliers, round nose pliers, and side cutters are the ones we grab daily.
The others included below serve a purpose and may assist you in making your jewelry creations neater, troubleshooting problems in the workshop, and making some chores easier.
If you want to start crafting jewelry but don’t have much money, we recommend starting with the fundamentals of investing in a pliers pack. Buying a set of essential pliers is a terrific place to start if you’re new to jewelry crafting.
What Tool Is Versatile in Jewelry Making?
The rotary tool is the most versatile tool for making jewelry.
A rotary tool is a specialized, hand-held power tool with various rotating attachments and bits for jewelry manufacturing. Polishing, carving, sanding, cutting, and various other applications are all possible with this instrument. It’s a multi-purpose tool with a fast-spinning motor tip that may be used to grind, hone, sand, and polish various materials.
They’re a must-have tool in many toolboxes. If you have the correct rotary tool bits, a device can be a convenient and lightweight alternative to several other, more powerful instruments.
Picking the best rotary tools can be a difficult chore with so many possibilities. When looking for one to meet your demands, think about the type of project you want to do with it. Determine which sort of rotary tool will best assist you in achieving your project objectives, and then choose one. Rotary tools can be powered by electricity or pneumatics. If you buy a more expensive rotary tool, it will have different speeds. Expensive options have variable speeds, while budget-friendly options have fixed speeds.
Rotary tools are pretty helpful in the jewelry-making process. While most professional jewelers prefer a flexible shaft, a Dremel rotary tool is less expensive and more practical for students, entry-level jewelers, and hobbyists. Rotary tools are ideal for creating scratched or brushed metal surfaces. They’re also helpful for cleaning jewelry molds.
In many jewelry-making endeavors, piercing metal is a crucial step. Metal may be pierced with any drill.
The majority of jewelry-making processes necessitate sanding. Dremel sells a sanding kit that includes some tools to make sanding easier. To sand metal with your Dremel, open the chuck, insert the sanding attachment with the grit and form you require and secure the bit.
Buffing and polishing the metal is required for many jewelry-making processes.
A polishing package comprising buffs and polish is available from Dremel.
You might wish to forego the Dremel polish and instead get a jewelry-making polish.
Zam is a fantastic one-step polish made just for jewelry designers. When polishing, many jewelers like to utilize a three-step procedure. Make sure your jewelry is clean and that you switch buffs between polishing steps.
Cutting wheels are included in standard Dremel kits. These wheels are particularly useful in the jewelry industry for removing sprues from pieces cast in lost wax. However, cutting wheels aren’t a good substitute for most jewelry-making tasks. Wear eye goggles to protect your eyes when cutting with a cutting wheel on a Dremel or other rotary tool.
Thinking About the Workbench
The jeweler’s bench is the workshop’s beating heart. Traditionally, a group of jewelers would sit at a long bench with semicircular cutouts on the top surface to workstations for each jeweler. Most jewelers nowadays work alone. You can have a workbench custom-built or purchase one from any jewelry supply store.
When you set up your bench, you can arrange everything precisely how you want it. The ease of using tools should be your top goal. Sit on the bench and attempt to picture where each would be most useful.
The bench’s surface should be about three feet off the ground. The bench’s top surface should be around 30 mm thick.
The semicircular cutout should be around eighteen inches.
Having drawers or a rack to store equipment is beneficial. Make a spot for each of your tools, and make sure to replace them after each usage. Then, they’ll always be nearby, and you won’t have to waste time looking for them.
Your Comfy Working Chair
If you wish to sit with your feet flat on the ground, your stool or chair should allow you to do so and sit with a straight back and not stoop to see the work. When the metal is placed on the bench pin, you should be able to see it.
The more straight your back is, the better. Your elbows should sit on the top of the bench if you hold them out level with your shoulders. A wheeled chair is functional.
When anything is hammered on the bench, the legs should be strong, and the whole piece should not wobble or shake.
Cutoffs and files are caught by the leather skin (or, in some cases, a pullout tray). These can be saved and sold as scrap metal to a metal trader.
The Bench Pin
The bench pin functions as a third hand and is used for filing, piercing, burnishing, drilling, engraving, marking, and other bench tasks.
One side is slanted, while the other is flat. The sloping side is usually on top. Some bench pins have a semicircular slot to support a clamp.
More Workshop Suggestions
Consider the lighting: Your workbench should have natural north light if possible. It’s tough to see well on the bench because of the bright sunlight. Place a lamp to shine over the bench pin for artificial light.
Choose a smooth, bare floor: Dropping items on the floor is unavoidable. Any speck of metal or tiny stone should be visible if dropped. Hence the floor should be smooth (not planks with spaces).
Wear appropriate attire in the workshop, such as a sturdy apron. A leather apron will protect against burns if something hot falls from the soldering area. An apron will also shield you from pickle spills and polisher dirt.
If you need to heat your workshop, opt for electric, solar-powered, or radiant heating instead of gas. Avoid using a gas heater because condensation will form, and your tools may become damp. This will cause them to rust. Gas heaters can also cause headaches.
Maintain your essential jewelry making tools for beginners: The more you maintain your tools, the longer they last. Allow no water to get on any steel tools. In the workshop, have absorbent paper available and clean any tool that appears to be damp before using it.
If you hit mandrels and stakes at an incorrect angle, they will always leave a mark on every new metal you work over them. At regular intervals, oil any motorized machine.
Taking precise measurements throughout the process is crucial to a successful piece.
A steel ruler is an essential instrument with both imperial and metric measures.
For a variety of measurements, a pair of stainless-steel dividers is employed. They can be used to repeatedly make the exact measurement, such as marking wire for cutting parts of similar lengths, correctly measuring diameters and lengths, drawing parallel lines on metal, and many other drawing applications.
A caliper is a little spring tool that measures anything less than 4 inches in length (100 mm). The top “jaws” open to the item’s width to be measured, and the reading is obtained from the bottom.
Small digital scales or traditional scales with a balance and weights are both options. For example, they can be used to weigh metal or determine the carat weight of stones.
When creating a ring to a given size, a ring sizer is a series of rings designated A–Z to measure fingers.
A ring mandrel is a curved, usually aluminum, mandrel used to measure ring sizes, with A–Z intervals that correlate with ringing sizers.
These are handheld clamps made of wood, equipped with leather pads. Ring clamps are mainly used to hold rings before setting stones safely. In addition, they’re used to prevent damage to the shanks.
Why You Need Needlefiles and Files
For smoothing cut edges and molding curves, you’ll need various files in various sizes. In addition, the quality of the files varies; choose the finest you can afford.
Flat file—for flat surfaces and filing between soldered connections, edges, and outer curves.
For interior curves and edges, use a half-round file.
File around grooves, bezel edges, right angles, and other problematic edges with a triangular file.
Square file— this type of file is best for filing within tight areas. Also useful for spots with right angles.
Knives are used to get between tight spaces.
Cleaning Jewelry Tools
After soldering and completing a piece, the metal must be cleaned. It may also require cleaning after multiple uses. Abrasive cleaners should only be used after the task is finished because they will scratch and dull a polished surface.
Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine
A basket hangs inside an ultrasonic cleaner made of plastic or steel. It’s for items that have just been polished and still have some black polish on them. Also an essential item in your essential jewelry making tools for beginners.
Water, liquid soap, and household ammonia are placed in the container. The articles are placed in the basket, and ultrasonic rays are used to remove the oily polish. When the liquid is heated, it works better.
Pumice powder is a gray powder with a tiny grain. It’s mixed with water to form a paste rubbed on metal after annealing or soldering to clean it. It cleans metal swiftly when applied to a wet green scrubby or Scotch-Brite pad. Thoroughly rinse.
To clean any article with any amount of polish grease, apply liquid soap and wash away with running water.
A silver cloth can be slid into the bench vise and tightened while rubbing an article against it.
Jewelry Forming Instruments and Tools
Forming tools are used to shape metal and are constructed of steel or wood. The metal is pressed against the former and hammered or mallet-beaten until it takes on the shape of the former.
Stakes are metal formers that are formed like stakes. Silversmiths mostly use them to lift and forge metal sheets when creating more oversized items and vessels.
A swage block is a metal block formed on both sides with semicircular dimensions. The metal is shaped using the handles of wooden or metal dapping punches.
The Classic Mandrel
A mandrel is a metal shaping tool made of tubular steel and wood. Mandrels come in various shapes and sizes, including round, oval, square, teardrop, and hexagonal; the one seen here is a round ring mandrel.
Punches and blocks for creating bezels
These essential jewelry making tools for beginners are used to make a cone for setting faceted stones. Round, oval, rectangular, square, hexagonal, and more shapes are possible.
A dapping block is often presented as a metal or brass cube with accompanying half-spheres of varying sizes formed on each side. It’s used to make domes out of spherical disks.
These are designed to fit into the various sizes of half-spheres found in the dapping block. They’re composed of wood or steel and placed on the metal disk before being hammered or malleted into shape.
Hammers are available in various makes, materials, and sizes. We recommend starting with silversmithing.
Much delicate jewelry work can be accomplished with the jewelry hammer or the riveting hammer. The riveting hammer has a wedge-shaped end and a flat end as well. Both can be utilized for texturing or riveting metal.
The metal head of a ball-peen hammer has one rounded end and one flat end. Shape and texture metal with the round end, and hammer in tight spaces with the flat end. The flat end of the ball-peen hammer is used to extend metal.
Most heavy tasks can be done with a vast, hefty hammer. It can reshape metal, remove lumpy silver and give metals a thicker texture.
To pound metal minus unsightly marks, try using wooden or rawhide mallets. Of course, plastic mallets work, too. Jewelry makers frequently shape and reshape metal with mallets to avoid stretching.
Taking Care of Your Pliers
To get the job done, every jewelry maker needs the correct essential jewelry making tools for beginners. Flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, flush or side cutters, and chain nose pliers are usually included in an essential jewelry-making toolkit.
Any of these pliers can be used to perform almost any jewelry-making technique. Knowing how to care for and maintain your jewelry-making pliers properly will ensure that they last longer and remain in excellent condition for future tasks. Follow these guidelines to keep your jewelry-making pliers in good shape for years to come.
1. First Timer? Clean Them!
When you first get a new pair of pliers as part of your essential jewelry making tools for beginners, it’s good to clean them off before using them on wire or metal. First, soften the edges of the nose or the pliers’ tip with a small sanding stick. Next, shine the pliers’ surfaces before contacting the wire to ensure no marks or oil are transferred.
2. Keep Them Dry, Keep Them Cool
You’ll want to keep your pliers safe from excessive heat. This can cause the metal to expand, causing structural issues that can harm them or put you in unsafe situations.
3. Pick Pliers with Your Hands In The Equation
Your pliers should be snug in your hands. Short-handled pliers may be uncomfortable for someone with larger hands. Make sure your tools are comfortable in your hand’s palm.
4. Stay Safe While Using Pliers
Always cut at a 45-degree angle. Do not try to bend the writing against the cutting point by rocking your plier’s side to side. This could cause the cutting edges to dull or nick. Sharpen the knives on your pliers if they are dull. This will give you more leverage. When cutting wire, wear safety eyewear. One side of a flush cutter has broken off and flown towards my face.
5. Lubricate the Joints
Put a drop of oil to the joint of your pliers now and then to extend their life. This will ensure that they operate smoothly for an extended period.
6. Always Store Them Properly
Pliers aren’t something you want to stack in a package with everything else. Separate your tools and store them upright. Many jewelry makers have a particular storage box for their pliers, or you can hang a dowel rod on which you can store your pliers with their noses facing up. Some basic plier sets come in storage containers with foam inserts that separate each pair.
7. Observe Proper Use at All Times
Never place your fingers between the grip and keep your wrist straight when using. Maintain the cleanliness of the jaws and teeth. Jaws that are greasy are more likely to slip. Finally, put your pliers to their intended use. When performing a heavy-duty task, avoid using lightweight pliers. This may result in them being damaged or broken. Never extend the pliers’ handles beyond their maximum length.
8. Know the Different Metals
Pliers can be made of stainless steel or tool steel that has been hardened. Stainless steel is rust-resistant and a suitable choice for bench work. However, nicks from use will require repair on the nose.
Forging stainless steel pliers is also impossible. Hardened metal is durable, robust, and preferred for long-term use. These require minor polishing and result in a cleaner finished product. Moisture, on the other hand, can cause rusting over time. WD-40 should be used to lubricate your jewelry pliers. Use a rust inhibitor on them now and then.