Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Basic Jewellery Making

Basic Jewellery Making

   This basic jewellery making article is a wonderful place to begin to learn all about the art of working with beads.  It explains types of beading, and tools needed, perfect for a beginner.

Types of Basic Jewellery Making

Beaded Reindeer

Stringing:  beads of all sorts of types and colours are strung onto a beading thread using pleasing designs and colours.

Beadweaving:  this is sometimes known as seed beading.  This includes a wide variety of weaves, including herringbone weave, brick stitch, peyote, netting, pondo stitch, right angle weave and square stitch.  With the exception of two-needle right angle weave, these all require a needle and thread, and you weave in a similar way to sewing.  Two needle right angle weave is usually not done with needles at all, a stiff thread is used, and the beads can be strung onto it without the use of a needle.  There are also a huge range of spirals that can be made in all of the above weaves, as well as a few particular to spirals only.  These include: Spiral rope, double spiral rope, triple spiral rope, flat spiral, Russian spiral, Dutch spiral, herringbone spiral, embellished right angle weave, Cellini spiral, Aussie spiral, netted spiral and African Helix.

Bugle spiral

Loom Beading:  seed beads are woven into fabric using a loom.  Some very intricate designs can be made.

Wire work and wire wrapping:   This is where wire is used to created pleasing shapes and designs using wire.

wire work jewellery

Victorian Beading and French Beading:  these methods ore often used to make beaded flowers.  Wire is used, as well as seed beads.  Victorian beading, also known as Continental Beading, is worked horizontally with both ends of the wire going through the row of beads.   French beading is worked vertically with rows of beads worked around a central row of beads.

Victorian beaded spider

Chainmail:  also known as chain maille.  This is created by joining jump rings into intricate patterns.


What is a Bead?

Basic jewellery making usually includes beads.  Basically a bead is a small decorative object that has at least one hole in it for threading.  Beads have been used for jewellery for hundreds of thousands of years.

Beaded Bead

Beads can be made from all sorts of things, including: natural materials- such as bone, coral, seashells and nuts.  They can also be made of synthetic materials such as: ceramics, glass, crystal and plastic.
Bead Types

Seed Beads:  seed beads are the very tiny beads used in basic jewellery making and beadweaving.  These are usually measured in either mm or aught sizes, eg. 11/0, which means number of beads per inch.

There are three main types of seed beads available:

    * Japanese: these have a cylindrical shape and are very uniform in size.  They have a large hole.
    * Czech:  these have more of a rounded shape with smooth edges.  They’re sometimes described as being donut shaped.
    * Chinese:  these are the cheapest type of seed beads, but can be very uneven in shape and size.  They are usually more Czech-shaped.

Beaded Brooch

Bugle beads:  these are long cylindrical beads, made in a range of lengths.

Shaped beads:  these are made in any sorts of shapes.

Faceted beads:  these have been cut and polished to give lots of reflection and shine.

Tools and Materials Required for Basic Jewellery Making

The tools needed for basic jewellery making vary with what is being made and the technique used.

Some basic tools and materials are:

Thread:  some available types are: tigertail, aculon, monofilament thread and Nymo.

Crimp beads:  these are small soft metal beads with a large hole that are used to squash the thread together to hold the finding in place.

Findings:  these are all the components used in basic jewellery making to make things into jewellery, includes clasps, earring hooks and key rings.

Pliers: these are need for many things in basic jewellery making, including closing crimp beads.  Two are usually needed to close jump rings.

Flower Brooch

Specific tools and materials:

Stringing:  generally you don’t need much at all.  Just your beads and thread, you’ll also need a couple of crimp beads and a couple of jump rings.  You’ll need pliers to close the crimp beads and jump rings. You’ll also need clasps or other findings for your basic jewellery making, depending on what you’re making,

Beadweaving:   For this you’ll need fine thread, beading needle, seed beads.  You’ll also need the crimp beads and other findings the same as with stringing, depending on what you’re making.

Loom Beading:  loom, thread and seed beads, and findings as required.

Wire work and wire wrapping:   The wire can be craft wire, artistic wire, copper wire, or sterling silver wire.  They are available in different gauges that measure the thicknesses.   You will need pointy nosed pliers, and round nosed pliers to create spirals and loops.  Wire cutters are required to cut the wire.

Saint Bernard

Victorian Beading and French Beading:  Seed beads and wire are required for these.  Pointy nosed pliers will be needed.  If it’s going to be a flower, you’ll need a stiffer wire for the stem and some floral tape to wrap it.

Chainmail:  This just requires lots of jump ring available in different sizes and gauges, as well as 2 pairs of pliers to close the rings.  You’ll also need the findings as required.

Chainmail earrings

A good beginners tutorial  can be found here:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wedding jewellery

I'm not a very social person, so when I received an invitation for a wedding, I had absolutely nothing to wear!  Finally I found a nice black dress with a tiny black jacket over it.  The jacket has a lovely sequin trim, so I found a small clutch bag with sequin trim as well.

Of course even though my business is in selling jewellery, I don't actually wear jewellery very much.  I'm usually at home crafting, gardening, parenting, housework and looking after pets, this stuff just doesn't lend itself to jewellery.  So I decided to make something new for the jewellery.  It took a lot of thought, but I finally decided on a beaded bead necklace with a chain.  The beaded bead being all white and silver, with crystals, pearls and seed beads, to offset all the black.  Then I decided a tassel of chain would also look nice hanging off the bottom.  Here's how it looked.

Beaded Bead

My next issue was the earrings.  I thought it would be great to make earrings to match, but the same beaded bead would be a bit big for the earrings.  I tried using less beads and using small beads and a couple of variations until I came up with a design I liked.  I put the same tassels on the bottom, and used the same colours.  I was quite happy with the design, it's wuite a bit narrower, but about the same length as the pendant.

wedding jewellery

Of course I could have made a new dress as well, but since I'll probably never even wear this dress again, it wasn't worth the time and expense.  It's much more costly to make your own.

wedding set

While I was at the wedding I saw another guest with the most beautiful crocheted handbag.  I thought "why didn't I think of that?"  I could have incorporated some beading into the crocheting as well, and I love crocheting!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Instructions for following 3d chart patterns

Instructions for following 3d patterns in chart form

Every now and again you may come across a 3d beading pattern that is created in a chart form.  They are usually written in Chinese or Korean.  Here are the instructions for how to follow them written in English.  
There are also some variations to this, but this at least gives a good starting place.

If anyone knows of any errors or things to add, please let me know.

·         Right angle weave, stringing
·         Moderate

Note:  These images are just examples and not an actual pattern.

You work one circle at the time, marked by the number in Row A.  Start with row B, then work row C.  Then cross the LEFT thread through the last bead to make the total for row D.  The whole 4 rows of the chart create one circle of beads.

The images below show the exact same instructions using the more common pattern method.

This first table shows the very basic information that is sometimes seen in the first part of the pattern

This section above the table will give information like size of beads, colour to start with, etc

This just states the number for the circle of beads being worked on
This is the number of beads for the LEFT thread to go through, unless otherwise stated
This is the number of beads to be added to the RIGHT thread, unless otherwise stated
This is the total number of beads made in this circle. Crossed with the LEFT thread

This shows some more advanced entries that are found in the B row

B row almost always means you need to go through beads already there, and almost always on the Left thread.  A “-“ in between two numbers means both threads are used.
Note: Sometimes characters are used for LEFT and RIGHT or for the colours

The LEFT thread needs to go through two beads already there.  The RIGHT thread needs to go through one bead already there

The RIGHT thread needs to go through one bead that is already there, instead of the usual LEFT thread


More advanced entries in the C row

The C row tells what needs to be added, usually to the RIGHT thread, unless otherwise stated.
Three beads need to be added to the RIGHT thread, and one bead needs to be added to the LEFT thread


Two beads are added to the LEFT thread instead of the usual RIGHT thread.


Working with colour

Colours are shown by either a character or a circle in a particular colour.  Usually there is a key at the start of the pattern.



To sum up:  B  means to go through beads already there, and on the LEFT
C  means add beads, on the RIGHT
D means cross left thread through last bead, to give this total number of beads.

Created by Jenny Lawson

For any questions, email me at:

More tutorials can be found at:  Jewellery from Craft Cove
Please do not distribute, lend or copy.
Do not mass produce.

Copyright  2010 Jenny Lawson

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