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Jewellery making supplies

A round-up of all the different tools, wire, findings and beads that you need to make your own jewellery.

bead weaving necklace Step2

Do you know your snipe-nose pliers from your round-nose pliers? When making your own jewellery, having the right tools can make the job a lot easier – and if you’re selling, it’s a worthwhile investment to have the right kit. And makes the jewellery making the process quicker, too! If you’re looking for kits, we’ve rounded up the best DIY jewellery kits from around the web.

This article is a comprehensive guide to all the different tools and supplies needed to make your own jewellery. It outlines the main different types of beads, different pliers, different wires and findings that you would need if you want to get involved in handcrafting your own jewellery.

Jewellery making, image credit Eleonora on Unsplash

If you prefer, take a look at the best jewellery making kits if you want to get crafting straight out of the box! For in-depth tutorials on how to make jewellery, plus a range of great jewellery making inspiration, check out our ever-expanding selection of DIY jewellery projects. We love these seed bead earrings!

We love seeing when you’ve found something you like on our site, so don’t forget to comment below or share your jewellery projects with us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter, too!

Jewelry making supplies

So what jewelry making supplies do you need to start making your own jewelry? If you’re a crafter, you might already have some of the tools and jewelry making supplies you need – so be sure to raid your craft stash – otherwise, keep reading – we have you covered!

If you want to get into making jewelry, tick off any you already have, but remember, you don’t need everything to get started! The following is a comprehensive list of jewelry making supplies:


Jewellery making supplies: Beads

Beads

Buy now: £13.99, Amazon

Glass beads - blue, Amazon

Beads! They come in an enormous range of colours, styles, materials and patterns, and are undoubtedly one of our favourite jewellery making supplies. They are so much fun to shop for, and you get some great deals when buying in bulk.

Seed beads

Buy now: £13.99, Amazon

Seed beads, Amazon

Seed beads can be bought in most dollar or pound stores and come in a rainbow of colours. They are small and can be made of plastic or glass, and are ideal for bead weaving or creating patterns in your DIY jewellery.

Crystals

Buy now: £4.50 (100 x 6mm beads), Etsy

Swarovski Rondelle beads, Etsy

These semi-precious beads needn’t be a huge expense (remember, there is a huge mark-up on the jewellery you buy in stores) – and they will add a real wow factor to your own jewellery! Swarovski have a stunning range of crystal beads, and there are some fabulous iridescent styles out there.

Drop beads

Buy now: £9.99, Amazon

8mm teardrop beads, Amazon

Drop beads are usually bigger at one end and as such, will hang nicely on your DIY jewellery items. They are great for creating an easy focal point in earrings or necklaces and are often referred to as ‘tear drop’ beads.

Pearls

Buy now: £7.19 (per strand of approx. 36), Etsy

Jewellery making supplies

Oh pearls are so beautiful – and my favourite jewellery making supply! You can buy strings of natural pearls (like the ones pictured above), or there are inexpensive synthetic alternatives that are available in a huge range of different colours. If you’re buying natural pearls – make sure you buy from a reputable source or sustainable farm.

Semi-precious gems

Buy now: £10.19+, Etsy

Jewellery making supplies

Semi-precious gems are delightful to work with – they are often heavier than synthetic alternatives and if you’re looking for quality, then Gemstone Direct UK are a great place to start. These amethyst beads are a bestseller!

Jewellery stones

Buy now: £6.29, Amazon

Heallily natural turquoise round cabochon stones with flat backs for jewellery making, Amazon

Jewellery stones with flat backs are ideal if you’re using jewellery blanks or for pressing into polymer, air-dry or silver clay. They don’t typically have holes in them so are also great for using in other arts and crafts projects.

Charms

Buy now: £10.99, Amazon

Enamel resin charms for jewellery making, Amazon

Charms are often a feature of homemade jewellery and can be bought in bulk so are excellent if you are selling your wares on places like Etsy. They are easy to attach to jewellery and if you have any old broken jewellery lying around, why not repurpose the charms into a new piece!

Spacer beads

Buy now: £8.59, Amazon

Jewellery making supplies

Spacer beads are useful when making jewellery, and as the name suggests, are used to create space between the ‘main’ beads in a design. They can be plain or decorative (like the ones above) so it’s down to personal preference, and are often used to break up colour palettes. Using spacer beads in a design will save you using too many of your more expensive beads – and help draw attention to your feature beads!

Jewellery bezels

Buy now: £9.99, Amazon

Jewellery making supplies

Jewellery bezels are excellent if you’re making resin jewellery, as the liquid resin is contained until dry! The option above includes glass dome tiles, so they are ideal if you want to make pendants from pressed flowers or even photographs.

If you prefer, you could opt for open-back bezels which are popular if you want to achieve the ‘floating resin look’. However, you’ll need to back your work with packaging tape to stop the resin from spilling out the back when liquid.

Jewellery blanks

Buy now: £8.99, Amazon

Jewellery making kits for adults

Similar to jewellery bezels, but are typically flat (so not ideal for making resin jewellery). Jewellery blanks are ideal for painting and adding a personalised touch to your jewellery projects, and will often come with the findings needed to create your own DIY jewellery.


Jewellery making supplies: Findings

What are jewellery findings? Findings are the small pieces that make up an item of jewellery and help hold your design together, such as jump rings, clasps, connectors, bails and pins.

Jump rings

Buy now: £6.99, Amazon

Silver plated jump rings, Amazon

Jump rings are a small metal loop with an opening that can be opened and closed using pliers. Jump rings are used to join different jewellery components together and are essential jewellery making supplies.

Figure 8 links

Buy now: £2.75, Etsy

Figure 8 links for jewellery making

Figure-8 links (or figure-of-eight connectors) are double links used to connect two jewellery components. Extremely versatile, they can also be used to extend jewellery pieces and can be used in place of jump rings.

Fastenings

Buy now: £8.69, Amazon

Lobster clasps for jewellery making, Amazon

Jewellery fastenings are essentially clasps – they come in a huge range of shapes, sizes and functions, from traditional lobster clasps (pictured above) to magnetic clasps, toggle clasps and glue-in clasps.

Ear wires

Buy now: £6.99, Amazon

Sterling silver earring hooks, Amazon

Ear wires are pre-bent and often used for making drop earrings – Shepherds Crook ear wires are one of the most popular types. Use sterling silver or gold if you have sensitive ears.

Cord ends

Buy now: £8.49, Amazon

Cord ends for jewellery making, Amazon

Use cord ends to secure the ends of ribbon or cord to create a neat, professional finish for your homemade jewellery items!

Head pins & ball pins

Buy now: £9.98, Amazon

Head pins for jewellery making, Amazon

Head pins are used to create nice, straight sections of beads and are ideal for earrings or necklaces. They come straight and are designed to be cut to size (although you can get different sizes), and the end bent into a loop to join onto other components. Head pins are typically made of a harder, sturdier construction than jewellery making wire. Ball pins are similar to headpins but differ slightly in design as they feature a ball at one end (pictured above in the bottom row). Whether you use ball pins or head pins is up to personal preference.

Crimps

Buy now: £5.99, Amazon

Crimp beads for jewellery making, Amazon

Crimps are tiny metal pieces that are designed to be ‘squashed’ in order to secure your design. You can get crimps that look like a bead (like the picture above), so it gives the design a more finished look. Nice.

Calottes

Buy now: £7.79, Amazon

Clamshell calottes, Amazon

Calottes are used to finish your necklace or bracelet and join your work to a clasp. It’s quite usual to cover your crimp with a calotte, although not necessary. Calottes are useful jewellery making supplies as they also hide the ends of your knotted threads.

Bails

Buy now: £11.98, Amazon

Bails for jewellery making, Amazon

Bails (or bales) are commonly found in necklaces, you’ll probably recognise them as they are used to join a pendant to the chain. They usually have a wide top hole, this allows string, beading cord or chains to go through.

End bars

Buy now: £11.98, Amazon

End bars for Jewellery making, Amazon

End bars are used to finish ‘wide’ items – for example, multi-strand necklaces, leather or suede designs, ribbons or stitched seed bead designs. They come is huge range of designs and vary depending on what you’re finishing.

Brooch backs

Buy now: £3.99, Amazon

Brooch backs for jewellery making, Amazon

Brooch backs are great – stick or stitch to your design and voila! You’ve got a brooch. Super easy to use and they come in lots of different sizes so make a really nice addition to your jewellery making supplies (very useful for last-minute gift crafting!)

Chain

Buy now: £9.69, Amazon

Silver plated chain for necklace making, Amazon

A jewellery chain is essential for jewellery making supplies, and different designs can completely change the look of your necklaces! There are lots of different designs, the most popular being silver-plated or ball chain. The example above is silver-plated and comes with the lobster clasps already fitted.

Cord

Buy now: £7.99, Amazon

Cord for jewellery making, Amazon

Cord is fantastic and so easy to work with – it can create a completely different look to your jewellery (as opposed to using chain) and comes in a wide variety of colours, widths and materials. Suede or leather cord looks great when paired with bigger beads of pendants. Some, like the example above, also comes with the findings needed to finish off your design – always appreciated!


Jewellery making supplies: Tools

Beading needles

Buy now: £3.90, Amazon

Beading needles, Amazon

Beading needles are longer than regular needles (although shorter ones are available), are very fine and straight – these ones from Beadalon are a best seller on Amazon and are great for Khumihimo beadwork. Beeding needles are great for picking up lots of beads at once as they’ve been specially made especially for threading beads. Beading needles are also great for working out patterns when threading your seed beads onto your wire!

Jewellery glue

Buy now: £5.75, Amazon

The best jewellery glue, Amazon

Jewellery glue is useful for adding to the joins of findings (for example jump rings) to keep them secure. Look for a glue that dries clear, has a permanent bond and comes with a fine-point nozzle to handle the small findings. This jewellery glue from G-S Cement is brilliant, and the one I use – check out the Amazon reviews.

Embroidery scissors

Buy now: £5.99, Amazon

Stork embroidery scissors, Amazon

We love our embroidery scissors – but you really just need a pair of scissors with a small, sharp point. Keep your embroidery scissors separate from your paper scissors – as cutting paper will blunt the blades.

Wire cutters

Buy now: £4.49, Amazon

Wire cutters for jewellery making, Amazon

No jewellery making supplies would be complete without wire cutters. Yes, you could use scissors (not your embroidery scissors) – but you will blunt them quickly and dedicated wire cutters are much easier to use. Any wire cutters will do the job – but there are special jewellery wire cutters if you’re looking to buy especially for jewellery making.

Round-nose pliers

Buy now: £6.98, Amazon

Round nose pliers for jewellery making

Round-nose pliers are ideal for making loops in wire and in the tops of headpins where you don’t want to flatten the metal, just round it nicely. You’ll need pliers to open and close jump rings or figure-8 connectors, although it doesn’t matter what type – I have had success with both round-nose and snipe-nose pliers.

Snipe-nose pliers

Buy now: £10.88, Amazon

Snipe nose pliers, Amazon

Snipe-nose pliers have a tapered nose and are extremely useful for getting into awkward places. If you’re using craft metal, snipe-nose pliers are ideal for shaping, and can also be used to grip and bend wire.

Crimping pliers

Buy now: £9.99, Amazon

Crimping pliers, Amazon

Crimping pliers are used to neatly close crimps so that the crimp will look and feel smooth. Crimping pliers are useful when finishing jewellery items and will also provide a helping hand if you just need to grip something while working.


Jewellery making supplies: Wires

Wire

Buy now: £6.89, Amazon

Jewellery making supplies

You’ll see lots of wire in craft stores – it’s cheap to pick up and there are lots of different thicknesses available. Jewellery wire is available in lots of different colours and if you want to make jewellery that’s a little special, you can get silver-plated, gold-plated and even sterling silver wire. Here’s a top tip: look for a tarnish-resistant wire to keep your handmade jewellery looking as good as new over the coming years. Just make sure to check the thickness if you’re using it with special beads to ensure it can thread through.

Bead stringing wire

Buy now: £7.78, Amazon

Jewellery making supplies

Flexible beading wire, like this bead stringing wire from Beadalon, is a must-have for making beaded jewellery. The nylon coating provides your designs with added kink resistance and works especially well for bracelets and other designs that require less drape.

Bead stringing thread

Buy now: £6.99, Amazon

Bead stringing thread, Amazon

Bead stringing thread is great for making longer pieces of jewellery that require a lot of beads to be threaded together (for example, necklaces and bracelets). Bead stringing thread is flexible and very strong, so it’s great for everyday jewellery pieces.

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Intro image by Eleonora