Introduction to Jewelry Making: From Amateur to Artist

Brit Morin, Founder & CEO of Brit + Co

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8 Lessons (53m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Tools Overview

    • 3. Findings

    • 4. Components

    • 5. Common Jewelry Repairs

    • 6. Create a Statement Necklace

    • 7. Create a Statement Necklace (continued)

    • 8. More Creative Classes on Skillshare

14 students are watching this class

Project Description

Create a statement necklace

Tools Overview

  1. Basic tools and common usage


    • Wire cutters: similar to wire cutters from the hardware store, but smaller and more manageable for jewelry making. Uses: cutting chain or wire, might need to upgrade to cable cutters if your chain is too thick

    • Needle nose pliers (also called chain nose pliers): workhorse pliers, round on the outside of the jaws and flat on the inside, these are the pliers you’ll always have in your hands Uses: opening and closing jump rings, grasping small items

    • Flat nose pliers: flat on the inside and outside of the jaw. Uses: gripping items, clamping cord ends or crimp beads, add sharps bends to wire

    • Round nose pliers: round jaws that are thick at the base and taper at the tip. Uses: creating bends and loops in wire

    • Looping pliers: flat on one side of the jaw, round on the other side with varying diameters. Uses: coiling wire, creating loops, making custom earring wires

    • 3-in-1 pliers: combines wire cutters, round nose and flat head pliers into one, if you only want to invest in one tool, this is the one for you.

    • Scissors: trusty scissors. Uses: cutting cord, leather, rope, ribbon

    • Caliper: handheld measuring device. Uses: measuring width or diameter of beads, wire, jump rings, etc., especially good for measuring small items.

    • Needle: trustly needle. Uses: weaving embroidery floss or beading
    • Measuring tape: for sewing not the kind you’d find at a hardware store, needs to be flexible. Uses: measuring the length of your material for necklaces, bracelets and rings.



  1. Types of connectors

    "O" ring: small “O” shaped ring, fused. Uses: bead spacer, part of a design.


    Split: looks like a key chain, you have to spin your item around the ring like you would a key. Uses: bead spacer, part of a design, adding clasps.


    Jump: same as an O ring, but not fused, there is a cut which allows the ring to be open and closed. Uses: connecting beads, adding clasps, connecting to chain. Never pull a jump ring apart, always twist open using two sets of flat nose pliers, and then twist back together. Otherwise you’ll weaken the integrity of the metal.


  2. Rings, bracelets, and glue

    Rings: Purchase different shanks (commonly known as a band) and add jewels, many will have a setting where you can glue stones and other items.

    Bracelets: Same as rings, you can wrap with cording or embellish with stones and jewels. You can also repurpose a bracelet you already have by embellishing it.



    Super glue

    • Uses - adheres many materials: wood, metal, ceramic, rubber, plastics, aluminum
    • Pros - dries in 30 seconds, dries clear
    • Cons - messy, not very waterproof, we found that it’s not the best for jewelry making which we wanted to point out


    • Uses - adheres most materials, fabric metal, etc.
    • Pros - strong, flexible, waterproof
    • Cons - takes over 48 hours to properly dry

    Quick Hold

    • Uses - bonding or sealing
    • Pros - dries in 2-3 minutes, water resistant, works with most materials
    • Cons - will damage finished surfaces

    G-S Hypo Cement

    • Uses - two types: fabric and metal, good for sealing ends or setting beads or gems
    • Pros - fine tip for precision gluing
    • Cons - takes 24 hours to dry


    • Uses - gemstone inlay, earring backings,
    • Pros - waterproof, does not shrink, colorless but can be died, very strong, drying time options (5, 15, 60 minute)
    • Cons - toxic smell, more advanced tool


  3. Beading pins and terminators


    Head pin: pin with a flat head on the end, comes in various colors and sizes. Uses: dangling beads, construction, connecting beads together to a chain.

    Eye pin: same as a head pin but there is a loop at one end. Uses: same as head pin but with the capacity to connect beads to both sides.



    Foldover:  loop at one end, small metal piece with two sides that fold over. Use: Put glue on the end of cord, fold clasp over cord with flat pliers, then pinch together.


    Crimp beads: very small tube. Uses: securing wire. Loop wire through a fastener, place both ends of wire through a crimp bead, move bead close to the fastener, pinch closed with flat nose pliers.


    Glue in: a barrel with an opening. Use: put E-6000 on end of cord, insert into opening, crimp with flat nose pliers.


    Ribbon ends: folded metal piece with loop at the fold. Use: add glue to the end of the ribbon, place ribbon in fold, clamp shut with flat nose pliers.


  4. Types of clasps

    Lobster: opens and closes with a small lever on back, pinches like a lobster claw, a small spring keeps it shut.


    Spring: ring shaped clasp, opens wih a lever that slides along the ring.


    Toggle: fastener with a piece on each side of your jewelry, one end is a loop and the other is a "T" bar which slides through the loop at an angle.


    Barrel: two sided clasp, one end screws into the other.


  5. Types of earrings

    Hoop: round loop, pin goes in front side of the hole and clasps in back.


    Fishhook: wire hook. used for dangling earrings.


    Studs: flat head with a short pin. Glue stones or gems to them.


    Leverback: lever at the back flips up to enclose. 




  1. Components

    Beads and stones


    Wire - gauges - the smaller the gauge the thicker the wire (not super intuitive), so a 24 gauge wire is going to be thinner than an 18 gauge, which is pretty thick.



    • Snake
    • Cable
    • Flat curb
    • Lantern
    • Ball
    • Figaro



    • Leather
    • Paracord
    • Embroidery floss
    • Kumihomo
    • Waxed


Common Jewelry Repairs

  1. Common jewelry repair methods

    Chain break  - buy a similar chain or get something totally different. Remove both sides of the chain and add the new chain using jump rings


    Clasp break - buy a new clasp (choose the kind you like best) then add using a jump ring. Make sure it will attach to the other side


    Glue in - get a new piece, add glue and insert rope end. Handle gently until the glue dries.


    Jump ring break - get a new jump ring. Be sure to properly open and close the new one to maintain the integrity of the ring.


    Foldover replacement - if your chain breaks and you don’t have the right size finding, use something different. Replace glue in with foldover.

Create a Statement Necklace

  1. Create your statement necklace

    Cut chain to desired length.


    Add beads to head pins.


    Cut head pins at slightly varying lengths and loop with pliers.


    Cluster beads into groups then attach to jump rings. Attach jump rings to the chain, link by link starting from the center and moving outwards on each side.


    When you’ve almost reached the desired length, the beads will get shorter and the color and type of bead will taper at the end. Add two with both the rectangular bead and the pearls, then add two more at the end with pearls only. These should be quite a bit shorter than the pins in the middle.


    Add a clasp to the necklace.


Student Projects

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Sahana Ajeethan