Making jewelry

PidgeMarch 12, 2007

I've just begun stringing bead necklaces and it's a lot of fun. One of DIL's is a jewelry maker--The Woven Bead is the name of her business--and I don't think I'll ever be in her league.

The stringing is easy, it's the design that takes the thought. I've only made two necklaces and one pair of earrings so far. But I've already spent $50 to do it, mostly on tools and findings, so the overall cost should go down as that cost gets spread out over more product. I'm thinking of Christmas gifts if this works out.

Have any of you taken up this hobby? Do you have a particular style that works well for you? Are there pattern books available that you would recommend? Any help or advice will be welcome.

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jazmynsmom(Z5 Madison-ish)

Whatever you do, do not log onto firemountaingems.com and request their catalogs. Don't do it! You'll receive a huge, colorful, and detailed catalog and be lulled in by their prices and good customer service. And you'll be seduced by their gallery of designs. Back away! This is a dangerous hobby! ;o)

(Here I was feeling like I had nothing to contribute to the hoarding thread until you reminded me of my secret bead stash and collection of unfinished projects!)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 7:37PM
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Pidge

Too late, Jaz, LOL! The only that saves me from ordering online is that I don't know enough about all this to know how to order anything tht I can't see up close. But they sure do have beautiful stuff.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 8:15PM
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minnie_tx

I think I bought just about everything to do with beading a couple of years ago and never did anything. My DIL held bead parties while she was over in Germany (a certain price for an evening of fun and bead crafting etc) I sent her a lot of tools and supplies. Then GD learned how to bead and took the rest off my hands. I think it is a lovely craft to learn and do.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 8:22PM
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sheila(WA7)

Pidge this post will bring Leigh (ell in oregon) out - when she visited me in Port Townsend I took her to a bead store and she dug deep:)

How soon can we see photographs, please?

Sheila

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 9:30PM
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Josh(z8a)

Pidge, look thru your old jewelry stash...don't you have a lot of things to take apart and recombine? I have used bits and pieces of old necklaces to decorate Xmas trees, ornaments, sandals, evening bag, even my straw gardening hat...besides just recombining into new jewelry. Beads are fun to add tassles to pillows or add to an embroidered design. I prefer bone, wood, seed, papier mache to the fancier beads but that's because I dress casual even when I "dress up" nowadays.

Some years ago there was a small shop here which advertised for and bought old costume jewelry...then they re-used it for everything from decorating lampshades to canvas tote bags. I just figured I could do my own...LOL It's lots of fun to play around with. josh

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 9:55PM
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Janis_G(z7GA)

I have a beautiful bracelet that Suzanne made for me.

I have never thought about making jewelry.
That does remind me that I have a stash of it though.
I did give some of it to some actors in a play.
They needed some elaborate jewelry and some I had stashed
away fit the bill so I let them have it to go with their costumes.
Shoot, I even have one of those body necklaces from the
late sixties or early seventies.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 9:57PM
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Pidge

Josh, I did look through my jewelry stash and there is only a little that I can resuse. A lot of my stuff is metal and two of my favortie beaded pieces were my grandmother's and I don't want to take them apart. I do have some old necklaces, or at least necklaces of so little value that quarrying them for material will be worthwhile, so I guess an inventory is in order. There's a bead store not too far from me and I'll check it out tomorrow--though that could be dangerous in terms of "I'll only buy one string" and then I come home with seven.

Thanks for the tips and the encouragement. Yes, I'll post pics one of these days.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 8:55AM
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suzanne_il(z5 IL)

Thanfully someone else has been bitten by the bead bug. The fun thing is that since it's a hot craft right now there are bead shops in almost any town you visit.

I recently made a nice necklace and earring set with some rondelle beads made of apple coral that I found at a shop in Hot Springs, Ark. My favorite is creating things with Swarovski crystals or a combination of stones and crystals. And you're right Pidge, design is difficult.

A local shopkeeper came up with an idea for a lovely lariat and I've made many of them since. Swarovski bicones are strung onto silk cording, knotted on both sides of the crystal every three inches or so. The knotting keeps the crystal in place and the silk cord resembles a very fine chain. You continue the knotting until you have a pretty good length (I'll measure one of them later), and you leave it unconnected. So basically it's a long string with crystals every three inches.

To wear it you simply do a simple loop in front and let the strings hang loose. There's another way to wear but I'll have to take pics and post them in the gallery. Everytime I wear this necklace people ask me where I got it and if they can order one from me. Maybe that should be my new endeavor!

Pidge, does the DIL have a website?

There's a great place to order crystals, but that info is upstairs also, so I'll be back later. Fire Mountain Gems is unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 9:42AM
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andie_rathbone(Tyler, TX - 7B)

Oh dear Pidge, this sounds addictive!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 9:45AM
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Pidge

Suzanne, what size bicones do you use? I just went and cruised through about a billion of them online in as many colors--they are ALL gorgeous, and I'd like to try your lariat idea. If you would post a pic that would be great.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 1:55PM
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beanmomma(6)

Pidge you would have enjoyed the mineral show. True, much of it was specimen minerals but one booth in particular had all sorts of beads (glass/pearl/and real stone). I fell in love with a 12" strand of Peruvian Opal that I unfortunately had to pass up.

I did buy some glass beads. I have a bead collection but do more earrings than necklaces.

So where's the bead shop near you? I'm about 15 minutes from Kennett Square and was up there today getting my PA tags from Wiggins.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 3:33PM
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weebus(Z8 Sunset 5 WA)

Ship worldwide

Here is a link that might be useful: Shipwreck Beads

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 4:01PM
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suzanne_il(z5 IL)

I use 6 or 8 mm bicones, depending upon how delicate you want it to appear. The silk cording comes with a piece of twisted metal attached that forms a built in needle. I'll dig around this evening for the lariat so that I can take a pic.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 11:00PM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

Wasn't this hot in the 70's? there were one or two bead bars in the college town I went to. My friend made bead stuff, but then it seemed to be a combination of macrame and beads. I still have the necklace she made me out of that clay you made out of salt and I forget what all. Made beads from it pressed flowers in them. Craftiness is right up there with carrying a tune with me, can't do it.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 3:37AM
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Pidge

LOL, tibs, I'm not great at any of this stuff but there is something in me that likes to make things once in a while.

Speaking of beads from the 70s, I wihs I had some of those many strands of beads I wore then. I remember selling piles of them at a yard sale once. They were mostly just plain strands--now I would jazz those beads up with spacers and seed beads and all that.

The post about the 70s made me realize that I'm wrong when I say I don't get rid of jewelry. Also makes me realize how much of it has passed through my hands over the years.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 8:08AM
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mwoods

When I went to the Chicago get together several years ago,Josie,was giving out earrings she had made from tiny little seed pods. I just loved them and wore them all the time untiil finally I lost one of them.I don't make jewelry but I sure like buying earrings and necklaces that others have made.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 8:56AM
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Pidge

Marda, I think that's one reason I'm trying my hand at all this. I do love handmade stuff and the things one finds in artisan shops and I'll surely buy things in such stores again. When I watch my DIL hands as she whips out a pair of beaded earrings in just a few minutes I know I'll never be in her league. But she does inspire me. Today I'm looking for the makings for a lariat necklace for one of my daughters--found the pattern in a magazine and it looks simple enough for me to try.

Suzanne, DIL does not have a website but I'll bet she could pull one together. I'll suggest it.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 9:44AM
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suzanne_il(z5 IL)

Pidge and others - I've posted some photos at the gallery.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 5:14PM
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Josh(z8a)

Marda, Josie sent me earrings and necklace too made of Job's Tears. I tried growing my own and finally successfully harvested about 6 last year...LOL I'm sprouting some again this year...they make an attractive container plant and I hope to harvest the seeds before the chipmunks this year. On the link, they show a necklace with a dried pirrhana.....wasn't it Ruthanne who had one of these? I sure miss her craziness...josh

Here is a link that might be useful: Job's Tears

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 5:30PM
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Pidge

Suzanne, ALL your stuff is really lovely and I can see how some leftovers from a project can be turned into one of those charm bracelets. Now if I just didn't have to go to that pesky thing called "work," I'd work all day tomorrow.

Today I bought some really beautiful beads and most of them are aimed straight at a couple of projects--a necklace for each daughter and a bracelet for a DIL--though a couple of items were bought on impulse and will lurk in my imagination until some great idea comes to me. I really have to get to work instead of just spending more $$$ on materials!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 7:20PM
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ell_in_or(z8 OR)

I really have to get to work instead of just spending more $$$ on materials!

Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!! (gasp) hohohohohohohoho hahahahahahahahaha!!!!! That's a good one pidge! I've got a plastic shoebox of "inspiration" just waiting. Beads are fun. Besides jewelry, you can also use big ones on loops as closures for jackets, purses, etc. Always good to have plenty on hand just in case. :)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 12:47AM
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Pidge

ell, your wicked, wicked laughter makes me know that I am now in deep trouble, right?
It's going to rain here tomorrow and turn colder. A perfect day to bead, right? Now if the good fairy will only stop by and grade that stack of exams......Then Saturday is a shopping day with two granddaughters, Sunday I've already said "no" to yet another brunch. Hmmm, there's always Monday, but then I need that good fairy again to prepare for the next week's classes.......

When I was a younger woman, I used to think how nice it would be when I got older and there was more time and I had fewer responsisiblities. What was I thinking?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 6:08AM
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wandaredhead(8b/9--SoAL)

Jaz,

I ordered their catalog...came today.
On my geez!!!
They have EVERYTHING!

And, I thought you were my friend.
LOL

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 6:40PM
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proudmary56

Does any of you have the directions to make a beaded fairly? I need to know how to do it and the beads I would need.Mary

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 7:58PM
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jazmynsmom(Z5 Madison-ish)

I don't know personally, but here's a book that looks like it might steer you in the right direction...

If you do figure it out, please tell us about it, but please do not let Di touch your handiwork: She is, after all, The Fairy Breaker!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 9:07PM
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Pidge

I'm plowing along with making stuff and have even begun to sell some of it. I sold a few pieces at a yard sale my daughter and I had, though that was not a great venue because folks are looking for cheap bargains at yard sales, not craft objects. But I've also sold a lot privately, maybe 30 pieces, and that has really encouraged me--a mixed blessing because it gives me license to buy more materials. So far this is more investment than return! Also, I am trying to keep my products within a price range that will be attractive to the casual buyer--$25 to $50, though I do have several pieces that are more high end than that and may end up living with me or going as VERY NICE gifts.

Now I am trying to branch out to local one-day craft shows--those three-marathons are way over my head and the provence of the folks who "make the circuit." There are not many of these in the summer, but the fall and pre-Christmas might yield some opportunities. I am also angling to place some stuff in local craft/antique stores. That means photos for a portfolio, which I am also starting to get together. This has moved past a hobby for a few idle hours, obviously.

Question: has anyone here ever tried to sell anything online? I would be grateful for any advice.

I alternate between thinking this is a great idea, I am a great artisan, and all will be great, great, great--and thinking I must be nuts to get into this.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 6:05AM
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mwoods

Hey Pidge,I went into Manhattan with some friends to see "Curtains" yesterday and wore the necklace you gave me for my birthday. I got lots of compliments on it..so see...it wasn't just me. LOL

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 7:41AM
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Pidge

Hooray, Marda! That makes my day, and thanks for passing it on. I also just had an e-mail from a niece who bought some things. She also got compliments and wants my portfolio to pass it around to her pals.
It's not that I've invested millions in this project, but it's nice to get a little return on my investment. So I can buy more beads, groan. Talk about opening up Pandora's box............

BTW, Marda, how was the show? I was in NYC two Saturdays running, first to pick up the two grandkids I was taking care of the week, then to give them back to their mother. Even on those quick trips, we managed the American Girl store, the Fire Department store, the Metropolitan Museum of Art store (notice a pattern here?) before having a wildly expensive lunch sitting in front of the Atlas fountain in Rockefeller Center--e.g., $13 for a grilled cheese on the kid's menu. The 2nd Saturday I only made it to the Museum of Natural History before dragging my dragging arse home. I think one goes to NYC to bleed money, but the excitement and the resources of that city is beyond compare. I'd go next Saturday is I could.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 9:04AM
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proudmary56

Thanks, jazmynsmom but that is a little more than I care to take on right now. They are very beautiful. I found out what I want to make is called a Dancing fairy charm by Mary Yeager. It is in the April/May2005 Bead magazine. Does anyone have that magazine and would care to post the directions? Would very much appreciate it very much. Mary

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 11:29AM
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batyabeth

Pidge - As for online selling.....I am currently working on a website to sell ketubot (hand drawn original prints of Jewish marriage contracts) created by DG. We're doing it for the extra income, and we should have it up and running in a few weeks. The market is mostly in the US. Creating a website is best left to a professional, so that would cost you, and it must be done right, but for us it's the way to go. For you - do you want to set up a website to sell? Or do you want to join an existing site that sells similar things, along with other artists? Or do you want to sell on E-bay, where you "only" need to pay for the privelege and register as a seller with the site? Or maybe keep close tabs on church fairs, craft fundraisers in your area, womens' organization fundraisers, etc. I don't know where you live, but you know your community, and there are other possibilities besides those three day circuit fairs (DG and I just might do one in the States next year). In any event, marketing your craft becomes as much of a task as creating the pieces - if you're asking for advice, keep local for a year or so, to see if the hobby -tee-hee!- is worth the effort of becoming a business.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 9:49AM
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Pidge

Thanks, Batya, for your good suggestions. I'm not spreading out too far until I know if I can make this work, so it's local shows for now, plus some private sales. I don't think I'm ready for one of those 3-day marathons, but there is a very good one not too far from her that I am researching. Local shops are also an option, though they take a big cut and reduce any profits considerably. I am considering a website but have not yet investigated the cost, so that is up in the air--I'd like a site just on general principles for other things besides jewelry, so I am seriously looking into this. One thing I'm doing is working on a portfolio which will work for more than one venue, or can be tailored to do so. I'm in touch with a friend who sells on e-bay and expect her to help me decide whether to go that route--there are other sites more focused on jewelry that I am checking out. One issue is time--as it is for everyone--so I have to see about that. Though I am partially retired, I do have a job that takes a lot of time and effort.
But I am having a lot of fun with this enterprise. If I don't sell the stuff, folks can expect jewelry as gifts for about a million years.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 10:21AM
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wandaredhead(8b/9--SoAL)

Being a craft-person most of my life, a couple of my favorite ways to sell is:

1) Have a friend give you a private showing in their home...either a walk-through over 3-4 hours where guests can come and go; or, a sit-down and you show all your pieces to guests at the same time.
Something that is effective (affective--can never remember that rule) is to put at least one piece of jewelry on each guest as they come in.
Sell what you have with your and/or take orders.
Give the hostess a percentage of the sales in your merchandise.
Hostess can serve lite refreshments.

2) Advertise through the office mail system and set up in the teacher's lounge at school.
(Great time is through lunch/teacher break.)
This is a great fundraiser for teacher causes, PTO/PTA, band, etc.
Offer a percentage of your sales.
(I have found they are happy with 10-15%. I also give an item of my choice for them to auction off.)

Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 11:12AM
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Pidge

#2 wouldn't work for me, Wanda. I can just see my department chair looking for the hole in my head if I even suggested it. But #1 is an option I have considered and I just have to figure out to go about it, as in which friend might be willing to do this. It's an imposition no matter what the cut, so I have to choose carefully. For all my bravado and risk-taking, I'm shy about asking favors. Every time I think about this option, however, one name keeps popping into my head, so I guess I already have an answer. Thanks for the input.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 11:27AM
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Josh(z8a)

Pidge, You might want to consider a site like this...attracts folks who appreciate handmade items and want something original. josh

Here is a link that might be useful: Etsy

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 4:05AM
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Pidge

Josh, I've looked at that site and it looks very tempting. Do you have any experience with it, like buying or selling on it? Worth a try, I think.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 5:51AM
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Josh(z8a)

No, Pidge, I've not ordered anything but have enjoyed browsing. Just liked the easy to browse site. Actually my DH found it mentioned in Dwell Magazine and sent it to me when he checked it out. Did you check the "Press" link...seems to be getting good publicity and that's always a plus.

No sales of crafts here...my attention span is too short and I jump from one project to another. I just like to play...not work...LOL I'm so impressed with your plans...good luck. josh

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 10:06PM
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suzanne_il(z5 IL)

I made and sold various crafts for years, first at craft shows and later, when I got weary of schlepping the stuff around I rented a booth in one of the Country Sampler stores. Every outlet has it's pros and cons.

Internet is definitely the easiest. My niece sold her jewelry on the Ruby Lane Shops website for a couple years. Etsy is a good bet. I know someone who gets lots of orders for her hand-dyed yarns. It's best to get onboard before a website mushrooms to gigantic proportions. Ebay takes quite awhile to get a following although GP original Ruthanne has made a terrific business on Ebay with her hand painted signs and furniture. It took her awhile though.

I'd love to see pictures of what you're creating.

I think Wanda is talking about selling in an elementary school. Do you have any friends who teach grade school? At one point I had an entire little shop set up in the Xerox room of my children's school. The grade school teachers are notorious craft consumers. The teachers would all pray to get my kids in their classes because they knew I gave handmade gifts! The principal didn't care, everyone was happy with the little shop.

Isn't it great to have a creative outlet? I just made some earrings today. Earrings are ridiculously easy. I'm also knitting some cute evening bags for Christmas gifts.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 12:50AM
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Pidge

Suzanne, this enterprise is as much a cyber challenge as an artistic one. Getting good photos, getting said photos into Phtotbucket, getting same photos onto a website--I face a challenge every day. I do have some some photos ready and when I figure out to get them into the gallery, I will. If Lilo can do whole slideshows, so can I!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 8:09AM
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jesmike

Women are very conscious about their look and they are very crazy about jewelry. But we should be very careful before buying handmade gemstone jewelry because many times we cheated by jewelryâÂÂs brokers.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 2:10AM
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