Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society

Getting Started Making Jewelry

March 25, 2024 Corkie Bolton Season 1 Episode 12
Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society
Getting Started Making Jewelry
Show Notes Transcript

In today’s episode I want to talk to beginner jewelers and folks who are interested in getting started. I am going to provide resources for where to find classes in person and online plus basic tools and equipment. Materials to get started, safety resources, book recommendations and even some consideration for those that think they might one day want to sell their jewelry.

Today’s episode is brought to you by ToyBox. They make an amazing, affordable 3D printer that is fun for kids and adults! Save 10% off a printer with code METALSMITHSOCIETY: https://toybox.com/METALSMITHSOCIETY

Join my Beginner’s Email List here: https://metalsmithsociety.myflodesk.com/beginners

Find a local jewelry making class: https://metalsmithsociety.com/pages/where-to-take-classes

Online classes with Lucy Walker: https://lucywalkerjewellery.com/?campaign=podcast&ref=7

Be sure to check out my book: https://metalsmithsociety.com/pages/book

Find more tips by using the Tip Search Page, try the word “safety”: https://tips.metalsmithsociety.com/

Stuller new account sign up: https://www.stuller.com/new-account-signup/?prettyUrl=student-accounts-faq%2F

Rio Grande new account sign up: https://www.riogrande.com/account/register/

Music attribution: Stock Music provided by RomanSenykMusic, from Pond5

Corkie Bolton:

Welcome to Jewelry Making Tips with Metals mith Society, the ultimate podcast for anyone passionate about the art of jewelry making. I'm your host, Corkie Bolton. Metals mith Society is a community on Instagram that has over 240,000 individuals, from professional jewelers to small business artisans, hobbyists, students and even those curious, lucky lose eager to learn about jewelry making. Together, we share tips, kindness and support. In this podcast, I will discuss tips from the Instagram page, provide deeper insights, address questions and share bonus tips that often surface in the comments section. So, whether you've been making jewelry for a while or you're just starting your jewelry making journey, this podcast is your go-to resource for all the jewelry making tips. So grab your tools, dust off your workbench and join me. In today's episode, I want to talk to beginner jewelers and folks who are interested in getting started. It can all seem a little overwhelming, right? All the tools and equipment and materials, how to be safe. Today, I'm going to provide resources for all those topics. Plus, I'm going to talk about book recommendations, how you can find a class in person or online, and even some considerations for those that think they might one day want to sell their jewelry. So stay tuned. Hey there, friends, are you ready to take playtime to a whole new level, introducing Toybox, the revolutionary one-touch 3D printer that's putting the power of creation right at your fingertips. With Toybox, watching your toys come to life is as easy as pressing a button. That's right. It's so simple. Even your little ones can do it. Just imagine the excitement on their faces as they witness their designs materialize right before their eyes. But that's not all. Toybox boasts an enormous toy catalog, ensuring there's something for every member of the family to enjoy my family's printed fidget toys and even little containers for me to hold things in my studio. And here's the best part Use our special promo code METALSMITHSOCIETY at checkout to save 10% off your very own Toybox printer. So what are you waiting for? Start drawing and printing your own creations today with Toybox, the affordable, easy to use 3D printer that's bringing fun for the whole family. Visit toybox. c om/ METALSMITHSOCIETY now to learn more and join the creative revolution.

Corkie Bolton:

The first resource I want to talk about today is my beginner's free download. I created this years ago because I was getting a lot of DMs and emails from beginners, which was fantastic. But, quite frankly, I couldn't keep up with the demand individually answering everyone's emails, and I realized a good solution would be to put all the beginner information I could come up with in a clickable PDF and email it to people, and that is how my favorite resources to get you started making jewelry was created. So if you want to receive this, head over to the show notes, click on the link and you can join that specific email list for beginners and right away I will send you that clickable PDF. I want to mention, since we're here, be sure to check your spam and promotions folder, because I do sometimes have people sign up and then they don't find the initial email in their inbox. But you'll definitely get it. Just be sure to search around for it. Should I just end the podcast right here, because I actually feel like this download will give you a lot of the information, but I'm just kidding.

Corkie Bolton:

Let's start with the first thing, which is a where to take classes page. This is located on metalsmithsocietycom, and what I've done is I've manually listed every single place that I have received an email about or that I know about personally that offers jewelry making classes, and they're listed by state, and then it's followed up with some international locations as well. My number one advice to anyone that's interested in getting started making jewelry, before you invest in all the tools is to find a local workshop and really, under the guidance of a teacher, have that first experience taking a class. An in-person class is going to set you up for success. You're going to get introduced to the basic tools and equipment, they're going to go over safety and you're going to get to experience making a project of some sort, so it's always a really great place to begin. Now, if you're like me, after you take that first class, you'll be full on addicted and you're just going to want more, and so from there, you can check out YouTube. There's tons of free tutorials on YouTube by hundreds of creators, and it's pretty awesome that you can just watch all of that for free.

Corkie Bolton:

The other thing that's listed on my where to take classes page is there's a lot of online classes. One that I need to give a plug for is Lucy Walker's Metalsmith Academy, and shout outs to Lucy, who is a listener of the pod I can't recommend this enough to invest in a year. It's under $500. Now I know you might be balking like wow, 500, but let me tell you there are so many, so many classes, everything you need to get started, everything you need to get better at specific techniques Sowing, soldering, stone setting, filing all these things are all there for you and you can use it unlimited for a full year and then you can continue on. But to really invest that for yourself, that's a great way to get started and just have access to amazing online classes. My Beginner's Download I mentioned has book recommendations so you can go ahead and scroll through that and I describe all these different jewelry making books, but the one that I have to obviously plug is Metalsmith Society's Guide to Jewelry Making.

Corkie Bolton:

Truly, why I wrote this book is really to expand on all the blogs, the beginner resources, everything that I had created in book form to really introduce every single tool, technique and even some basic projects that someone could make to get them started. Because once you've decided that you want to start making jewelry, the next step is what tools and equipment do I need? So basic tools and equipment are pliers, files, jeweler saw, torch, other soldering equipment. It might be a bench block and a mandrel, but there really is no solid list or answer, truthfully, because it really depends on what you're making and every jeweler I know started with a few basics and then they purchased tools as needed and that's kind of what I have to advise. But my book and also the blog article about what tools to get started just explains what all the tools are, so that you're armed with the knowledge and you can decide.

Corkie Bolton:

Okay, maybe this is on my wish list or I think I need this tool right now, but when I was first starting out I started with a jeweler's bench pin with a C-clamp that I could clamp onto a table and a German soft frame, which was like $4 at the time, and a few files, and that was enough to kind of get started sawing out pieces of metal and filing them, and from there you know if you're going to be soldering. You do need a torch and some other soldering equipment, but I can't really put like a price tag on it or give you a specific shopping list. But I can arm you with the information so that you can make an informed decision and hopefully not buy things that end up not being useful to you. My book also addresses safety equipment, which is a very important aspect of this, because as soon as you get started, you do want safety goggles, you do want an N95 mask. If you're going to be producing dust, you just want to protect yourself and get into good habits from the very beginning. Another absolutely free resources you can head over to tipsmetalsmisssocietycom and you can search the term safety, and any tip that we've shared in the last six years that has to do with safety will pop up and you can check those out as well. So now you've started to research the tools, I bet you're also curious about materials, and I know that anyone getting started is going to be on a budget, especially if you're a hobbyist.

Corkie Bolton:

It's not uncommon to start making jewelry in brass or copper due to its affordability, and truthfully I highly recommend this because you can get a lot of practice in sawing out the metal, forming and soldering with brass and copper, but it's not going to break the bank when you do decide to get started making some silver jewelry. It does come in various forms Sheet, metal, wire. There's different bezels, and so that's why I wrote my guide to purchasing metal for jewelry making, because it's overwhelming. There's so many choices, but my advice here is just like your tools, just buy a few materials to do a specific project. While it might not be super cost effective to have to go back and order metal, you know, every few months at the same time. If you just bulk, buy a bunch of stuff but maybe it's not what you need for a specific project, you might end up wasting your money and resources when it's better in the beginning to start designing specific projects and then get the materials that you need for those projects.

Corkie Bolton:

Two of the bigger suppliers of jewelry making tools and materials and gemstones are Rio Grande and Stuller. You can find both of these companies online and you can open up a student account to get started with them, making your first purchases. If you're really interested in stone setting, I have some advice for you here as well. Start out with CZs they're affordable. You can find those at Rio Grande and also just finding calibrated cabochons to work with. I wouldn't go getting the artisanal lapidary cut cabochon when you're just getting started. If you invest in, you know, bulk cabochons and then you do a setting over and over and over again until you really you know, nail it, that's going to be serving you long term when you do work towards working with some more expensive stones.

Corkie Bolton:

Like any craft, jewelry making requires practice and patience to master. Don't be discouraged by mistakes or setback. They are part of the learning process. But keep practicing and experimenting and this will refine your skills and you'll definitely improve over time. And I say that because if you try, for example, a flush setting and you only do it once, imagine if you actually sat there you know for a full day and did it 25 or 50 times, your mastery of it would improve exponentially. And so that is also my advice is, if you are doing a skill you know, once you finish that first ring that you make, go ahead and make it again and pay attention to how you improve, even after just one run through.

Corkie Bolton:

Another thing we don't talk about a lot on Metals mith Society is the design and creativity aspect because, truthfully, a lot of the tips I'm sharing it's not really about design. It's more about these common jewelry making tips that will help us all in our productivity, in our organization, in doing a particular skill or technique a little bit better. But designing, creativity are going to be at the heart of what you're making. So experiment with different designs and techniques. Try to develop your own unique style. I highly recommend sketching your ideas before you start so you can visualize your designs and plan your projects effectively, including what materials you're going to be using and bonus credit if, from the very beginning, you get in the habit of marking down your cost for materials for each project. If you are going to sell your work down the line, you're going to be way ahead of the game, because knowing our cost is an important part of how we price our work. This actually segues nicely into the last thing I want to talk about, which is if you think that you're you know, interested in making jewelry and you could see yourself down the road selling your work. There are some things that you can do from the very beginning and you might laugh, but one of them that I highly recommend is it's never too early to start an email list For whatever jewelry you plan to sell in the future. This might even just be Collecting the emails of interested friends, even family members hey, no shade if your mom's on your email list, you know but it's a good habit, because an email list is an essential for marketing your jewelry on a budget, and it's sincerely never too early to start collecting those emails doesn't mean you have to start sending the emails, but you can start collecting them.

Corkie Bolton:

On my website, there are a bunch of Blog articles under a section called running a small business, so you'll find information about Photographing your jewelry to sell, finding a caster for jewelry making. I have an article about Refining scrap metal. If this concept is new to you because you're a beginner, basically, as soon as you start working in any sort of silver, you want to make sure that you collect any piece of spent sandpaper dust from your Work drawer and collect that to be sent to a refiner, because that's gonna put the money that you spent on that metal back in your pocket. I also have articles about jewelry packaging. I have an article that is essentially my guide to pricing your jewelry and has a bunch of considerations, and I even talk about why I Selected Shopify for my online jewelry store. But I know we don't want to get ahead of ourselves. But these are the resources that are available on my blog. I've been working on them for the past six years to try to make them, you know, helpful and cover most of the topics that you'll find useful if you are gonna sell your work.

Corkie Bolton:

I'm really excited that you found the podcast and that you're interested in jewelry making. For sure, make sure you follow us at metal smith society, where we're sharing almost daily jewelry making tips, and that's gonna be a great way to immerse yourself in all things jewelry making. Thank you to today's sponsor, toy box. They make an amazing tabletop 3d printer that my kids and I absolutely love. If you've been loving the podcast, be sure to subscribe, and you can also leave me a rating and review. That would mean the world to me. Tune in next time and Thanks Bye. You can tell that I'm not really sure it had to end this thing every time, but I'm gonna keep trying.