Make Your Own Beaded Jewelry

This is one of the bracelets I made with tools from the kit I received.
This is one of the bracelets I made with tools from the kit I received.

The Best Christmas Present Ever?

When my husband and I first started dating, he used to buy me really nice jewelry gifts. One Christmas he really spoiled me by buying me a blue topaz ring and bracelet. He set me up to expect something equally nice the next Christmas, especially since he kept talking his gift up for months (It’s something I think you’ll really like...”).

The big day finally arrived, and I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to open my extra-special present. Imagine my surprise when I opened it and discovered a big cardboard box with a set of DVDs, stones, coils of silver and gold-plated wire, and a lot of tools that I couldn’t even name.

“What is this?” I asked.

“It’s a wire sculpting kit. I know you like jewelry, so I thought you’d enjoy making your own.”

I am not a terribly crafty person (well, at least not in one sense of the word), so I just looked at him with my hand wrapped around the unidentified tool and my mouth hanging wide open.

And then the tears began to fall. I was so disappointed. Here I’d been expecting a beautiful gold and gemstone necklace, or maybe another ring. What did I get instead? Rocks and metal -unattached.

My husband felt horrible that I hated his gift. I felt horrible because I was acting completely ungrateful. I shoved the box under the bed and refused to look at it for months.

Wire gauge measuring tool.
Wire gauge measuring tool.

Then the Bug Bit Me

I still don’t really know what made me do it, but months after I shoved that kit under the bed, I got the urge to take it out and look at it again. There were cameos and pictures of wire looped and wrapped into all kinds of different shapes and types of jewelry.

I began to wonder. Could I make my own jewelry? Really? I took out the DVDs and started to watch.

I learned all about wire gauge. Gauge is how big a wire is. The higher the number gauge, the smaller the wire. In other words, 20 gauge wire is thinner than 16 gauge. I also learned that lower gauge wires are more suitable for intense manipulation. Higher gauge wire is more likely to break if you try to bend it or twist it a lot. This is the best information I learned from watching the DVDs. As for the actual wire-wrapping techniques, I didn’t learn much.

My first few wire-wrapping attempts were disastrous. I got better at it with practice, of course, but I discovered something: I didn’t really care for all the elaborately-styled wire wrapping. I much prefer the simple jewelry designs.

By this time, I’d exhausted the beads and stones that came with the kit and gone out to the local Michaels craft store to get more. I also discovered some great web sites that sold Swarovski crystal beads in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. And I even bought some beads and wire from Amazon. I was a bead-buying fool.

That’s when I decided to forget about wire sculpture and just create my own very simply designed beaded jewelry.

It's Really Simple

When you're just beading, you can use a pretty thin wire, based on your preferences. I like 20 gauge or even 22 gauge. Some beads have really small holes, so if you try to use a thicker wire than that, you will not be able to string the bead.

So, say you want to make a bracelet like the one shown to the side.

You will need:

  • pliers - either the flat- or needle-nosed are good for wrapping the wire around the end of the clasp. I find that the needle-nosed pliers allow you to have more precision in your movements, though.
  • clasp - I love magnet clasps. They are so easy to work with - well, as long as you keep the magnet side away from the wire; otherwise, the magnet will always be getting stuck to the wire, and that can hamper your work.
  • wire - 20 or 22 gauge, as mentioned before - at least 9 inches to start. I usually make 7.5 to 8 inch bracelets, and this gives you plenty of wire to work with on both ends for looping around your clasp.
  • beads - whatever kind you want - plastic, glass, crystal, stone - it's completely up to you, and this is one of the best parts (I think) about designing and making your own jewelry

How Many Beads Will You Need?

Well, that all depends on the size of the bead. One inch equals 25.4 millimeters.

If you're making an eight-inch bracelet with 6-mm beads (which is a little small, in my opinion, but if that's what suits you, go for it!), you will need about 33-34 beads, depending on how big your clasp is.

Here's All You Have to Do

  • Decide on a bead pattern for your bracelet.
  • Cut off a length of wire from the spool using your flush wire cutters.
  • Wrap one end of the wire around the loop on the end of your clasp with your needle-nose pliers and secure it tightly by flattening it with your flat-nose pliers.
  • Start stringing your beads according to the pattern you've already designed.
  • When the last bead is on the wire, take your needle-nose pliers again and carefully loop the end of your wire around the unattached end of your clasp. Flatten the loop with the flat-nose pliers.
  • Unclasp your bracelet and put it on your arm because it's ready to wear!

My Secret for Making Easy Bead Earrings

Do you want to know how to make earrings like the ones in this picture? You'll be surprised at how easy it is.

  • Go out and get a package of stick pins and a package of earring hooks.
  • String the beads on the stick pins according to your design.
  • Loop the end of the stick pin around the end of the earring hook using your needle-nose pliers, and press the loop down with the flat-nose pliers to secure.

That's it!

Stunningly simple beaded earrings. I get so many compliments when I wear these!
Stunningly simple beaded earrings. I get so many compliments when I wear these!

What Can You Do With Your Jewelry Creations?

I wear most of the jewelry I make myself. I've also given some of it away as gifts.

I've even sold some at small local arts and crafts fairs, and I've made a few sales of personalized gifts to people I know. I don't make a lot of money with my jewelry, but I make enough to support my habit.

You can also sell with sites like etsy.com or bonanza.com. I just opened up my store and am slowly adding inventory. When I get a good number of items in there, then I'll do some heavy promotion. I'm thinking about a small Facebook ad campaign.

I guess my husband (then boyfriend) knew me better than I knew myself. It turns out that I really did like that Christmas gift. I don't know that it was necessarily the best Christmas present ever, but it was definitely a good one!

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Comments 26 comments

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, I know exactly what you mean about being disappointed with a present and shoving it in a drawer or under the bed! lol it does take a while and you have to get into the mood to try it, also you do have to find your own style, from the pictures above I can see that you are getting really good at it, why not sell on Amazon? I have sold a few books etc, you may surprise yourself and get someone wanting a bulk buy! good luck, cheers nell


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA Author

Hi, Thanks, Nell. I never even considered selling on Amazon. That's a great idea!


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

To me it looks like you have the knack for making jewelry. I think Nell Rose has the right idea - try selling on Amazon or Etsy.


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA Author

Wow! Two people saying the same thing. I think I'll get started on that today! Thanks, KK Gals, for the extra encouragement. :)


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas

Great hub...I make crocheted bracelets with beads and they are alot of fun to make and to wear. I also make beaded scrunchies to match...I will have to try to make the earings since the ones I buy are the dangiy ones like the ones you showed in your picture. I think I will give it a try....thanks for sharing this and you do have a talent. Good luck in your endeavors. Cheers.


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA Author

Crocheted bracelets? Impressive! That's something I don't have the talent for - or the patience! Beading is much simpler, although it can be trying at times, as well. Thanks, ladyjane1!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, it is easy to set up an account to sell, you just make up a name that you want to use, so people will recognise you again, and is appropriate to what you are selling, there isn't any set rules of selling all the time, in fact I haven't done it for a while, but will go back to it if I want to, and you always get an email from Amazon when you have sold something so they give you time to get it packed etc, good luck!


amymarie_5 profile image

amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

Thanks, I've been wanting to make my own jewelry for a while now. This is so helpful. Voted up.


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA Author

Hi, Amymarie. Glad I could help! :-)


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

Awesome Hub-

I used to make jewelery too - I love it! In fact, you have now inspired me! I need to go down to the bead store and get some new beads, clasps, etc. Great Hub workingmonwm, looks like you done some beautiful work there!


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 5 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

Food for thought. Wonder if I can pick up bits of old jewelery and remake them. Many thanks for inspiring article.


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA Author

Thanks, Chatkath. :-)

Les Trois Chenes: I was doing that the other day - looking through my old beaded jewelry pieces to see what I could do with them. I haven't started anything yet, though.


glowingrocks profile image

glowingrocks 5 years ago from New York

Nice hub.I too got the bug once I started wire wrapping.I now make beaded jewelry also.A wonderful and joyful hobby.


Sweetsusieg profile image

Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

This sounds very cool!! I'm always into crafting something! I even learned how to Tat this last year and bought some beads, but as luck would have it they are a bit too small, so I've got a big box of beads... maybe some jewelry would be nice! I might just practice on my 19 yr old! She likes all that cool funky stuff.


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA Author

Thanks, glowingrocks and Sweetsusieg. Glad you enjoyed the hub! :-)


Bmosaics profile image

Bmosaics 5 years ago from USA

This is a great activity to keep the children busy and entertainey.


Eaglekiwi profile image

Eaglekiwi 5 years ago from -Oceania

Love this hub. I often had this lil fantasy of me wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt,sitting in my own cabin surrounded by lots of plants and making hand-made jewllery!

Then reality set in ,lol.

Thanks for the inspiration-


Germaine Reilly 5 years ago

I've got an a inner-jewellery making self dying to get out! So far, I've brought lots of beads and some wire, but need to get creating. Your suggestions are clear and helpful - thanks!


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA Author

Thanks, BMosaics.

Eaglekiwi and Germaine: I'm so glad my hub provided some inspiration for both of you. :-)


dingdondingdon profile image

dingdondingdon 5 years ago

My friend was actually talking about wanting to do this the other day and sadly I had no advice for her as I know nothing about the subject. But you can be sure I'll be showing her this hub - very informative, and the pictures of the things you've made are gorgeous!


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA Author

Thank you very much, dingdon. That is so nice to hear! -)


dredcuan profile image

dredcuan 5 years ago

Girls do love beaded jewelries and for sure not all girls know how to create one like this. Now, they could finally get some inspiration on your post.


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA Author

Thanks, dredcuan.


rosettaartist1 profile image

rosettaartist1 5 years ago from United Kingdom

useful information


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA Author

Thanks, rosettaartist! Glad you thought so. :-)


talfonso profile image

talfonso 4 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

Beaded jewelry to me isn't new. I have made bracelets, necklaces, and the like with string since I was a kid. I'm now making ones with wire (and I'm making two rosaries) and those ideas really are useful!

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