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New Craft Ideas For Adults

Updated on January 3, 2014

Holiday Craft Ideas For Adults To Do This Winter: Making Jewelry

I love winter because during holidays I have lots of craft ideas for adults that I can learn and sometimes my problem is that I don't know which one to start with first. At times my friends are asking me 'So what will you do / learn new this winter?' and often I know right away, other times I have to think about what pulls me the most.

Let's face it, the winter period is the best to start with a new craft, a new hobby that might even turn to be a money maker later on - or maybe just something to make for fun to give as gift to friends and loved ones. Over the years I've learned a large number of crafts, some that I still do, others that I left behind because something new caught my attetion.

For example I made (and still make) various types of jewelry, handmade greeting cards, drawing (not that good at it though), pottery, knitting and a few others that I haven't done in ages. What I really kept doing over the years is handmade jewelry, which can be made to give as presents to family for various occasions, and to be honest I am even making a modest bit of extra from some of the jewelry I'm selling - enough to have that extra money to buy that iPhone or some other gadget that I've coveted the whole year.

So why not start this winter a new craft like jewelry making and see where it takes you - especially if you know that you are a DIY kind of person? You might already be doing some crafts, but might start to find it slightly boring? Well, here are some fresh ideas for holiday crafts for this winter!

All image copyright on this page: marciag - please do not copy or use without permission

Are You Making Any Kind Of Jewelry? - If yes, using what technique?

Are You Making Any Kind Of Jewelry?

See results

Seed Beading

Making Seed Bead Jewelry - The Perfect Holiday Craft Idea For Adults And Teens

beaded necklace Atlantis
beaded necklace Atlantis

Over the years I've started and done many crafts, but somehow jewelry remained with me all this time. Maybe it's because there are so many jewelry types you can do, you simply can't get bored. You might do like I did over the years - start with one type of jewelry and then hopped over to something else until you found the particular style and technique that mostly speaks to you.

Many years ago I started with something called beading. This involves stringing small sead beads on craft or fishing lines to form some intricate patterns. You can stay as light as you want with this or go as advanced as you want, it's up to you. But what I can say for sure is that there are some gorgeous beaded jewelry pieces out there, some that really sell for a high price. Not to mention they make some awesome gifts for anyone who loves to wear jewelry.

Here is an example of a beaded necklace I made back in 2007 using white and purple seed beads called Japanese Toho beads and Nymo thread - the thread used to put these beads on.

Basically when you're doing seed beading, you need a pattern, you can't just string beads one after another one without some goal in mind. If you look at the Atlantis chocker I made below, there is a clear pattern to it, not only in the chocker style, but also in the placement of beads, in a zig-zag like pattern.

If you want to learn to make this type of jewelry, I have added a few links with free online tutorials that you can use to get started with this wonderful and not all that difficult craft.

Also the books below will show you exactly how. I have these books and they served me well over the years.

Here are a few more examples of beaded jewelry I made over the years. The first is again in the popular Russian style netting, the second is a bracelet made in rope technique called Cellini Spiral (taken from the White Russian Beading book), and the third is a a cute little bracelet in flat peyote pattern with a zebra design.

Summer Breeze choker

Cellini Spiral bracelet

Zebra Stripes bracelet

images copyright: marciag

A Few Free Seed Beading Tutorials To Get You Started

These tutorials are all free and you can use them to learn how to start with beading. They are easy to learn - it mostly involves stringing the beads on the thread in various patterns and formations - and all you need is get the few tools and start stringing away by following the patterns. And the results can be pretty awesome indeed.

Best Beading Books For Making Jewelry

I have each of these books and I can highly recommend them. They are perfect for the beginner to beading and they can take your knowledge to a new level even if you've already dabbed into this craft.

Teach Yourself VISUALLY Jewelry Making and Beading
Teach Yourself VISUALLY Jewelry Making and Beading

This is a great book because it's visual, it has many gorgeous picture instructions which not only tell, but actually show how to do the various projects step by step. One of the best of it's kind, I can highly recommend it.

Beading with Cabochons: Simple Techniques for Beautiful Jewelry (Lark Jewelry Books)
Beading with Cabochons: Simple Techniques for Beautiful Jewelry (Lark Jewelry Books)

Let's say you've done a bit of beading, but now you want to expand this craft and leanr something new. How about learning how to make and set a cabochon in a gorgeous necklace? This book does nothing else but teaching you various cabochon settings, and it's perfect at what it sets out to do. A wonderful resource for any beader, beginner or intermediate.

Sabine Lippert's Beaded Fantasies: 30 Romantic Jewelry Projects (Beadweaving Master Class Series)
Sabine Lippert's Beaded Fantasies: 30 Romantic Jewelry Projects (Beadweaving Master Class Series)

A lovely book with some indeed romantic projects that newbies can tackle with just a bit of practice. The pictures are very clear and explain exactly how to do this or that particular project. A favorite of many beaders.

Jill Wiseman's Beautiful Beaded Ropes: 24 Wearable Jewelry Projects in Multiple Stitches (Beadweaving Master Class Series)
Jill Wiseman's Beautiful Beaded Ropes: 24 Wearable Jewelry Projects in Multiple Stitches (Beadweaving Master Class Series)

Another favorite of mine, this book focuses on ropes of all kinds. I've first learned making beaded ropes from the big White Russian Beading book and the more I learned, the more I wanted to know. Well, if you don't want to spend a mini fortune on the Russian book, this one will cover it all - at least when it comes to ropes.


Making Chain Maille Jewelry

Chain Maille Jewelry - An Art Form In Itself

chain maille necklace
chain maille necklace

Chain maille is a very old craft and you might be familiar with it from the movies depicting knights and fighting in the Middle Ages. It has been used to make armor, however the last couples of decades it has shown a revival of the craft, this time in timeless, gorgeous and surprisingly easy to make jewelry.

To make chain maille jewelry you don't need a lot of tools - two pliers, a wire cutter and some wire, that's all to it really. And it's extremely cheap to get started especially if you don't start with sterling silver right away. Copper, brass or bronze wire or jump rings will be perfect. Even though I've been making chain maille for quite some time, I still love the tiimeless look of copper and bronze in a bracelet or necklace. I will show below a few pieces I made, and while they might look rather difficult to make - looks are really deceptive in this case.

There are many weaves and tutorials to get you started and once you've learned the basics, the rest is simply a nice monotony of weaving ring after ring. Almost like meditation really. The perfect craft to start if you want something that doesn't requite too much creativity as in thinking up different ways to make a piece, but still want some gorgeous results that will make heads turn.

image copyright: marciag

Where To Find Free Chain Maille Tutorials And Weaves

While there are some books and tutorials that teach chain maille weaves, to get you started with this holiday craft free waves and tutes are more than enough. One of the places shown below has enough weaves and tutorials to keep you busy for years - literally.

Want To Learn How I Made The Necklace Above? - The weave is called Byzantine weave and it's very easy to do!

The great thing about the Byzantine weave is that it's extremely easy to do (really), but the result looks extremely complicated. I not only get lots of compliments on this piece, but people also ask me if I'm crazy for having spent weeks on this piece. While it is time consuming, it can be worked up really fast and such a necklace won't take you more than a few hours tops.

If You Do Want To Learn Chain Maille From Books

Here are a few books to get you started. And yes, I have them and even more than what I show here. I just can't get enough of books and each book has taught me something new over the years.

Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop: Techniques and Projects for Weaving with Wire
Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop: Techniques and Projects for Weaving with Wire

My favorite book ever on chain maille. Geared towards newbies to the craft, it has several beautiful and easy to follow projects. I've done more than one jewelry piece from this book. Highly recommended if you don't have the book yet.

Classic Chain Mail Jewelry: A treasury of weaves
Classic Chain Mail Jewelry: A treasury of weaves

Classic Chain Maille jewelry is another one that I can recommend without hesitation. Sue Ripsch has written actually 2 chain maille books and I have them both. The first is geared towards the total newbie, while the second one towards somebody who has at least made something basic out of jumprings using pliers.

Classic Chain Mail Jewelry with a Twist
Classic Chain Mail Jewelry with a Twist

Here is the second book by Sue RIpsch - I bought both at the same time and I can highly recommend each.


Chain Maille Books
Here you will find some of the best chain maille books that are teaching you how to make absolutely stunning, unique pieces of jewelry with this popular technique

A Few Chain Maille Jewelry Pieces I Made

If you're not convinced that chain maille is something you want to get started with as your summer craft, how about once you see the jewelry below that I made using this easy and fun technique? Can you imagine one of your loved ones, relative or friend enjoying wearing a bracelet, necklace or a pair of earrings made of intricate patterns of jump rings like these?

Copper Chain Maille bracelet

Simple Zig Zag Pattern

Byzantine earrings

Stringing Beads

How About Simple Bead Stringing?

bead stringing necklace
bead stringing necklace

If you think that the jewelry techniques above are a bit too complex for a simple summer craft idea, how about simple stringing of beads? This is truly the easiest and fastest way to make a piece of jewelry that gives you results right away. Instant gratification anyone?

Making stringing beaded jewelry is really easy and you don't even need an elaborate pattern like you would when doing seed beading jewelry as I've shown above. The materials needed are few and you can really do some amazing things by using interesting pearls or semi-precious beads. Not to mention you do indeed work up even a necklace very fast!

Here is something I made a while ago, quite easy, but I've gotten lots of compliments over the years whenever I wore it. For this particular set I used aventurine and white opal as beads and small sterling silver beads to separate them and as the ending for a more polished look.

image copyright: marciag

Easy Visual Tutorial On Stringing Beads

There are some places online that teach you how to string beads, but honestly for this type of jewelry I found that videos are the best way to learn it if you're going the "learn for free" way. There is really not much to stringing the beads on a cord, there are no patterns to follow and the results are quick. You do need to know, however how to crimp the beads and what types of cords to use.

Learn Stringing Beads From These Books

These are really basic books and you'll learn from them no time. Having done lots of jewelry techniques over the years, I found the bead stringing is probably the easiest to do of all. Definitely the easiest to start if you want something done quick, for a winter or summer craft idea. Perfect also for teens, not only for adults.

Getting Started Stringing Beads (Getting Started series)
Getting Started Stringing Beads (Getting Started series)

A lovely book that teaches exactly that: stringing beads for beginners. It gives you an explanation and description of the basic tools you need and gets you going with making your first lovely project right away.

The Absolute Beginners Guide: Stringing Beaded Jewelry
The Absolute Beginners Guide: Stringing Beaded Jewelry

Another basic book that teaches you how to string beads in some lovely jewelry pieces that you can give to anyone right away. And they'll be pleased with the results, that's for sure. The thing is, you can't really make bad jewelry when it comes to stringing beads, because it's so easy to do!

A Treasury of Beaded Jewelry: Bead Stringing Patterns for All Ages
A Treasury of Beaded Jewelry: Bead Stringing Patterns for All Ages

Another great book that goes into stringing beads, however this also tackles briefly some basic beading patterns. Good to have in case you start (like me) with stringing beads and go on to beaded jewelry without having to buy yet another book to get started with.


More Examples Of Stringing Beads

Here are a few things I made over the years. Now you'll notice that the focal point for most of the necklaces is made in another technique. This is something called wire wrapping, and I'll get to it in a moment. Of course, you do not have to do that type of focal point, simple strung beaded necklaces and bracelets are perfect for any gift - even to yourself.

Mediterranean Turquoise necklace

Freshwater Pearls necklace

Necklace I Made For Mom

Making Wire Wrapped Jewelry

Wire Wrapping - Maybe The Most Popular Jewelry Technique Today

wire wrapped pendant
wire wrapped pendant

I love wire wrapping! I've done many jewelry making techniques over the years, but I can't stop coming back to this craft. It's actually more than that, it's an art form in itself. You can stay as simple with it as you want, or go as complex and complicated as you want. However I have to warn you: it's an addictive craft, one that if you really get good at it can make you good money over time (wire wrapped jewelry sells, plain and simple), but it's also a technique that needs some creativity.

Imagine, you have some pliers in your hands, maybe a gemstone or two and some wire (copper, bronze, silver, craft wire, anything goes). And your imagination. Of course you do learn some wire wrapping techniques, without which you couldn't do anything, but after that you're on your own. Which could be scary, but it's also awesome because you can really go wild here and do things that nobody else did.

You can develop your own style and bring something completely new to the jewelry community. Or you can stay with simple stuff that people can wear every day at work - not glamorous pieces for night wear, but cute and simple jewelry that are perfect for a 9-5 job. It's really up to you how you go with it, but I warn you - once you get started with wire wrapping, usually there's no turning back!

The image above show one of my latest wire wrapped pieces based on a design by Nicole Hanna. I made it in copper wire using some simple Czech bead, nothing fancy or expensive. You don't have to use expensive sterling silver or pricey gemstone beads to do this craft. You can use something that you might already have at hand at home.

The images below are some of my previously made wire wrapped jewelry pieces using various wire techniques and gemstones.

White Romance necklace

Agage Silver bracelet

Silver Wrapped necklace

images copyright: marciag

Want To Learn Wire Wrapping? - There are some excellent free tutorials to get you started

Because wire wrapping is such a popular craft today, there are practically tons of free tutorials to get you started. It would be beyond the scope of this page (which basically gives you ideas on new summer crafts for adults and teens) to list them all, but here are 2-3 that I can heartily recommend due to the ease of making them and great results you can get once you follow the step by step instructions.

How to Wire Wrap a Bead

Learning to wrap a bead is the cornerstone of pretty much anything you do with wire. Without that you simply can't go forward. Anything you do where you have a kind of bead, you have to learn how to wrap it with the wire. The faster you learn it, the faster you can go on to do some really great pieces.

Learning Wire Wrapping From Books

Let's face it, free tutorials take you only that far. While you might learn a technique or another, if you've decided that wire wrapping is something you want to focus on in the future as well, and you know for sure that you don't have anyone to teach you 1-1, then DVDs and books are the best way to really enrich your knowledge and bring your craft to another level entirely. Each of the writers of these books are wire wrapping masters themselves, and learning from them will truly make you an outstanding wire wrap artist. All you need is practice, practice, practice.

Wire Wrapping: The Basics And Beyond
Wire Wrapping: The Basics And Beyond

This book focuses on something called 'border wrapping', which is extremely popular in the US. If you want to learn how to wrap cabochons and gemstones, this book will teach you that in a very easy way. I have this book and actually I have all books by Jim McIntosh and they don't disappoint. Recommended.

Wirework w/DVD: An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Wire Wrapping
Wirework w/DVD: An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Wire Wrapping

This book combines border wrapping with more modern styles that make some really elegant pieces. And best of all - the book comes with a DVD that you can simply pop in your player and do the steps while watching the visual tutorials.

Weave, Wrap, Coil: Creating Artisan Wire Jewelry
Weave, Wrap, Coil: Creating Artisan Wire Jewelry

Another great book by a very well known wire wraping artist, this teaches you several useful techniques resulting in some amazing pieces of jewelry. It gets you started from the beginning and if you stick with it, the further projects become more advanced, requiring more skills which you will gain if you practice along.

Wire Jewelry Masterclass: Wrapped, Coiled and Woven Pieces Using Fine Materials
Wire Jewelry Masterclass: Wrapped, Coiled and Woven Pieces Using Fine Materials

Maybe my favorite wire wrapping book, written by Abby Hook, it truly teaches a lot of techniques which you can take and run with to make your own wire wrapped jewelry. Abby Hook is a wonderful jewelry maker and a great teacher as well. Truly highly recommended!

Wire Art Jewelry Workshop: Step-by-Step Techniques and Projects
Wire Art Jewelry Workshop: Step-by-Step Techniques and Projects

Sharilyn Miller has several books and even a few DVDs under her belt, all related to wire wrapping jewelry. This one is maybe one of the best that teaches you several skills. She really goes into making coils and putting together some wonderful bracelets. I love it!


Basic Tools For Wire Wrapping Jewelry
When you're starting our to make your own wire wrapped jewelry, you will need a few basic tools that are simply invaluable for the summer craft.

Making Wire Jewelry: The Perfect Craft For Teens As Well

Making Wire Jewelry: The Perfect Craft For Teens As Well
Making Wire Jewelry: The Perfect Craft For Teens As Well

Handmade Sterling Silver Jewelry
This article will showcase some of my handmade sterling silver jewelry designs. One of my passion in life is creating unique jewelry made of sterling silver ...

Popular Jewelry Making Books
I love making jewelry and I have a ton of popular jewelry making books at home. Well not entire true - I also have several that were a flop. They're sitting ...

Pentagram Jewelry
If you're looking for pentagram jewelry for a witch (Wiccan or not), you've come to the right place. Here you will find some very beautiful neo-pagan jewelry...

Jewelry For New Moms
Looking for some beautiful jewelry for new moms as a next gift? Or maybe for a new mom to be? Here you will find a great selection of new moms jewelry, rangi...

Watermelon Tourmaline Jewelry
Watermelon tourmaline is one of the seven main types of tourmaline used currently for jewelry making. It is a gorgeous and rare variety and this is why it is...

Are You A Crafty Person? - And do you like to make jewelry?

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    • earthybirthymum profile image


      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Crafty here! I've been doing jewelry for a few years now. I like trying new things too.

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 

      5 years ago from Naperville, IL

      I've always wanted to make jewelry for gifts (and myself). Thanks for the wonderful ideas and tutorials!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      This is an absolutely AWESOME lens! I have bookmarked it for future reference and want to compliment you on your excellent writing and thank you for sharing such terrific resources.

    • Camden1 profile image


      5 years ago

      As my teenagers keep reminding me, they have fewer than 30 days left of school this year! Learning to make jewelry sounds like a wonderful summer activity for my daughters and me.


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