Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Design Jewelry Tips

By on Monday, February 24, 2014 9 Comments

When my best friend Debbie and I used to run jewelry design workshops back in Nova Scotia, we sometimes encountered beginners who would do the "deer-in-headlights" thing.  They would stare at their bead boards and didn't know how to proceed.  The first thing we did was to reassure them  everyone has some creativity. It just needs to be found and nurtured.


Those design workshops we did were unusual in that we never used kits but encouraged beginners to come up with unique designs of their own. No two designs were the same - just the way we like it.  Basically, what we did was run fun "playing with beads" sessions for adults.

Here are some of the tips we shared.

PLAY. Dive into bead supplies. Pick out beads and findings which catch your eye.  Move things around. Turn them upside down. Maybe even stack things together. The idea is to make the first move and get going. Ever notice children never "overthink"? They just plunge right in!

RELAX.  And open your mind up to new possibilities. Just because a finding was made for one particular purpose doesn't mean it can't be used for another.

COLORS. Pick a dominant color and find other colors which might go with it.

SHAPES & LINES.  Is the design going to feature round beads or bicones?  Angular or curvy shapes? Zig zags? Arcs?

CONTRAST. Although there is nothing wrong with a strand of say, pearls of exactly the same size, adding contrast such as crystal bicones will make a design "pop".  So consider all manner of contrasts such as big and small, matte with shiny, metallic with organic materials, single colored beads with patterned ones and so on.

PATTERNS. We instinctively go with regular patterns and symmetry but there can also be beauty in irregular patterns and asymmetry. If you've always done things the same way, then try breaking the habit and attempt something new.

TECHNIQUE. Mixing techniques is often a successful approach to innovative designs - for example coupling polymer clay with wire work.

LIMIT CHOICES.  Sometimes too many choices is too much.  So try choosing just a few items and see what you can come up with.

The last tip one really came into play with the most recent Prima Bead design challenge for the blogging team!   We were each given 2 toggle clasps, some crystals, crimp beads and some beading elastic and were tasked to limit ourselves to whatever supplies we had received before to make variations of a simple elasticated bracelet if possible.  We were not supposed to use our own stashes.

Now that was not an easy assignment because the small bicones I received were purplish and did not go with either toggle. There also weren't enough beads in the Prima Bead supply stash in the right colors either for a bracelet.  So after playing around with them, I turned the toggles into pendants!


The above design is very easy to make. I had just enough headpins left over from the stainless steel findings supply to use for the crystals I thought matched the toggle.  2 stainless steel jump rings connected the main toggle to the bar and 2 more connected to the bar became the bail or the stainless steel chain necklace! The main toggle part stays put and does not fall out on either side because of where the jump rings are placed.  The bottom two must be placed on either side of the loop of the bar.  The chain is also a stainless steel one - thin but very strong.  The tutorial is here.

I also found some black 20G coated copper wire in my Prima box and had fun wiring the black toggle into a pendant.


This design looked better photographed with a black cord which technically isn't from the Prima Bead stash. The tutorial for this wiring project is here.


Where there is a will, there is a way.

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

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9 comments:

  1. Pearl~
    Thanks for the information on design; that type of information never grows old. Sometimes you need that refresher to help stimulate your creativity.
    Thanks again, you're the best!
    Sincerely,
    LouKYMom (aka Terri Bidwell)

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  2. Excellent ideas! Most people do over think, and often over do, their designs. I like to "feel" my way through. Sometimes I scribble a drawing that just pops into my head but more often, ideas just evolve on their own. My best designs are accidental. Some even developed simply because two or more elements happened to fall together in my stash! I love your toggle pendants - who says toggles are for clasps anyway.

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  3. love the way you have used the toggle clasps, just a doubt, how do they stay put?

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  4. Glad you all liked my toggle clasp pendants!

    LouKYMom - Glad my tips help

    Zoraida - I so agree that sometimes the best designs happen when you are not looking for it.

    Divya - If you look carefully, they stay put because of how I either connected the jump rings or wired them.

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  5. PS for the connection with jump rings, the bottom two must be placed on either side of the loop of the bar. That way, the main clasp section will not slip out either side.

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  6. Lots of top tips there Pearl! I love what you did with your toggles too - this certainly wasn't an easy assignment was it?

    Kerrie :-)

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  7. Thanks Kerrie! It was indeed the most challenging one I have ever come across!

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  8. Ooh, love your toggle clasps to bits, Pearl! The 'limit choices' idea is my favorite, it really does make you think creatively.

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  9. I love your necklaces! So creative! Also thank you for the tips:)

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