Get Lucky with Your Jewelry Making: 13 Bits of Wisdom

I've never really believed in the "bad luck" superstitions. You break a mirror and get 7 years of bad luck (heck, I've had that happen without breaking a mirror!). It's bad luck when a black cat crosses your path. It's bad luck to walk underneath a ladder. I'd rather do what I can to create my own good luck. Especially with my beading passions. I consider myself a jewelry-making omnivore, meaning I want to do it all: metalworking, wireworking, stringing, and seed beading. However, as many of you know from following my recent Beading Daily blogs, I've become obsessed with learning seed beading. And that means I've been dealing with a big learning curve and the need to find great instruction.

Learning how to "cook" with your beads


Who didn't fall in love with the movie Julie & Julia, where newbie cook Julie works her way through Julia Childs' classic cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in a year and blogs about it along the way. For me, the mythic Betty Crocker was my kitchen goddess, and I relied on all the tips and tested recipes in her book to start my cooking journey.


There's no substitute for a great teacher, book, or video by your side to help you avoid unlucky pitfalls. If you share my jewelry-making omnivore personality, I highly recommend adding some experts to your learning adventure. Here are 13 tidbits I gleaned from the 4 Getting Started series of jewelry-making books.


13 jewelry-making tidbits to improve your "luck"


From Getting Started with Seed Beads . . .

1. I loved discovering that rounded seed beads weave into a looser, more fabric—like beaded creation than do cylinder beads, which interlock tightly and precisely because of their straight sides.

2. When you're starting a bead stitch—especially something with a staggered pattern like peyote—the first couple of rows look pretty funky. Practice patience and follow the diagrams and you'll be rewarded with an orderly stitch pattern.

3. Adding thread stumped me at first—and there's no way to bead a substantial piece without mastering this. I practiced the technique I found in the book several times and conquered my fears.

4. Edging can be done several ways and gives added interest and polish to a finished piece (I love my new peyote band now that it has edging).

From Getting Started Making Metal Jewelry . . .

5. Learning the difference between a chasing hammer and a riveting hammer may seem like simple stuff. But knowing, for example, that the chasing hammer is for texturing effects and the riveting hammer is for rivets wasn't obvious to me until I read about all the basic metalworking tools.


6. Metals change as you hammer, heat, and otherwise manipulate them, becoming either more pliable or stronger (work-hardened). I even learned a little about the molecular structure of metals.


7. When soldering, the pieces you are joining with solder must be clean and they must be flat (solder can't fill the space between metals).

From Getting Started Stringing Beads . . .

8. Using an awl to create clean, tight knots when you're knotting between beads is the secret to professional results.


9. Check out the chapter on different ways to string the same focal bead-there are at least 5 different choices.


10. You can keep your sterling silver jewelry tarnish—free by storing it in a plastic bag with a piece of white chalk (who knew?)

From Getting Started Making Wire Jewelry and More . . .

11. I loved learning about how to deal with beads that have large holes when wireworking. I usually glue a seed bead inside the large hole bead to stabilize it. I hadn't thought to use the 'wire twist" method explained in the book.


12. A deliberately "messy" wire wrap can add flair to a jewelry design.


13. One of my fave sections in the book has a very comprehensive chapter with loads of pictures on wrapping briolettes and stones. I've had my fair share of breakage when wrapping briolettes due to the hole area being very weak and I snap it off easily. I tried the technique in this chapter and had success my first wrap!

Make your Friday the 13th be a lucky one by adding a guide or two to your creative journey.


Come bead with me,




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