How to Make Handmade Jewelry with Special Touches

Whether you have an upcoming dinner party, wedding, or other special event; a new outfit, a vacation at the beach, a holiday office party; or maybe you have a new hairstyle and want to show off a fancy pair of earrings – there’s always a good reason to make a new beaded accessory or piece of handmade jewelry.

butterflies, coreopsis, and summertime inspiration

butterflies and coreopsis

And when it comes to finding inspiration, nature is always kind and generous, always bringing us beauty. All we have to do is stop for a second, take it in, then wait for the right time to use what we’ve absorbed.

When looking at the recent Jewelry Stringing Secret Garden Pattern Collection, it wasn’t hard to see that nature (in the form of spring and summer) had a hand in inspiring these designs (and not just their titles).

The soft colors of the beads in Floral Meadow, Rose Blush, Lilac Patch, and Key to the Garden are so feminine, summery, and flirty. These jewelry designs are easy to assemble, and in no time you’ll be able to wear either of them to lunch at the pool or for a day shopping with your best friend.

Jewelry Stringing Secret Gardent Jewelry offers soft colors inspiring summer, flirty, feminine jewelry designs

Soft feminine colors

The soft yet colorful shades used in The Tortoise & the Orchid make for perfect summertime accessories and would work for a walk down the boardwalk or a night out as you stroll along the river.

The Tortoise & the Orchid, by Martha Thomas in Jewelry Stringing Secret Garden collection

The Tortoise & the Orchid, by Martha Thomas

Little Birdies – well, the title says it all – little birds are all over the place during the summer, and these sweet little guys, stacked up to create the focal piece of this necklace, are not only whimsical they pack a punch of fun color.

Little Birdies, by Martha Thomas, Jewelry Stringing Garden Party collection

Little Birdies, by Martha Thomas

This Rock Candy necklace design takes me back to the days of walking the beach and hitting up the candy store for a late-afternoon treat. We would get bags of this and that and always, always, some rock candy. Those clear sugar crystals always drew me in, kind of like the beads in this necklace do. And now I’m curious, what do you think the flavors of these beautiful colors would be?

Rock Candy, by Karlin Jones from Jewelry Stringing Secret Garden Party collection

Rock Candy, by Karlin Jones

One thing each of the necklaces in this collection has in common, aside from their spring and summer vibe, is an extra-added touch. When designing a piece of jewelry, it’s of course, perfectly fine to string a strand of beads and finish it with a beautiful clasp. The necklaces in this collection have done that in their own way. Then each has the added touch of a charm or beaded dangle, taking the design to the next level and making them that much more special. There are a few other finer details that elevate them even more.

Spotted was the ball-end headpin in the Lilac necklace. And as an aside, I wanted to offer a quick how-to should you be having a jewelry-making party and run out, or should something equally inconvenient occur.

Quick Ball-End Headpin How-To
Cut a 3-4” piece of 18- or 20-gauge copper wire or sterling silver.
Fuel up a butane torch.
Set up a heatproof work area (a ceramic tile is sufficient).
Fill a bowl with 1” or so of water.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy for that just-in-case moment.

Hold the length of wire using heat-proof tweezers. If you don’t have heatproof/fiber-grip tweezers on hand, the goal is to keep your hands safe. Find a tool that will not be affected by the heat of the torch and keeps your hands safe.)

prepare to ball the end of wire using a torch

Ignite the torch. Hold the end of the wire in the flame, just at the end of the inner blue flame (the hottest part).

balling the end of a length of wire using a torch to create a headpin

Note: you can’t see the flame in this picture but it’s really there, promise.

The wire will begin to glow and soon, you’ll see the end start to ball up. Keep a close eye on this as things will move fast from here. Either the end will ball up more, as it creeps up the wire, or the wire will melt above the ball and the ball will fall off (hence the heatproof surface), forcing you to start over.

Once the wire end has balled up to your liking, remove it from the flame, allow the red glow to fade, then quench in the water.

ball-end headpin complete and ready to use as a headpin in a jewelry design

TIP: You can remove the oxidation on the end of the wire using a sanding sponge or other similar abrasive.

Now you have a ball-tip headpin and can get back to the jewelry-making party! But wait – your key doesn’t have that cool patina like the one in Key to the Garden has? Another nice touch but not many manufactured keys are sold with keys finished like that.

There are a few ways to add patina to metal, so depending on your key and the metal it was made from, and what you have on hand, a few thoughts: Gilder’s Paste, liver of sulfur, or check out the ammonia fuming tip in “13 Jewelry and Beading Tips and Tricks” to help you add some color to your key pendant.

copper sheet and copper sheet with patina applied via ammonai fuming

copper sheet and copper sheet with patina

Rock Candy is a fabulous design that brings light and airiness to a new level. The colors and the design speak for themselves and would be a great design even without the tassel. But, that tassel!

If you don’t have one on hand, why not make your own tassel? And while you’re at it, why not make it to suit the beads in your design! Check out “Hot Trend in a Quick and Easy Free Earring Project” for a tutorial on how-to make your own tassel so you are never without one, no matter the time of day, and so you can customize it to suit your next design.

Whether you are interested in making one or all of these summery designs, and whether you have all the supplies on hand or will soon have fun shopping, enjoy creating. Enjoy trying new things. Enjoy adding those extra touches and finding your way to making handmade jewelry designs your own! Then please, share your creations with us at!


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