Celebrate Craftmas: 8 Ways Knitting, Crochet, Rubber Stamping, Paper, and Other Crafts Can Be Used in Jewelry Making

When I’m organizing my studio, I inevitably find scrapbooking things on my “cold” jewelry table (where stringing, wirework, etc. happens and there’s never a flame) and, of course, a few jewelry-making tools or supplies end up on my paper craft table. Just like our experiences shape who we are, I believe our experiences and skills all mix and merge to shape our work. My glittery past is riddled with every kind of craft you can imagine–paper crafts of all kinds, knitting, sewing, mixed-media art, and more, in addition to jewelry making–and I regularly find myself mixing techniques and using supplies from one side of my studio (the craft area) on the other side (the jewelry area).

There are endless ways that our other creative pursuits work their way into our jewelry-making designs as crossover crafting techniques. More complex, interesting jewelry designs can come from getting a little knitting or crochet, mixed media or paper crafting, or sewing or weaving in your jewelry making toolbox. Here are eight ways our other crafting techniques can be used in jewelry making.

wire netting and stone capture

  1. Knitting: Have you ever knitted with wire? Or knitted a tube that you can fill with beads, gems, or other cord to make a necklace or chain for a pendant? Viking knit is an obvious example, but a technique that Mary Hettmansperger refers to as “knotless netting” in her video, Wire Weaving Jewelry, reminds me of knitting. She creates a heavy-gauge wire base (i.e., knitting needle) and knots a net around found objects like pebbles, shells, etc. It’s a great way to “set” a stone or other found object in wire to create jewelry.
  2. make a flower leather cuff with scrapbooking embellishmentsMixed Media: This one is the most obvious, because there are so many techniques that fall under the mixed-media umbrella that cross over into jewelry making, including coloring on metal with colored pencils, inks, paints, enamel, etc.; making collage designs to seal under resin; using fibers to soften just about any design and add a pop of color; and many more. If you’re a traditional collage maker, you can preserve your work under resin with help of my favorite resin artist, Susan Lenart Kazmer’s book, Resin Alchemy, or video, Exploring Resin Jewelry Making.
    transfer drawings to metal with etching
  3. Drawing: You can draw directly on metal using a VersaMark ink marker or with flux and a fine paint brush to create a resist; then use a torch to turn those resist areas into beautiful heat patinas. Another way to feature your drawings on metal is by etching, which you can learn to do from Making Etched Metal Jewelry or from Lexi Erickson’s video Jewelry Etching.
    wire weaving knotting and netting
  4. Weaving: Mary Hettmansperger’s work weaving decorative papers with metal foil to create gorgeous woven works of art really opened my eyes to how well some other creative pursuits can be adapted for jewelry making. The woven pieces can be secured in bezels, embedded in resin, or protected under glass or mica as pendants. Mary is a weaving artist who then found success in the jewelry world–making her one of many great crossover artists who inspire me.
  5. Sewing and Quilting: I’d never considered piercing and then literally sewing two pieces of metal together with very flexible, fine-gauge wire until I saw Mary’s work as well. She uses wire to stitch and weave together various metal components in the easiest of all cold connections. And I know you’ve heard of cold connections; sewing two pieces of metal together with wire is a versatile cold connection. You can learn all kinds of cold connections in Helen Driggs’ video, Metalsmithing Essentials: Riveting and Cold Connections. 
  6. Needlepoint and Cross Stitch: There are other creative ways to “sew” with metal. On Pinterest, I recently discovered how creative jewelry makers have used pierced metal like a cross-stitch or needlepoint canvas, stitching beautiful flowers and patterns in the grid of holes on the metal. Can’t wait to try it!
    heat embossing on metal and metal mesh
  7. Scrapbooking and Other Paper Crafts: I enjoy experimenting with using heat embossing (embossing powders, embossing ink, rubber stamps, and a heat gun) on metal to create faux enamel designs. Because they can’t handle a torch but can withstand the lower temperature of a heat gun, I use some of the aluminum, pewter, and “mystery metal” scrapbooking components I still have in my stash from years ago. (Caution: Heat guns still get really hot, so test the metal before using a heat gun on your masterpiece.) You can learn all about faux or “cold enameling” and other low-heat or no-heat ways to color metal with Susan Lenart Kazmer in 15+ Ways to Alter Metal Surfaces.
    rubber stamping gel patinas on metal
  8. Rubber Stamping: One of my favorite ways to alter metal is by using rubber stamps and flux or VersaMark ink with a torch to create intricate, patterned heat patinas on metal (above and below). You can learn how to make other beautiful patinas on metal using a wide variety of materials in the beautiful book, Patina.

heat patina on copper with rubber stampsLet’s not forget clay techniques that crossover from polymer clay, metal clay, epoxy clay, and ceramic clay!

If you’re a crossover crafter like me–or if you just love creating and learning new techniques of all kinds that you can use in your jewelry making–celebrate Craftmas in July with big savings, through midnight tonight! You’ll save $10 off a $30 purchase, $15 off a $40 purchase, and $20 off a $50 purchase. The more you buy, the more you save–a perfect “excuse” to mix your favorite craft techniques in new ways. (Franken-crafts, anyone?)

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