Easy Metal Jewelry Making: One Step at a Time, With Your Own Two Hands
It hasn’t been long since I’d look at metal jewelry projects in magazines and think, “I can’t imagine being able to make that with my own hands.” But the more I attempted to make one here and there, and succeeded, the more I realized that each project is just a collection of steps. I could do one step at a time, just like the artist who created the project did it. And if I get all the steps done, to the best of my ability, in the proper order, I can make the gorgeous metal jewelry I see in the magazines!
Guess what? So can you! You can learn to make the metal jewelry projects, just like the artists do–just like the Lexi Ericksons and the Kate Richbourgs and the Denise Pecks learned to make them. One step at a time.
One of the best ways to learn any technique is with a diverse publication like Easy Metal Jewelry, because it has a wide variety of introductory metal jewelry-making projects made by a variety of metal jewelry artists. That allows you to see how different artists do the techniques. Then you can learn different ways to do one thing and find the best way for you. I think that’s so important, and it has proven valuable to me over the years.
How to Find Your Ring Size
For example, you’ll learn Kate Richbourg’s method for determining your ring size. First, she writes in her ring band project, “cut a strip of paper about 1/2″ wide and 5” long. Wrap the strip around the knuckle of the finger where you will wear the ring. The knuckle is usually the largest part of the finger, and the ring needs to be large enough to slide over it. Make a mark or a fold in the strip right where the edge of the paper starts to overlap. You want the length of this strip to be the exact circumference of your finger. Remove the strip, and measure the length in millimeters.
“To make the ring fit; you’ll need to add thickness of the metal that you are using to make the band to the measurement. If you skip this step the ring will be too small. Use a millimeter gauge to determine this measurement (usually 1mm–2mm extra). Add these two numbers together to determine length of metal needed for ring.
“If you are making a ring band that is wider than 5mm, add an extra .5mm to the total length,” Kate adds. “Wider ring bands need that extra bit to fit properly. Round up the final length to the nearest whole number.”
Go Faux with Polymer Clay
You can also learn a great idea from Cynthia Blanton’s project, Raku Radiance. I love how she uses polymer clay screw heads in her pendant to create the look of cold connections.
Stamp Secret Messages
Aisha Formanski’s Story Stones pendants were a great reminder for me to think about creating more interesting bezels. In this case, it’s where I can include a hidden message, symbol, or other feature that is primarily only seen by the wearer. There’s a famous fine jewelry designer who puts a ruby inside his ring bands, as an extra little treat (or lagniappe!) for the wearer. I love these ideas! Aisha stamps a message on the back of her stone bezels before setting the stone. Hers is visible if you turn the pendant over, but you could stamp a message on the inside of the bezel, which will be covered by the stone–and then truly only the wearer will see it.
Use Rubber Stamps for Etching Designs
Finally, if you like etching, check out how Melissa Meman creates a pattern on metal to be etched. You probably already know that you can print or draw designs on metal to be etched, but have you thought about using rubber stamps? Melissa uses a rubber stamp to transfer a pattern onto metal. I love the designs in the rubber stamps I use for paper crafts, so I think this would be another great way to enjoy them. Plus it opens up possibilities for themed crafting. You can use one rubber stamp to decorate a card and make coordinating wrapping paper or a gift bag. Use that same stamp on metal to make a piece of jewelry or other metal craft component. Matchy match!
In this one publication, you can see how a jewelry artist makes faux pebbles and beach glass using polymer clay, learn ombre enameling, and even make a three-in-one piece that is a pendant, clasp, and focal all in one. Get Easy Metal Jewelry to learn these techniques and much more. And if you’re looking for some expert video instruction on easy metal jewelry making, check out the top-selling videos from expert jewelry artists and metalsmithing teachers like Lexi Erickson, Kate Richbourg, Kim St. Jean, Andrea Harvin-Kennington, and others to learn essential techniques like soldering, copper brazing, and stone setting.