Ultimate Guide to Jewelry Design: Expert Tips to Make You a Better Handcrafted Jewelry Designer
Anyone can combine raw materials and jewelry-making techniques to create jewelry, but the ability to take an idea to paper and create a rendering of your envisioned piece takes you from jewelry maker to jewelry designer. For a lot of jewelry makers, there comes a time when we strive to draw more, in an effort to improve our ability to take a piece from mind’s eye to sketchbook. This is the foundation for jewelry design.
Designing jewelry can be easy and fun if you’re paying attention to what are known as the elements and principles of design. These amount to just a few simple ideas that will help make your handmade jewelry designs more successful. Learn how to tap into your own creativity by focusing on one bit of design at a time with this terrific free eBook.
Download our free eBook, Guide to Jewelry Design: Ideas and Tips for Handcrafted Jewelry to Make You a Better Jewelry Designer, where you’ll get advice, design exercises, and step-by-step tutorials to help you capture, tweak, and repurpose all that design inspiration and turn it into the most awesome handcrafted jewelry. Here’s a preview of what you’ll learn in our new free jewelry-design eBook:
Getting Started on Custom Jewelry Design
Drawing and Design Tools by Helen Driggs
The thing all object creators have in common is the amount of thinking we do — because critical thinking is about 75 percent of the work. After that, there seem to be two schools of makers — the ones who go straight to the metal with a hammer, and the ones who go straight to a sketchbook with a pencil. Helen says she can go both ways, but sketching equals thinking for her. She’s trained herself to get the moving, spinning, intangible thought in her brain to go down to her hand and out in the form of a drawn line. Learn the tools and easy techniques to improve your handmade jewelry designs.
Handcrafted Jewelry Basics
Variations on Form in Metal by Michael Boyd
Michael’s demo is more about the process of customization than it is about creating a finished piece of jewelry. His focus is on the design principles of repetition and variety, using the elements of form and texture. Watch as he varies a single form and combines the variations into a stunning brooch. With a little imagination, you could recombine those variations into any piece of jewelry, from a necklace to a bracelet.
An Exercise in Opening Your Mind to More Jewelry-Making Ideas
Stone/Color as a Design Medium by Michael Boyd
There are those in the jewelry world who cringe at the thought of using a manufactured finding. Often the hallmark of a masterwork is an exquisitely engineered catch, hinge, pin back, or other finding. "Seeing beautifully crafted findings can really melt my solder," says jewelry artist Michael Boyd. "But what about when you turn over the piece that has a wonderful handmade pin back — and discover it has a machine-cut cabochon on the front?" Explore more of Boyd’s approach to using stone or color as your design medium in creating your handcrafted jewelry.
Simple Concepts for Handmade Jewelry Design
Four Tips for Working with Vivid Colors by Margie Deeb
Apply these concepts to your jewelry whether you use beads or not—now get ready for bright sun and brilliant hues! Intensity is something all vivid colors share, and because of this they harmonize easily. Here are four tips to concocting stunning handcrafted jewelry in brilliant, vivid colors. To effectively use vivid colors, you need structure. a dominant color is the best way to provide structure and bring unity to a vivid palette. The first two tips involve a dominant color. The third and fourth tips establish structure by limiting the actual colors.
Practice your Skills with Free Jewelry Designs
Domino Earrings by Hadar Jacobson
The instructions for preparing the domino pieces in these earrings apply to any kind of inlay: polymer clay, resin, or concrete. In preparing these earrings I used pre-mixed tile grout. It mixes well with the colors with a minimum of chunks or pores. The range of colors that can be used with tile grout is limited, but it’s light, smooth, and has an elegant matte finish.
Jewelry Design Project
Gingko Leaf Brooch by Karin Cernik
Combining her fascination with leaves and Asian design, Karen Cernik easily settled on a gingko pattern for her first metalworking piece. It is a relatively simple piece to make—nothing difficult to cut out or shape. But the soldering of silver to copper adds a bit of challenge to the task. You’ll love the natural patinas produced as copper is heated or allowed to oxidize, but be aware that even sealed, copper will continue to change colors as it is exposed to oxygen. Karin thinks this is a perfect reflection of nature.
Not sure where to start? Get the scoop on your basic drawing and design tools. Not sure what to sketch? Explore form and texture in metal in detail, and learn to take one of your ideas to create multiple variations of your design. Delve into the basics like line, shape, texture, and color. Explore using gemstones in your design palette and working with vividly colored beads. With this helpful and informative guide to bringing your own jewelry-making ideas to life, you’ll soon be creating a wonderful array of ever more pleasing designs of your own.
No matter what your skill or experience level, no matter whether you’re a “draw-er” or a “maker” of jewelry—or both—our free jewelry design eBook, Guide to Jewelry Design: Ideas and Tips for Handcrafted Jewelry to Make You a Better Jewelry Designer, will help you make handcrafted jewelry better, quicker, and more efficiently. Have you downloaded yours yet?