If you’re looking for creative, artisanal men’s jewelry this holiday season (or anytime!), look no further than your own two hands. All of your basic metalsmithing techniques can combine to create unique accessories to suit his style. Whether you use this as an opportunity to learn a new technique or perfect the skills you’ve already mastered, your handmade gift will be a meaningful accent for your guy’s everyday look. Be inspired to create handmade treasures for men with these ideas for the men in your life.
ABOVE: Learn to saw coins to make unique men’s jewelry with Thomas Mann’s video downloads.
Learn Sawing with Thomas Mann
Join expert instructor Thomas Mann and zero-in on your sawing skills with two entertaining and educational video downloads: Mastering the Jeweler’s Saw with Thomas Mann and Metal Artist’s Workbench, Learn to Use the Jeweler’s Saw. Thomas has decades of experience making artisan jewelry and teaching jewelry makers how to saw or improve their sawing skills. Learn how to saw coins, shells, leather, and different types of metal, along with tips and tricks for precision sawing.
One of Thomas’s big tricks is “Sawin’ where y’at.” As Tammy Jones says, “Sawin’ where y’at is such a funny, characteristically Thomas, characteristically New Orleanian thing to say–and that’s probably why it comes to mind nearly every time I am sawing something particularly detailed or difficult.”
Thomas instructs, “You only have to control the direction of the blade as far as it will travel through the material in a single stroke. This is what we call Sawin’ Where Y’at. It’s a kinda Zen thang! If you place all of your attention at the point where the blade meets the material (work face) and are mindful of the blade’s progress along your design’s outline path, you will be SawFile’n. How? Because, you KNOW how far the blade can travel through the material in one stroke, and you KNOW that you only have to control its direction for that very short distance. Do that repetitively, intuitively and you’ll be in the SawFile’n Zone.”
Stamp Metal with Jeff Fulkerson
A sterling silver cuff bracelet is a cool, understated accent for men’s everyday wear. This Jig Stamped Silver Cuff is reminiscent of a traditional Navajo design and uses stamp designer Danny Wade’s stamping jig with triangle wire. If you haven’t used the stamping jig, making multiple cuffs for gifts will allow you to hone your skills. Plus, you can use any metal stamps to customize the design for the recipient. If you’re ready to take a deeper dive into cuff bracelets, check out Mastering Inlay Methods with Jeff Fulkerson. His stone inlay cuffs take men’s bracelets to the next level.
Artist Jeff Fulkerson has been creating stunning, imaginative jewelry for over 30 years. “The creative process is what I enjoy most,” says Fulkerson, “I love to be able to take an idea, make it take shape and see it come to life.” A self-taught silversmith with a background in construction and design, he counts himself fortunate to have studied with many great Native American artists in the last few years, most notably Richard Tsosie, Navajo; Jesse Monogya, Hopi/Navajo; and Michael Cheatham, Cherokee.
Summon the Power of the Sea with Roger Halas
Does your man feel called by the ocean – or is he into adventure movies? This gorgeous stamped silver Seahorse Summons Ring was designed by Roger Halas, whose work appears in the films Aquaman and Jumanji: The Next Level. The seahorse is a symbol of strength and power, along with being considered a good luck charm. This ring is a striking, intermediate-level men’s jewelry design that uses a variety of metalsmithing techniques from stamping and sawing to soldering, and more. (And, it doesn’t have to be men’s jewelry, it can also be made as a women’s ring if you need one for yourself!) I also like the idea of using gold to highlight the design.
As Roger shares in Jewelry Artist Roger Halas Talks About Design and Inspiration, “Much of my inspiration stems from an interest in mythology and science fiction. Although the two are at opposite ends of the technological spectrum, I prefer to explore both worlds, boldly crossing that void between the mechanical and the supernatural and using those elements to create pieces that evoke a sense of mystery.” He believes jewelry is a visual cue to the world and says, “Just like the clothing you wear, jewelry is a personal totem connecting you to your true inner self and revealing that inner self to the world at large.”
Quick & Easy Beaded Bracelets
Make easy bracelets for all your guys with Jewelry For Men: Quick & Easy Bracelet Design You Can Make and Gift, a free how-to men’s jewelry project by Tammy Honaman. You can choose stone beads with special attributes to suit the recipient or add a birthstone bead for a little extra flair. Wooden, metal, or glass beads all work well for stretchy bracelets. Keep the design simple with 4-10mm beads. No matter which beads you select, be sure to use Tammy’s knotting instructions when tying your elastic cord. These bracelets multiply quickly–Tammy’s sons each started with a single bracelet but rapidly accumulated short stacks. We’re including them as men’s jewelry, but these are great gifts for anyone on your list!
Give Yourself an Excuse to Make Men’s Jewelry
Whether you’re making men’s jewelry with your favorite techniques or taking this opportunity to learn new ones, treat yourself to a workshop video or pattern. Adding a new course to your video library or a new pattern to your collection provides inspiration, education, and an additional accountability factor. You’ll make your bench time count in a variety of ways – and your men’s jewelry gifts will also be a gift to yourself.
Katie Hacker, Editor of Beadwork and host of Jewelry Artist podcast