More Great Jewelry-Making Supplies: 27 Common Items Every Jewelry Studio Needs

The more I make jewelry, the more regular household things prove themselves useful jewelry-making supplies and tools for the process. I find myself hoarding lids–lids that have lost their bowls, lids from sturdy takeout containers, all kinds of lids. They make perfect little project trays to keep findings and other jewelry-making supplies separate when I’m working on multiple projects at once or moving them from room to room. 

Bar Keeper’s Friend (a pumice) pairs up with Dawn detergent and a scrubber to clean silver jewelry.

In a recent blog post from Jewelry Making Daily contributor Eleanore Macnish, I discovered the value of ruler tape. Eleanore says she uses it all over the studio, and I can see why. I find myself needing to measure a little bit of this or that all day long (or wanting a good, accurate idea of how big something is when I read, online or in a book, that it’s 1-1/2″ x 4″ or 30mm wide), and the ruler never seems to be handy. With short lengths of ruler tape all over the place, a ruler is never out of reach.

So I’m adding ruler tape and lids to my list of 23 jewelry-making supplies that every studio needs. That takes me up to 25. . . .

Jewelry Making Daily members added their own great jewelry-making supplies and tips as comments to my blog list when it was first published, including using diabetic test strip cases as small storage containers if you don’t have photo film containers (that’s 26–thanks DORDEE!) and using nail clippers as cutters for thread, beading cord, and the like–even thin wire and pins (thanks meilandru!). They’re inexpensive, sharp little things that everyone has a few of lying around, and as meilandru pointed out, their curved blades help you get a snug cut around beads. That’s brilliant jewelry-supply idea number 27!

Some folks use Altoids tins for storage, but I’m a Godiva Chocolate Pearl tin girl (of course). They’re vertical and taller, making them good for eye/head pins, needles, etc.

Here are a few favorite everyday jewelry-making supplies from the original list:

  • Send bathroom tissue, fabric scraps, or textured paper (such as old wallpaper samples, greeting cards, etc.) through a rolling mill with sheet metal for beautifully unique textures. Bonus: Coarse fabric doubles as very fine sandpaper or polishing cloth, and crocus cloth from auto-supply shops can be torn in strips and used for sanding or thrumming.
  • Window screening also creates great textures in a rolling mill, and plastic window screen doubles as a strainer for holding small parts when pickling, using liver of sulfur, enameling, and more. (Don’t use metal screen in pickle.)
  • WD-40 is good to keep tools oiled and whirring along smoothly, and beeswax makes a perfect lube for saw blades.

Now that you’ve got the best-stocked studio in all the land and are in the mood for saving money and being resourceful with jewelry supplies, head over to the Jewelry Making Daily Shop, where you can download the 10 Metalsmithing Basics eBook.

Plus: Check out Lexi Erickson’s list of jewelry tools and supplies that aren’t so everyday but that every studio needs and share your favorite jewelry supplies and tips in the comments below!

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