Our Top 15 of 2015: Your Favorite Jewelry Making Projects, Tips, and Techniques

What a great year 2015 was for Jewelry Making Daily! We celebrated our fifth birthday and got a brand-spankin’ new website packed full of jewelry-making projects and tutorials, tips and techniques, inspiring jewelry designs and much more. Let’s look back at the 15 most popular blogs for ’15!

  1. how to hide silver solder seams on copper jewelry makingThe price of silver has fallen to a much less painful point, but alternative metals (like brass and especially copper) continue to hold a popular spot. There are some fairly effective copper and brass color-match solders on the market, but what if you’re using silver solder to join copper pieces? We learned a handy way to hide the glaring silver solder on copper in Metal Mix Up: A Smart Trick for Soldering Copper and Other Alternative Metals.
  • how to make wire band rings14. Stack rings, band rings, big bold show-offy cocktail rings–no matter what kind of ring you want to make, it’s wise to start with making a perfectly soldered, perfect fit ring band. Once you’ve mastered this basic technique with the free ring tutorial in Metalsmithing Basics: Learn to Make One-of-a-Kind Rings in an Hour, you’ll have the essential foundation required for making any kind of rings you like.
  1. how to ball wire endsJust this week on Facebook, a jewelry artist friend posted that there’s something so Zen about making balled head pins. I completely agree; it’s surely the most relaxing thing I do in the studio. You can chill out with us when you learn best practices for making your own balled head pins and get a complete free tutorial in Handmade Wire Findings: Make Your Own Balled Head Pins. (And sometimes when I’m in a creative mood but don’t know what I want to make, I ball ends of wires in various gauges and metal types for use later, until my creative juices start to flow.)
  1. No matter how fabulous your jewelry is, or even how perfectly you finish it, potential online buyers and show jurors will never know it if your photography is dull, dark, or otherwise lacking. Learn to make your photos as professional and as eye-catching as your jewelry designs with Photographing Your Jewelry: Tips on What To Do (and What Not To Do) for Great Photos.
  1. how to use a wire gauge for wire jewelry makingTop Tips for Beginning Wire Jewelry Making is one of the first blogs ever on Jewelry Making Daily, yet each year, it shows up in our best of the year blog list. Apparently there is always someone who needs to learn (or be reminded of) basic wire jewelry-making information like what gauge to use for jump rings and other findings, how to make ear wires, and how to use a wire gauge. It’s a keeper!
  • new jewelry making projects we love, including square copper tubing10. I always love finding new (or new-to-me) jewelry-making tools and supplies to share with you. Many manufacturers share their latest offerings with me, I see many great new products in Tucson and at BeadFest, and I find some at bead stores and even craft stores, too. Last year you particularly enjoyed seeing my latest findings in Look What I Found: 5 Fun and Inspiring New Jewelry-Making Supplies and How to Use Them. Watch for more next month after Tucson!


  1. which is best for your jewelry making project, soldering vs fusing?Last year, in Soldering vs Fusing: Learn the Pros and Cons in Jewelry Making and When to Do Which, many of you learned the difference between soldering and fusing, when you should or can fuse instead of soldering and vice versa, and more from our guest contributor, metalsmithing expert and author Kate Richbourg. Since this blog first published a few years ago, I’ve heard many of you say you can and do fuse sterling silver or copper, not just fine silver, but I haven’t tried it yet. If you do, feel free to tell us about it in the comments below!


  1. In addition to Denise’s wire jewelry-making basics and tips in number 11, her popular blog Make Great Wire Jewelry: 4 Essential Finishing Tips rounds out the most important information that every wire jewelry-maker should know for creating professional-quality wire jewelry.


  1. how to use a dremel plus a free riveted metal jewelry making projectKate Richbourg is always a fun and popular contributor, and her Ode to the Dremel blog with a free tutorial for making a textured, riveted pendant was no exception. She shared basics about Dremel accessories and use for grinding, cutting, polishing, etc., and then puts them into practice in a quick but rewarding project.


  • make wire hoop earrings with this free easy tutorial6. Another one of our talented guest contributors, Laurel Nathanson shared colorful beaded and wire hoop earrings that are loaded with charm and possibility. They’re a quick project for most jewelry makers, but the tutorial is simple and detailed enough for beginners to succeed. Plus with the limitless wire shapes you can make them in and beads you can use to embellish them (or not!), you can spend days in the studio churning out one adorable pair of stylish hoop earrings after another. Make Metal Hoop Earrings and Embellish with Beads also includes an easy way to make secured earring hooks or wires.
  1. soldering tips, such as heating from beneath on an elevated surface to prevent melting bezelsAnother top contributor to Jewelry Making Daily is Lexi Erickson, queen of soldering who has authored many articles and hosted numerous best-selling videos on metalsmithing, soldering, etching, and more. I always love it when Lexi writes for us, and my own blogs are often filled with tips and other wisdom I’ve learned from her. I shared many of those super handy soldering tips in Solder Like A Pro: 9 Tips for Creating Perfect Solder Joins Every Time.


  1. wire jewelry tip of the year: make ear wire sets in minutesThis one is no surprise! When Eleanore Macnish, lampwork glass artist and metalsmith extraordinaire, offered to share the Wire Jewelry Tip of the Year for making perfect ear wire sets in minutes with our readers a few years ago, I knew it was special–but I had no idea how popular it would continue to be, year after year. I love seeing how excited everyone gets each time I share it on Facebook. It’s crazy handy and awesome, that’s for sure!


  1. learn to embellish polymer clay with powders, inks, image transfers, and moreWe don’t get to do enough polymer clay jewelry making to suit me, so I love seeing this one so near the top spot! Polymer Clay Beyond the Basics: 8 New Tips, Techniques, and Embellishments is an informative blog for polymer clay artists of all levels. You’ll learn to use image transfers with polymer clay, to make faux-metal components in clay, use powdered pigments with clay, create a crackle finish in clay, and more.


  • learn broom casting in this free tutorial1. Ta da! The most popular blog of 2015 was a free tutorial on broom casting, along with tips and safety information as well as inspiring broom-cast jewelry. Originally published in the June 2007 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine and republished on JMD in April of 2012, Brad Smith’s Introduction to Broom Casting tutorial is proving to be timeless information for metalsmiths. Have you tried it yet?


Thanks for joining me for a look back at 2015. Didn’t we learn a lot and have a lot of fun? Now here’s to a great 2016! If there’s a jewelry-making topic or technique you’d like us to cover this year, let me know in the comments below.

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