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Photo illustration by Cathie Rowand | The Journal
Crafty living

Gear up for jewelry making

It’s hot out there crafters and, if you’re anything like me, the last thing you want to be dealing with is a giant yarn project in your lap.

So, I went over some of my other favorite crafts to come up with what you need to get if you’re interested in trying something new.

I decided jewelry making/beading was the perfect summertime craft that isn’t too difficult to get the right supplies for (no heavy machinery required).

I talked to my friend Jackie Smith, who has been making and selling jewelry for about a decade, about what she believes you need to get started in the craft of beading.

Smith, whom I’ve known for eight or nine years, started making jewelry on a lark. She was at a friend’s pool one summer and the friend was making earrings and asked Smith if she’d like to give it a try. She did and she kept going, making enough earrings to have a small display at a garage sale that summer; they all sold. From there, she’s taught herself many techniques and offers a variety of jewelry: anklets, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, barefoot sandals. You name it, Smith’s willing to try making it. She also does a bit of fundraising with her craft, most recently giving a portion of her profits to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. I can attest to her willingness to try things as she made me a gorgeous set of stitch markers for my knitting and crocheting.

Anyway, Smith was willing to give me a little bit of her time during a packed schedule this week to offer a rundown of what she believes you’ll need to start beading. Here’s her list, in no particular order:


•Beading wire

•Crimp tubes

•Head pins

•Eye pins

•Needle nose pliers

•Round nose (or chain) pliers

•Crimping tool

•Flush (wire) cutter

•A beading board (which helps you measure your piece and string the beads).

I decided, based on my experience with making jewelry, to add:

•Jump rings

•Earring wires



And, says Smith, “A basic knowledge of how to do stuff, and a lot of that (you) can find online.”

There are plenty of beading tutorials on the Internet, as well as written instructions, photo tutorials and video tutorials.

“So many people are visual and want to see it done,” she said.

Smith occasionally teaches a class at the Chocolate Thimble in Huntertown, and she says classes are available at Hobby Lobby and Jo-Ann.

But, “everything I’ve learned I’ve taught myself,” with the exception of one complicated weaving technique, Smith said.

“I’m pretty much self-taught by watching, learning, making it 10 times and screwing it up nine,” she said.

I can certainly understand where Smith is coming from. Just about everything I know about crocheting I learned all on my own, but more about that in a different column.

So, while the sun’s beating down and the temperatures are broiling, why not go out and make some bling that’ll sparkle in the sunshine?

Joyce McCartney is not a craft expert. She is, however, interested in crafting of all types. She shares her experiences and those of area crafters. To reach her, call 461-8364 or email Also, visit her blog at There, you will also find the weekly knitting podcast Math4Knitters.