If you’re similar to millions of others in this world, you’ve probably spent some time scrolling through Etsy pages and wishing you could hand-make something as nice as what’s on there. How do people even create such beautiful jewelry all on their own? Where do you even start?
A burst of boredom over the past couple months drove me to look further into making elegant jewelry worthy of being sold on Etsy. I wanted to create simple but beautiful necklaces that I could wear.
I was lucky to already have some experience. Throughout high school, I was in my school’s marching band. During my senior year, we decided to create adjustable necklaces with beads for each year of band. I ended up spending a lot of time using a double-knot technique to craft these necklaces, and it got me thinking about what else I could use this for.
My journey of jewelry-making began with this inspiration. I thought about how comfortable and convenient the necklaces we’d made for band were. I wanted to create more and see what it could turn into.
I began collecting cute rocks and gemstones. While in Cape Cod on vacation, I found a beautiful white stone which I was determined to turn into something elegant.
The first step to beginning my jewelry-making journey was to head to my local Michael’s craft store. The best part about Michael’s – or any craft store – is that they have endless cute gems, tools, stickers, and almost anything else you can think of. In a way, going to a craft store is an adventure in itself. Even if you don’t have anything in particular that you’re looking for, you may end up buying a variety of materials to use around your home or for any DIY décor ideas you’ve been considering.
But, if you’re focusing mainly on jewelry making, there are a few things you absolutely need. First, to make an adjustable knot like what I mentioned earlier, it’s necessary to have parachute cord. Many necklaces are made out of simple metal chains with clips at the end, but I’ve found that they tend to be more expensive and more difficult to work with. Parachute cord is an easy replacement and it allows your necklace to be totally adjustable – you can even wear them as chokers! (Which looks super cute, especially with the thicker cord)
Beyond that, you’re definitely going to want something to make the centerpiece. Anything works. Crystals and other stones are great ideas, but so are any little charms you may find in the craft store. I’ve even considered using shells or other cute trinkets.
Finally, you need wire and pliers. Wire is pretty commonly found in craft stores – it’s best to get a thin roll of it that you can cut to break pieces off. Note: you can’t cut wires with scissors, so you may need to find something a little stronger at Michael’s (and I’d definitely not recommend attempting with a knife). When it comes to pliers, you want to get ones that are small enough to work with thin wires and small charms. The ones I got had a cone-shaped tip, which helped give a cleaner look.
You may also choose to buy superglue or hot glue just to solidify your creations, although it’s not necessary.
Once you have all your materials, things should be quite easy from there! Once I got the hang of making one or two, I was able to quickly create a ton at once.
I started with the parachute cord. I’d cut it about thirty inches long and use a match to burn the ends. You definitely want to be careful not to burn yourself!
Next: the charm. It’s completely up to you how you want to make this. I’ve made it a habit of using a criss-cross pattern on the gemstones and gluing it together. This is where you can really get creative, so I won’t say too much! As long as you have some way to get the charm on the parachute cord, such as a wire loop at the top to thread the cord through, you’ll be fine.
Then, you just have to thread the charm onto the cord. The technique for creating an adjustable necklace isn’t as horrifying as it seems either. Essentially, it involves creating two knots. It’s shown in this video, a lot better than I could explain it. There are also plenty of ways to do this – if you’re having trouble with one technique, you can always look up a bunch more!
While making jewelry allows me to be super creative, it’s also a very unique hobby to take up if you have some free time. Usually, when people think about being artistic and crafty, they imagine cute picture frames and beautiful paintings. Jewelry can be just as much an outlet for your creative side as anything else. Plus, being able to work with wire and create knots is very relaxing.
Jewelry-making may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely something you should try out if you get the chance. It’s not too difficult once you get into it, and there’s nothing as exciting as seeing a finished product of something you created entirely by yourself.
Also published on Medium.