Must-Have Tools and Materials for Crafting Handmade Jewelry

Must-Have Tools and Materials for Crafting Handmade Jewelry


Getting started crafting handmade jewelry requires a few basic tools and supplies to support your creativity. Collecting these essentials allows new jewelers to begin transforming materials into wearable art while more experienced makers will find the starter items remain vital foundations even for advanced techniques.

This guide covers selecting must-have jewelry making tools for key skills like stringing, wire wrapping, and metalwork. We’ll also explore foundational bead varieties and other core materials to stock. Building this beginner toolkit unlocks unlimited jewelry crafting potential no matter your current skill level. Let’s uncover the supplies and gear to unlock your inner jewelry artist!

Essential Jewelry Making Tools and Equipment

Certain basic yet versatile tools equip new jewelers with core capabilities for handling the most common jewelry methods.


Pliers provide controlled gripping and shaping of jewelry components. Basic types include:

  • Round nose pliers – Shaping loops and curves
  • Flat nose pliers – Grasping and manipulating
  • Chain nose pliers – Bending and repositioning
  • Wire cutters – Cutting wire cleanly

Awl and Beading Needles

Sharp awl picks and thin beading needles allow stitching beads and cord for stringing necklaces, bracelets and more.

Jeweler’s Work Surface

A bead mat, wood surface, or tray contains small parts, prevents loss, and protects tabletops. Some fold for storage.

Magnifying Glass

Tabletop magnifying glasses or head loupes allow precision work viewing miniature components, perfect for intricate wire wrapping or bead stringing.

Jewelry Crimping and Crimp Covers

Combined with pliers, crimp beads fasten cord ends securely. Covers or caps Add polished finished look. Vital for most strung jewelry.

Jewelry Adhesive and Finishings

Products like E6000 glue and clear sealants professionalize jewelry with clean, durable connections and finishes.

Helpful Advanced Tools to Add

Once comfortable with basics, upgrading with specialty pliers broadens jewelry capabilities for wireworking, chainmaking, and metal manipulation.

Bent and Specialty Pliers

Pliers like bent chainnose or curved jaw offer maneuverability into tight spaces. Nylon jaw pliers prevent marring metals.

Side Cutters and Clippers

Unlike wire cutters, these snip metal and tough materials cleanly without pinching and distortion. Great for perfect jump rings.

Mandrels, Mallets, and Hammers

Hammering textures and shapes metal using mandrels. Chasing hammers allow fine detailing. Rawhide mallets protect surfaces.

Soldering Torch

Combining small pieces into larger projects like filigree requires a jeweler’s torch and solder. Adds metal fabrication options.

Rotary Engraving Tool

Spinning burr bits on this versatile Dremel-like tool abrade, carve, drill, and texture metal quickly. Enables detail.

Beads for Stringing and Embellishing

Collecting an inspiring palette of beads jumpstarts handmade jewelry projects. Focus first on versatile bead essentials:

Seed Beads

These tiny uniformly shaped glass beads serve as stitching foundations for bracelets, necklaces, and amulet bags. Varying sizes, colors, and finishes available.

Glass Gemstone Beads

Faceted and smooth glass in gemstone shapes and colors like crystal, jade, and agate add focal shine.

Natural Stone and Wood Beads

Semiprecious stones like turquoise and beads cut from materials like rosewood or jasper contribute natural organic beauty.

Metal Beads and Spacers

Gold, silver, and carved metal beads add glamour. Small disks and jewelry findings become meaningful spacers.

Pearl Beads

Classic real and faux pearls available at many sizes and price points lend sophisticated elegance.

Helpful Advanced Bead Types to Try

Once comfortable with basics, continue building your beading palette with new special varieties offering unique shapes, textures, and embellishment.

Vintage Lucite and Plastic Beads

Uneven handmade plastic and Lucite beads from past decades have a distinctive retro vibe perfect for bohemian looks.

Lampwork Glass Beads

Intricate handmade lampwork glass beads display swirling colors and millefiori patterns. Each is artfully unique.

Bone, Horn, and Wood Beads

Natural material beads like bone, horn, and sustainably sourced tropical hardwoods add uncommon organic texture.

Ceramic Beads

Intricately hand-painted or carved ceramic beads offer creative flair and artisanal texture tofiber jewelry.

Enamel Beads

Intense opaque and transparent glass enamel coats metal cores, resulting in vibrant durable beads perfect for statement pieces.

Essential Jewelry Findings and Components

Finishings like clasps and jump rings bring jewelry together into professional wearable pieces.


Secure clips, lobster clasps, hooks, and toggles finish necklaces, bracelets and more for stylish closure. Always have extras.

Jump and Split Rings

Connecting chains and charms is a cinch with jump rings. Varied sizes are essential. Split key rings open and close.

Earring Wires and Backs

For handcrafted earrings choose comfortable and durable earwire finding pairs in finishes matching beads like gold filled.

Crimp Beads and Crimp Covers

Tiny metal crimp beads permanently fasten cord ends when compressed. Covers create clean looks.

Bead Tips and Cones

Metal tips professionalize jewelry ends and transitions by covering knots and cord. Cones tip bead strands elegantly.

Advanced Finding Types to Try

Specialized findings expand creative options for jewelry assembly, structure, and hang.

Head Pins, Eye Pins, and Swivel Clasps

Jewelry wire pins allow linking individual beads in rows or as connectors. Moveable clasps prevent twisting.

Bails and Pendant Trays

Bails attach to pendants to suspend as necklaces while trays mount flat backs. Jewelry chains thread through the bail loop.

Rivets and Eyelets

Permanent riveted joins professionalize projects. Eyelets thread cords neatly through pierced holes.

Brooch Backings and Pin Stems

Attaching a sturdy pin back fastener transforms any jeweled element into a wearable brooch. Safety catches keep pins secure.

Helpful Materials for Jewelry Making

Beyond beads and findings, stocking a few material basics facilitates getting creative fast.

Jewelry Wire

Essential metals like copper, bronze, brass, and sterling silver wire in varied gauges suit all techniques. Purchase larger spools for value.

Leather Cord and Thread

Durable waxed nylon and leather cords for necklaces. Silamide thread suits beading intricate seed bead embroidery.


Spools of link chain in materials from steel to gold fill become necklaces, bracelets, and embellishment. Lobster clasps attach.

Jewelry Boxes and Displays

Stay organized with compartmentalized plastic bead storage, lockable cases, and presentation displays like necklace stands and velvet trays.

Maker Tools

Usefulness basics include cutters, pliers, a butane micro torch, wire cutters, extra ties, and cleaning cloths. Prepare for making nearly anything.


The best part of handmade jewelry is that makers require only a few solid tools and materials to begin creating an infinity of unique wearable art. Start by collecting the core essentials detailed here. As your skills grow, continue adding new specialty pliers, beads, findings, and advanced components to expand your options and techniques. Soon you’ll look at every object around you with fresh eyes, envisioning the possibilities to transform it into handcrafted jewelry treasures. Let your starter supplies ignite a lifelong creative passion!

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