Introduction: Welcome to Jewelry
Whether you're new to the craft or returning to jewelry making after some time away, welcome to the beginner-level Instructables jewelry class! The topic of jewelry making is extremely broad; this class is organized to introduce you to four domains, each with an example project. Even if you've got experience in one or more of the topics covered, I hope you will find something new to learn from this course. The supplies you need are listed in the Tools and Materials lesson, and again at the start of each project.
The class starts out quick and easy with a beaded bracelet that you can make almost anywhere, then levels up your skills with pliers and wire to make some wire-wrapped earrings. Next you'll cut out shapes from copper, silver, or brass and make a pendant or keychain. The final project is a simple soldered silver ring. After finishing the basic projects in this class, you'll be all set to tackle almost any DIY jewelry project of your own design.
Although the lessons are designed to be completed sequentially, building in complexity and investment, you are welcome to skip around. To earn the class completion badge for your profile, you need to complete one of the four projects, and post a photo in the Class Project module in the Conclusion. Apologies in advance to the folks reading who really would prefer the spelling "jewellery," y'all are just going to have to bear with us Americans (although metric measurements are included throughout).
Step 1: What You'll Learn
The first project you'll make is a beaded wrap bracelet made with Amazonite stones and leather cord. You might find this project quite satisfying and soon all your loved ones may have personalized versions you made just for them.
Trading soft, flexible leather for firm, yet still flexible, wire, the second project guides you through creating a pair of wire wrap and beaded earrings. Don't forget your safety glasses! You can use the same Amazonite beads as the bracelet project, or switch it up with something different. You'll build skills in shaping wire and jump rings with pliers, and optionally add some surface texture with a hammer and bench block.
The third class project teaches you how to cut, or pierce, sheet metal in any shape you choose. You'll use a jeweler's saw and needle files to create and refine the shape, then use various grits of sandpaper to create a smooth surface. Optionally speed things up and create a mirror finish with a flex shaft rotary tool and polishing compounds.
Soldering may be intimidating, but it's really not as hard as it may seem! While a few special tools are required to get things right, this simple silver ring project walks you through the process and explains each new tool. This final class project builds on the metal forming and finishing skills you learned in the wire and sheet metal projects.
Step 2: Meet Your Instructor
Pleased to meet you! I'm Becky Stern. I've loved making jewelry for as long as I can remember, from friendship bracelets at summer camp to silver soldering in high school. I still wear one of the first rings I ever made, more than 15 years later!
I love writing tutorials (Have you seen my classes on Arduino, Knitting, or Braids?), and I'm a proud member of the Instructables Design Studio team. Formerly I worked as director of wearable electronics at Adafruit and senior video producer at MAKE Magazine, and I've published hundreds of how-tos and videos all about DIY tech and crafts. In addition to publishing tutorials on all kinds of topics, I enjoy playing with my dog, making YouTube videos, vintage motorcycles, and hanging out at my local hackerspace, NYC Resistor. I also teach a class called Making Studio in the MFA Products of Design program at NYC's School of Visual Arts.
As you work through the lessons in this class, please feel free to ask questions using the Q&A modules at the bottom of each page. I'm looking forward to seeing what you make!