Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tools and Supplies Needed for Silk Knotted Jewelry

Making your own jewelry can be very rewarding. This guide was developed to explain the tools I use to make all of my silk knotted jewelry projects. Understanding the uses of these tools will help you start making beautiful silk knotted jewelry.

Tools Needed:

Needle Nose Tweezers
Cost: approximately $3.00

This tool is useful for knot placement. Most jewelers use a needle to move their knots close to the beads. I find that my method works just as well without the expense of a needle board.

Bead Board
Cost: approximately $4.00

The bead board is helpful for two main purposes. You can lay out your design before you start stringing. This is helpful as you will most certainly want to experiment with your bead placement.

The main purpose is for measuring. The zero at the bottom of the board indicates where your necklace will be centered on your neck. A sixteen inch necklace would take beads up each side starting at the zero to approximately seven and a half inches allowing an inch for your clasp. This is also helpful for pendant or center bead placement. This photo was borrowed from Fire Mountain Gems.

Chain Nose Pliers
Cost: approximately $4.00

This plier is helpful for closing your bead tips. I find that I reach for this plier for almost all of my projects. It is one of my most used tools. Note: Be sure that when you purchase this type of plier that the mouth is smooth or non-serrated. Serrated pliers leave marks on your finished pieces and take away from the quality of your work.

Cost: approximately $2.00

A small scissor is especially helpful for cutting in tight places and close to glued knots. Be sure that when you cut your silk that you have glued the knot first. It is very important not to cut the knot.

Cost: Approximately $5.00-$30.00

I use a five dollar caliper and it works great. Where can you find this item? I found mine at a local hardware store for a couple of dollars. The bead stores sell calipers but they often run over $20.00 and are digital. If you can afford it they are certainly easier to read.

Why the Caliper? Almost all beads are measured in millimeters. It helps to have an understanding about what size your bead is. If you have never used a caliper you will find that it not much different then working with a ruler except that you place your bead inside the mouth. The line indicating the zero at the slide part of the caliper lines up to a hatch mark. That hatch mark indicates the size of your bead in millimeters. This pearl is 7mm as indicated in the picture above.

16" strand of 6 mm pearls
Quantity 1 strand
Cost: Approximately $5.00

Sterling Silver Double Cups
Quantity 2
Cost: Approximately $3.25 for a package of 10 (size .029mm)

Sometimes this finding is called a bead tip. I have even heard it referred to as clam shells. You will need a total of two, one for each end of the necklace. This is what the clasp will be fastened to. The best size for most of my projects is .029mm.

Sterling Silver Pearl Clasp
Quantity 1
Cost: Approximately $3.50 each

Sometimes this clasp is referred to as a Filigree clasp. For a standard silk knotted necklace I find that a clasp with dimensions approximately 20x6.5x3.5mm works great. Other types of smaller clasps are also acceptable.

Griffin #6 white silk thread
Quantity 1 card
Cost: Approximately $3.00

The needle comes attached to the silk. You can easily get two to three necklaces out of one card of silk. Pictured here are both sizes 6 and 8. I use a size 6 for most 6mm bead projects. Note: Size 8 is a thicker silk thread than size 6.

Cost: Approximately $5.00

I use a specific type of adhesive called G-S Hypo Cement for jewelry making. I like it because it is durable, dries fast and clear like super glue. I believe super glue would work well; however, I have never tried it.

Be sure to store your tube of G-S standing up right if possible to avoid leaking. Wiping your tip clean before placing the needing back into the spout. This will keep your glue from sealing at the tip (see the oval picture). If you do this it will last for a very long time.

After you have collected these tools you will be ready to start one on my silk necklace projects.

All the photos used in this article I took myself.


Dave Robertson said...

Hi Kristen, I was drawn in because I was interested in the title. Scrolling down through your post, I was more and more pleased to see the prices you list for each item. It's so great that you took the time to lay out this intro lesson, and it's even better when the reader can see that it won't cost much at all!

Thank you for a good read :)

at Rings & Things

Kristen Haskell said...

Thanks Dave! I appreciate your comment. I really have a ton of ideas for beading projects. I want to post my project ideas. It is my intention to show people how much they can actually save by making their own beautiful jewelry. Right now I am trying to get all the steps photographed or videos made for the pearl necklace project. FYI I love Rings & Things.

Dave Robertson said...

Kristen, we're on the same page. We (R&T) want to give people as much information as possible to make affordable and beautiful jewelry.

Thanks for the compliment on our company! :)


Jewelry Making Supplies said...

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