Throw a Jewelry Making Party with Danielle Fox and Debbie Blair!

From Jennifer: Do you know Danielle Fox and Debbie Blair? They are two of the fabulous editors here at Beadwork and Stringing magazines. Recently, they decided to throw a jewelry making party, and we thought we'd share their expert advice and show you how to throw a jewelry making party to remember!

You make your own jewelry. You wear your handmade jewelry. Your friends compliment your jewelry. You know what happens next: your friends ask you to share the love and teach them how to make jewelry, too. This has certainly been the case for us. And while we're always excited to get together with our girlfriends to craft, gossip, and—of course—eat, we've learned that hosting a successful jewelry-making party takes thoughtful planning and preparation. Presented here are our best tips for having a fun-filled stringing social!

Plan to teach a simple project at your party so that everyone is sure to go home with a finished piece of jewelry.

Prominently display a sample of the project you're teaching, plus any variations or other stringing projects you may have, so that your guests have visuals to refer to.

It's best to keep your party intimate (about five or six guests), so that you can give each guest personalized attention. If you ask someone to help you teach, expand the guest list accordingly and seat the experienced beader(s) between the beginners.

Set up each beading station with a fabric mat, tools, and instructions for the project you're going to teach. If you don't have a set of tools for everyone, place the tools you have in a shared spot on the table.

Jewelry-Making Party Timeline:

3–4 Weeks Before: Decide what project you want to teach and figure out how much the project will cost to make per person. Make a guest list, then send out invitations via e-mail, mail, or phone. If possible, include a photo of the project you’re going to teach. Be sure to ask for RSVPs so you know how many supplies to buy. Also make sure to tell your friends how much money to bring to the party to cover their materials (unless it’s your treat!).

2 Weeks Before: Purchase supplies based on the number of people who accepted your invitation. Assess your tool situation. Ask your beading friends if they have tools you can borrow or, if necessary, buy more.

1 Week Before: Prepare and print out a jewelry tutorial for each guest. Plan your menu and compile a shopping list. Determine if you have enough chairs, table space, and lighting for everyone. If not, ask your friends if you can borrow their card tables, chairs, and/or task lighting. Think about how you will arrange the tables and the serving area for your food and drink. Create a playlist on your iPod or select which CDs you want to play.

2–3 Days Before: Tidy your home. Purchase food and beverages. Prepare any dishes that can be made ahead. Pull out the necessary serving dishes, plates, glassware, flatware, linens, etc. Round up the items you need to borrow from friends.

1 Day Before: Set a place for each guest at the table(s). Put away any items in your home that might get in the way or broken.

Teaching Tips to Remember:

• Explain the difference between beading wire and gauged wire: Beading wire is flexible and available in different thicknesses. Gauged wire is made of metal and comes in many finishes, thicknesses and hardness.

• Describe the types of beads you are using and what other types are available. Discuss the findings you're using and their purpose.

• Name the tools that you're using and explain their purposes.

• Remind your beaders to add four inches onto the finished size desired for the beading wire.

• Remind your beaders to make sure the ends of the beading wire aren't crossed in the crimp tube for better crimping.

• Explain to your guests how to correctly open a jump ring by twisting it, not pulling it apart.

Have fun!

Are you ready to throw a fabulous jewelry making party? While you're preparing, don't forget to make sure you subscribe to Stringing magazine. Now, you can subscribe to Stringing magazine digitally through Zinio. You'll get each issue is delivered automatically to your laptop or tablet. You can pull up a project, zoom in, and share with everyone around you. Take your subscription wherever you go by subscribing to Stringing magazine digitally! Of course, you can still subscribe to Stringing magazine the "old-fashioned" way and receive a printed magazine every month. Either way, you'll receive lots of great projects, expert advice, step-by-step instructions and resources to make amazing beaded jewelry!

Have you ever thrown a jewelry making or beading party? Share your tips and your experiences here on the blog!

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Beading Daily Blog
Jennifer VanBenschoten

About Jennifer VanBenschoten

Born in New Jersey in 1974, I escaped to the Adirondacks for the first time in 1995, making it my permanent home in 2000.  I have been interested in beads, buttons and making jewelry as long as I can remember.  It's probably my mother's fault - she was a fiber artist and crochet historian, and whenever she ordered supplies from one mail order source, she would order a huge bag of assorted buttons and beads for me and my sister!    

3 thoughts on “Throw a Jewelry Making Party with Danielle Fox and Debbie Blair!

  1. One holiday season, I taught bracelets as part of a crafts party to help out a friend. The discoveries? First, several women decided they didn’t like/wear bracelets, so they foraged in my stash (which I thought I’d hidden well enough) and added beads for necklaces. Next, they soon realized they wouldn’t finish their new, longer projects, and tried to get me to take them home and finish them — for free. Others simply strewed beads all around and left them on the mat, the floor, or the table.

    My lessons? Clearly, I should have packaged the beads into kits and left the rest at home. Because there were so many crafts available, I should have had the hostess sign up participants, just as the instructors do at bead shows. The last thing would have been to provide a list of bead stores that allow clients to go in and use their tools for a small fee. In the end, only two persons finished their projects, and I took home one huge necklace for someone who was chronically ill.

    Naturally, that was the craziest lesson I ever taught, but did I ever learn one, too!

  2. In June of 2009, my aunt hosted her daughter’s bachelorette party, during which I guided my cousin & her attendants in making earrings. I saved some time & made things easier by making the ear wires ahead of time. I brought a variety of gemstone, glass, crystal beads, and fresh-water pearls (B grade) the women used to design their earrings. I supplied crystals in the bride’s wedding colors as well as ascent and complimentary colors. The party was great, all 8 women had fun, as did I. Since then, I prefer to put together bead kits rather than have a free-for-all, and I have extra kits of beads & findings available in different sizes for $1 to $7. This works well for those who want more than what us in the kit included in class fee.