Easy Ways to Get Started Using Metals in Your Jewelry Making Projects

Oct 17, 2012

I've always gravitated towards using metals in my bead-weaving and jewelry making projects. Metallic glass seed beads and metal seed beads are favorite beading supplies of mine, and now I've discovered how easy (and how much fun!) it is to use customized metal jewelry making components in my beaded jewelry design ideas.

Add Dimension with a Dapping Block

Using a dapping block is actually a lot easier than I thought. I bought this wood dapping block from my local craft store, and it was actually a smart move for someone who wants to get started with metals in their jewelry making projects. According to Tammy Jones, my favorite Jewelry Making Daily guru, you won't leave marks or mar your metal jewelry making components when you use a wood dapping block. If you like to use jewelry making components made of soft metals like brass, it's just as easy to shape them with a wood dapping block as it is a metal one, and you won't run the risk of ruining your piece.

Making Holes in Metal Jewelry Making Components

Punching holes so that you can attach your metal jewelry making components is actually much easier than I used to think it was! My first favorite tool is my hole punching pliers. These make a small hole that is the perfect size to accommodate a jump ring or a few seed beads to hang my piece of metal from a seed bead chain.

For thicker metals, I have this handy dandy screw punch. It's a little harder to use than the hole punch pliers, but it still only takes a few minutes to get a perfect hole in my metal component. I've also taken the screw punch in my carry-on bag when I fly, where I've been made to stash the pliers in my checked baggage. (As always, make sure you double check with your particular airline before packing your jewelry making supplies for travel!)

Coloring Your Metals

Earlier this year, I discovered how much fun it was to paint my metal jewelry making components with the Vintaj Patina inks! Just like painting with acrylic paints, these were specially formulated to be permanent on metals, and they can turn an ordinary metal jewelry making component into something extraordinary in just a few strokes of a brush.

Suzanne Branca at A Grain of Sand also recommended using inexpensive nail polish for coloring the vintage metal components she sells. Sure enough, a thick coat of really cheap nail polish gives your vintage metals an enameled look, perfect for re-creating the costume jewelry styles of the 1930s and 40s.

Another option for coloring your brushed aluminum jewelry making components is using Sharpie markers. Heidi Viau, owner and founder of Lillypilly Designs, showed me how easy it is to use a colored marker and a ProPolish pad to add beautiful colors to these anodized aluminum components. They make fun jewelry making elements for bracelets and earrings when you need a quick gift for someone!

Learn More About Using Metals in Jewelry Making Projects

Working with metals in your jewelry making projects is easier than you think. If you enjoyed this little primer on easy ways to get started with metals in jewelry making, you'll want to check out Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine. Each issue is packed with inspiration and instruction for jewelry makers of all levels, helpful jewelry business advice, and information about the newest jewelry making tools and techniques. Subscribe to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist today and try your hand at some creative experiments for your jewelry making projects!

Have you started using metals in your beading and jewelry making projects yet? What advice would you have for someone just getting started? Do you have a favorite technique for customizing your metal jewelry making components? Share your thoughts and advice and leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

Laurkim wrote
on Oct 17, 2012 3:34 AM

Love your information but sadly I am in Australia and cannot take advantage of many perks. But seriously Americans just blow me away with your talent! Love your artistry and diversity .

ScottishSue wrote
on Oct 17, 2012 11:27 AM

Thanks for talking about wood vs. metal dapping blocks.  I've wanted one for a while but was only finding wooden ones locally.  I was going to wait for a metal one.

Now I'm going to go get that wooden one.

ScottishSue

BethM@3 wrote
on Oct 23, 2012 1:03 AM

I'm wondering how durable the nail polish, paint and marker colors would be after a year or two - or is the idea only for intended for fashion jewelry that's tossed after a few seasons?

Aunty Akoya wrote
on Oct 23, 2012 4:31 PM

Ohhh yes, that gave me a reminder to finally try some patina myself.... love your blogs!!