Ever wonder what jewelry tools you need to get started in jewelry making? Here’s a primer on our three favorite jewelry tools: chain-nose pliers, round-nose pliers, and wire cutters. We use these for almost all our projects. Plus we’ve included a how-to for beaded earrings that uses all three.
Our Favorite Jewelry Making Tools
Chain-nose pliers are flat inside the jaws. We use chain-nose pliers to hold things (like having a more precise thumb and finger) like a lobster clasp, a jump ring, or a pendant. The tool allows us to see what we are doing without our fingers getting in the way! We also use these pliers to open and close jump rings, to flatten crimp beads, and to grasp wire for wire wrapping.
*Be sure to choose a pair of chain-nose pliers with no ridges inside the jaws that might mar your jewelry.*
Round-nose pliers are round inside the jaws and taper to a point. We use round-nose pliers to make loops in wire and to bend wire. You can make smaller loops at the small end and larger loops at the larger end.
*The tapered jaws of the round-nose pliers work like a tiny mandrel to bend wire around.*
Wire cutters are sharp enough to cut most gauges of jewelry wire. They are also called “flush cutters” since one side can be placed flat against your project and cut the wire flush with your project. We protect our wire cutters from being borrowed for household use. It is crucial that they stay sharp.
*Wire cutters, aka flush cutters, have a flush side (pictured here on the bottom). Place that side against your project before you snip.*
Blooming Flower Earrings
Here’s a fun earring project that uses all three tools if you want to try your out!
2 Lucite Flower Beads, Magenta, 12x14mm
2 Flower Bead Caps, Gold Plated, 4x12mm
2 Flower Bead Caps, Gold Plated, 4x6mm
4 Crystal Bicone Beads, Light Yellow, 4mm
2 Crystal Bicone Beads, Peach, 4mm
2 Crystal Bicone Beads, Green, 5mm
2 Round Metal Beads, Gold Plated, 2mm
22 Glass Seed Beads, Gold Color, Size 15/0
6 Ball Headpins, Gold Plated
2 Eye Pins, Gold Plated
2 Earrings Wires, Gold Plated
Steps To Make One Earring
1. To make each of the two yellow stamens, slide a yellow bicone bead and four seed beads onto a ball headpin. Using the round-nose pliers, bend a 90-degree turn in the wire.
Reposition the round-nose pliers to grip the wire just beyond the 90-degree turn, then using your fingers, pull the tail of the wire around the pliers to form a complete loop. Use the wire cutters, flat-side facing your project, to trim the end of the wire.
2. Use the technique in step 1 to create another component with one peach bicone and three seed beads.
3. Use the round-nose pliers and the chain-nose pliers to open the loop in the eye pin. To do so, grip the sides of the loop with the pliers and pull one side toward you while you push the other side away, like opening a gate. (This way you won’t distort the round shape of the loop.)
4. Slide two yellow and one peach stamens onto the open loop. Use both set of pliers to close the loop.
5. Slide the flower bead onto the eye pin, open side down, pulling the stamens inside the flower and hiding the eye pin loop.
6. Next, slide the large flower bead cap, facing down onto the eye pin over the flower. Slide the small flower bead facing up onto the eye pin. Then slide a green bicone and the small gold bead onto the eye pin.
7. Use the round-nose pliers to form a loop in the end of the eye pin as in step 1.
8. Open the loop in an earring wire using the chain-nose pliers, slide on the beaded earring, then close the loop. Repeat the process to make the second earring.
[…] *This project is super easy and fast, but you will need jewelry tools. If you’re unfamiliar with round-nose pliers and chain-nose pliers, we have a little introduction to jewelry tools page. See it here. […]