13 November 2012

DIY: Basic Jewelry-Making

This post is written by contributing author Paige Ronchetti.

I haven't talked about it much here, but I make jewelry for a living. It's not life-changing work like brain surgery or designing a better solar panel, but the skills are surprisingly useful. Really! Designing a whole piece from scratch may be kind of tedious for some people, but basic jewelry skills are so handy. One of the easiest things to do is remove extra/unwanted beads from a piece, which is a great thing to know when you buy pieces secondhand (or get something strange for Christmas).
how to make jewelry

To get started, you just need your piece of jewelry and these two pliers, which are available at craft stores or large websites like Amazon:

how to make jewelry

I'm making over this necklace. I loved the color of the beads, but the dangly teardrops on the bottom were too much for my simple taste.

how to remake a necklace at home

The dangly beads are attached by metal pieces called jump rings, which are extremely common in jewelry-making. To remove the beads, we just need to open the rings.

Take your needle-nose pliers in one hand and your round-nose pliers in the other. Use them to grip the metal. Open the ring by moving one hand toward your body. Don't try to pull the ring sideways or you'll never get it back together if you decide to use it again.

diy jewelry making

When you pull the ring apart, it should look like this:

Just slip the ring off the chain and repeat until all of the beads are gone. Conversely, if you want to add beads to something, you open the ring the same way, slide the bead and chain into the opening, and close the ring by pushing the ends back together. It might take a little practice to line the ends up again, but once you figure it out it's like riding a bike.

In the end, my "new" necklace looked like this:

Ah, much better. And now I have a little pile of beads I can turn into something else! Maybe I'll show you more about that next time... Have you ever tried your hand at jewelry-making? What are some of your favorite tips for making over a piece?

Photographs by Paige Ronchetti.

Paige Ronchetti lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband. They have no kids and no pets, which gives them a lot of time for eating spicy food and looking for bargains. Paige's blog is Little Nostalgia is a collection of projects and pretty things. There you can find DIY tutorials, home decor inspiration, and affordable fashion ideas. When she is not blogging, Paige is working on her vintage-inspired jewelry lines, Little White Chapel and Oh Nostalgia. Connect to Paige via twitter or pinterest.


  1. I really like the "new" version! Very pretty and the color is beautiful! Thank you for the tips!

  2. I like the necklace much better without the drops too. =0)