Taking on jewelry making as a creative hobby has a wide range of benefits. But once you’ve gotten hooked, how do you make it sustainable and enjoyable long term? Read on for our best tips!
It doesn’t matter how you fell into jewelry making as a hobby. It’s one of those hobbies that sucks you in and the next thing you know you’ve lost track of 4 hours each time you work and have lots of tiny little jewelry pieces lying around. As a crafting hobbyist, you want to make sure you keep your jewelry making hobby enjoyable over the years and sustain it for years to come.
Benefits of a Creative Hobby
First, let’s take a quick look at the benefits a creative hobby, like jewelry making, can provide. Most importantly, a creative hobby is a stress reliever (I hear those of you saying “It should be, but sometimes it raises my blood pressure not lowers it” and we’ll get to that). Your creative hobby can also boost your self-esteem and give you a sense of pride in completing something. It’s also great for your brain as you work out how to make something – and potentially have to problem solve when things don’t quite work. Creative hobbies can also get you out of your comfort zone and help you connect with new people!
Getting Started with Your Jewelry Making Hobby
Learning a new hobby is always the fun part! A lot of times we crafty people fall into new creative hobbies: a quick video on social media, a friend or family member convinced us to give it a try, or maybe we actually took a short community education style class somewhere. Now that we’ve been inspired to make jewelry as our new hobby, we need to get our supplies!
Supplies You’ll Need
First, you need some tools. The exact list will vary depending on which style of jewelry you want to make. Beaders and metalsmiths don’t always need the same tools. But a basic list that most people will need to get started with jewelry making would be:
- Pliers – flat, chain nose, and round
- Cutters – wire and sheet shears
Learn more about these tools (and one of our favorite jewelry tool makers) in our Xuron blog.
For beading projects, you’ll also want to add:
- Ultra-fine point cutters for tight places
- Crimping pliers
- A jeweler’s glue such as Starbond
- And of course your materials such as stringing wire, beads, jump rings, crimp beads, and closures (I.e. spring rings or toggles)
- Organization! Plan ahead with this so you don’t end up losing anything
Check out our Best Beading Tools blog for a full list with details.
If you’re going the metalsmithing route, you may also want to add some of these items, depending on your project ideas:
- A bench block - small metal block to easily hammer your metal, you may also want a sand bag or bean bag to help with the noise
- Hammers – rawhide, cross pein, ball pein, chasing, and/or stamping
- Jeweler's saw frame and blades
- Abrasives such as files and sandpaper
Check out our Essential Tools for Your Jewelry Studio blog for a more detailed list and which soldering tools you’ll want if you plan to try that.
The list of tools and supplies can seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to go out and buy everything at once. Start with a few basics to work on your first projects and add to your collection as you advance your skills. You may even be lucky enough to find good second-hand tools at a garage sale or an online marketplace, so always keep an eye out.
Keeping Your Jewelry Making Hobby Enjoyable
Let’s circle back to the idea of a jewelry making hobby as stress relieving. Your hobbies should be a break from your everyday stress and help you feel good about yourself. If you start feeling stressed over your hobby, take a step back and try one of these tips.
Unless you’re fully intending your jewelry making hobby to become your sole income sources, this is something fun to do when you need a break from real life. The only opinion that should matter is your own. Think of quirky designs! Find the funkiest beads you can. Purposely mismatch things just to see how it looks. Use your dog as inspiration!
Take this opportunity to make new connections or enhance your existing friendships. If you're taking a class, you'll likely meet some great new creative friends! Invite your friends over for a wine and jewelry making night! Making jewelry is even more fun when you're with a great group of other creatives. You can also try looking for local groups that get together to make projects or check out some Facebook groups to connect with makers around the world.
Take a Break
Take a break from your break! If your jewelry making hobby is starting to get a little stressful, put the project down for a little bit. Start off with a snack break to see if a little time away helps relieve the stress. If not, you may need to walk away for a day or two to get in the right creative mindset to finish your project.
Switch to Something Else
When one hobby upsets you, give some attention to another hobby! Maybe your jewelry making creativity just isn’t flowing today. Work on another creative project sitting around – we all know crafters have a project or two lying around just waiting to be finished. Once you feel accomplished from completing your other project, your jewelry juices might be flowing again.
Know Your Limits
One of our favorite crafting phrases to say is “I can make that.” But we sometimes have to admit to ourselves when we can’t “make that.” Whether we’re limited by our tools or our skillset, we all have our limits. Knowing your limits will help avoid stress and ensure jewelry making stays enjoyable as a hobby.
This one won’t be the easiest to accept for some of us: You won’t be perfect at your jewelry making hobby. Especially in the beginning, you’re going to mess up. Cut lines may not be straight, you might mis-measure your stringing wire, and you may not cleanly polish and finish your piece. But that’s okay! As you make more jewelry, your technique will get better and you’ll learn from your mistakes. Don’t allow your perfectionism to ruin your enjoyment of jewelry making.
Make Your Jewelry Making Hobby Sustainable
In theory, you’ll want to keep your jewelry making hobby going for a while. As crafters, we know starting new hobbies isn’t always cheap so we want to make sure we keep it sustainable for as long as it can bring us enjoyment and happiness. Try some of these tips to keep your hobby going long-term.
Set Realistic Timelines for Projects
Remember that jewelry making is your hobby at this point and you don’t want to burn out! Making friends and family Christmas gifts is always a great use of your hobby time. But don’t try to make every aunt, uncle, cousin, and in-law a piece of intricate jewelry two weeks before Christmas. The more pieces you want to make, the earlier you’ll have to start. So make sure you set a realistic timeline for your projects – keeping in mind that your other non-hobby work and tasks may interfere.
Sell Your Jewelry
You may not have goals of becoming a full-fledged business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a little extra money to help pay for your jewelry making hobby. Some of your local community organizations may hold craft shows (especially around the holidays) that you can set up at. Or offer your jewelry making services to your friends and family if they want to give a loved one a special gift.
Make sure you know any local laws about at what point selling your jewelry becomes a business.
Go Bargain Hunting
Most crafting hobbyists know that when your supplies or tools go on sale, grab them! If you’re looking for tools, check for second-hand sets that may end up at your local thrift store or sold online. Or even check out any garage or estate sales you hear about. A local college or studio school may even sell used tools at a discount. And of course if your favorite supplier or craft store puts your most used items on sale, consider grabbing some.
Learn New Skills
As you get more comfortable with your jewelry making, you may want to advance your skills. Try watching tutorials online or maybe even find a class that sounds interesting. If you always stick to the same skill and technique, you may get bored of your jewelry making hobby quickly.
Making jewelry is an incredibly fun and rewarding creative hobby. Keep it that way for a long time and enjoy the looks of your friends and family when they see your latest piece of jewelry.
Try out some of these fun projects:
Handmade Jewelry: Types and Techniques
How-to Make Simple Wire Hoop Earrings