If you’ve got a teenager or tween in your house, knowing how to make some basic jewelry is a fantastic and frugal skill to have. I am able to whip up birthday and Christmas presents not only for myself and my own kiddo–but now earrings are my “go to” super frugal gift for Princess to take to birthday parties!
Believe it or not, you can buy your tools and make several pairs of these cute earrings, a basic bracelet, and have beads and findings (that’s the metal parts) left over for $20. And you only need to know one basic jewelry making skill-making a head pin loop.
Now don’t get me wrong-this stuff isn’t fine jewelry. Folks like my friend Lisa Lehmann the artist behind Studio Jewel makes truly stunning stuff–in comparison my little baubles are laughable. But my basic beading is cute and can be made in tons of colors to match anything I might wear. And I can kick my stuff up a notch if I want by purchasing silver findings instead of the regular metal ones, or by purchasing fancier beads.
(Note: I am not saying jewelry making is always a frugal hobby–it is easy to get sucked in to purchasing lots of pretty beads, findings, cording and tools that you do not have a specific project in mind for. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! But if you are strong, buy only what you need, wait for sales, and even rip apart and re-purpose old jewelry you can make some cute stuff in a frugal manner)
So let’s get on to the project!
I started out by purchasing a basic jewelry making kit at Walmart (note: this is NOT a sponsored post-even if I wasn’t a Walmart Mom I’d do most of my shopping there-it’s just easy!) For $10 the kit included a “multi-tool” (which means it’s a round tip pliers that also has a pair of metal snips built in) a bead palette and a set of inexpensive findings. I purchased a second set of pliers for $5-round tipped-because if you really need 2 pairs in most cases to do things like bend split rings open.
Now it was time to buy the beads. I decided to make some Halloween themed earrings, but I didn’t want them to be made with charms-no hanging ghosts or cats or anything. So I picked out two strands of beads-a pretty orange and a varied set of black & silver. They were $2.50 each.
See? $20 in supplies-and that includes reusable things like the pliers and bead palette board.
Going clockwise, it came with a loop of wire, some lobster claw clasps, some toggle clasps (those are the ring and bar things), a bunch of headpins, some crimp beads (those tiny silver things), earring wires and a bunch of split rings in several sizes. Actually a pretty good general assortment considering it came in a kit with the pliers and all. . . although if you actually wanted to use the crimp beads you would have to buy a pair of crimp bead pliers.
I cut apart my beads and used the bead palette to try putting them together in different combinations for the earrings. I also tried a couple of combinations for the bracelet. Of course you don’t need to use a bead palette-you could just line them up–but it does keep them from rolling all over the place. A frugal alternative might be to lay your beads out on a washcloth or a piece of quilt batting.
(note: Another tip~use a tray. I didn’t for this project because I was taking pretty pictures, but usually I put it all on a plastic tray or cookie sheet so everything is contained if I spill beads!)
Once I decided on my bead pattern-the “black orange black” in the center-it was time to put it ON something. In my kit I had a choice of a headpin (on the left) or an eye pin (on the right).
Since I knew I’d be using a loop at the top to attach the little beaded segment to the earring hook, I though that the eye pin would provide good symmetry. Another consideration was that occasionally beads will have holes that are too large for the headpin’s head-and they will fall off!
I threaded my beads onto the eye pin (I decided to put a small clear seed bead at the top and bottom–those came in the package with the black beads). To secure the beads and attach it to the earring hook I made a head pin loop with the round pliers.
Here is a quick video I found that really shows how to make a head pin loop with round pliers very technique well:
And that made the earrings you saw at the top of the post! I had plenty of beads left so I made a second set of earrings(this time with a single bead dangle on the end-basically just one bead on a small piece of wire with a loop on each end attached to the main earring).
I STILL had plenty of beads left so I made a bracelet by stringing beads onto some stretchy cord I had in my stash (an entire roll would have cost me about $4). Stretch bracelets are uber easy-the only even slightly tricky part is tying them off.
I found another great video that shows you the technique for tying stretch cord for a bracelet:
So here are the completed items:
Do any of you make your own jewelry? Do you find it to be frugal?