Make your own necklaces, bracelets, earring and more with a variety of techniques — stringing, wirework, metal smithing. We’ve rounded up some of the jewelry making tools you need — and some to go on your wish list!
Organizing Your Jewelry Making Supplies
Here are a few bench top tool organizers that keep all of your tools and supplies so you can easily find them.
This Eurobench Bench Top Tool Organizer fits perfectly on the back of a bench or on a work table. It contains space for findings, tools and accessories and organizes it all. Four drawers are included for stow away items. The wood organizer is 18 inches long X 5 inches wide X 3 ½ inches high.
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Or go bigger with this Beadalon Work Bench that has room for all of your wires, findings and more!
Corral your clutter! You can organize wire spools, Fireline, and other items in the eight vertical bins of this Wooden Organizer. The single drawer is great for needles, findings, beads and other small loose items. The open flat bin on the end keeps tools at hand and visible.
Doing Wirework? Here are some of our favorite tools!
If you are new to wire work or need to produce a lot of uniform wire loops in a hurry, Beadsmith’s 1-Step Looper Pliers can speed up the process. The tool forms the loops and trims the wire in one motion with consistent results. It works with precious metal wire, craft wire and copper or brass core wire between 26 and 18 gauges.
This easy to use Multi-Step Looping Plier will give you perfect results when repetitive wire loop-making! Even beginners can make consistent coils and jump rings. These pliers are strong enough for making the finishing loops in heavy memory wire. One side of the nose is a three stepped round nose shape (5mm, 7mm, 10mm), and the other side is a flat shape that has PVC tubing to prevent scratching or marring the wire stock. With just a little practice, you will quickly master the use of these super useful pliers.
Round nose pliers are a jeweler’s bench workhorse, so get the best you can afford. Tronex 531 Round Nose Pliers are a great choice!
These are the pliers you will go to for your most delicate work. The long jaw consisting of two cones has exceptionally fine tips (.030″ diameter) for precision wire work. The cushion grips are comfortable to hold and don’t slip and slide in your hands.
I have several brands of pliers in my jewelry toolbox, and my Lindstrom’s are by far my favorites! They are spendy, but so well made and easy on the hands! This 4-piece set comes with a zipper case and has precision joints, smooth jaws and comfortable handles.
Lindstrom EX Pliers are made of high chromium steel alloy with light action springs and crafted in Switzerland. High ergonomic grips distribute proper pressure to hand surface for maximum comfort. Precision screw joints assure long life. This handy 4 piece set is packaged in a secure zip pouch and includes one each: EX7490 (Flat), EX7590 (Round), EX7893 (Chain) and EX8141 (Side-cutter). All pliers are made of stainless steel with ergonomic yellow and grey rubber handles. The EX Line is smaller than the tools in the RX line but built for heavier-duty work, such as heavy-gauge metals and harder metals such as brass or bronze.
A fine, precision cutter makes all the difference on detailed work, and the Tronex Razor Flush Wire Cutter does not disappoint. Spendy, but worth it for the quality of work you will achieve.
The spongey coating on the handles make them comfortable and secure for precision cuts. The cutter maneuvers well in tight spaces and delivers a very nice flat edge. The pointed taper head has a low profile. USA made.
Recommended for use with soft wire 18 gauge and finer. Tips: 22 gauge and finer. (Yes, this tool is designed for your more delicate, precision work.)
Tumblers help strengthen your wirework, and polish your metals
I love my Lortone Tumbler! Its 3-pound capacity smooths and polishes lots of metal and wire work all at once with uniform results. I use mine with mixed stainless steel shot. I add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the water – it works well for me as a burnishing compound.
If you frequent estate sales and thrift shops in search of great hidden jewelry finds, a tumbler can remove many years of tarnish and reveal exquisite pieces of antique jewelry!
The barrel is hard rubber to minimize noise and the motor on my tumbler has lasted for years. The Lortone Tumbler is quiet, sturdy, simple to operate, and gives excellent results.
I love the polishing results I get with Mixed Stainless Steel Media Shot! I use it in my Lortone Tumbler to smooth and polish wire work and forged metal jewelry. If you have oxidized (antiqued) your silver or copper pieces, the mixed shot brings a shine to the high spots and leaves the antique shadow in the valleys for added visual depth.
A friend of mine has uncovered some real thrift shop jewelry treasures – many people pass over badly tarnished silver pieces. She buys them for a song and lets her mixed shot do the polishing work. Beautiful results!
Stainless steel tumbling media is rust and corrosion resistant and can stand up to strong polishing compounds. Stainless steel media can be used over and over as long as it is stored properly. After using, strain in a fine mesh Strainer and lay out the pieces on a dry towel. Pat dry with another towel and let them air dry in a dry sunny area before storing.
Hammering hardens your wirework, and can flatten and texture the metal
This should be your first hammer when you get into making metal and wire jewelry. A Chasing Hammer has a slightly domed one-inch face on one side. This side is used to flatten and work harden your material without marring. The rounded side is great for adding texture. The wooden handle is comfortable to hold and give you good control.
I love adding interesting hammered texture to my wire and metal work. This hammer with 9 interchangeable tips would be so much easier to carry to class and store than my collection of separate texturing hammers! I wish I has seen this first! You can use the small designs to pinpoint texture in a certain area the large designs to cover a bigger area or use multiple tips to layer textures on one another. Each tip is easily and securely attached with a threaded collar.
A metal bench block is a staple on any jeweler’s bench, and with careful use will last for many years – it will become one of your best tool friends! The pounding can be noisy, but you can muffle the sound a bit by using the block on a pad or folded towel – protects your table surface, too, if you don’t have a dedicated work bench.
It has a durable, smooth surface for work hardening wire or other metal smithing projects. Easy to handle, simple to use. Heavy weight (at just 4 X 4 inches, it weighs over 2 pounds) keeps the block in place on your work table. Works with all types of wire, including gold, gold-filled, sterling silver, fine silver, silver-filled, brass and copper.
Stamping on your metal
Stamping on metal is so popular right now! It’s an easy way to customize metal. A regular hammer will work in a pinch, but this 1 Pound Metal Stamping Hammer, designed by ImpressArt specifically for the task, makes the job so much easier! Its scaled down ergonomic handle makes the hammer easy to handle and ensures force and accuracy. The 1 pound brass head is designed to prevent double impressions and protects your metal stamps so they’ll last longer.
Customize your work with letter and number stamps! Permanently imprint metal, wood, plastic, leather, and many other items using the TEKTON 5/32-inch Letter and Number Stamp Set. Featuring twenty-six letters, the & character, and nine numbers (6/9 are reversible), this set is ideal for jewelry projects, hobbies and crafts, organization, and marking tools, bicycles, and equipment to help prevent loss or theft. The included indexed wood box neatly organizes the 36 stamps for fast identification and selection. Use with 1 Pound Metal Stamping Hammer.
Bead Reamers make the holes in your beads the size you need
Sometimes the perfect bead and the perfect wire or cord need some matchmaking help, and my bead reamer is one of my best friends! The Pro-Electric Bead Reamer from EuroTool allows you to smooth and enlarge bead holes quickly and easily. It’s lightweight and comfortable to hold, and I like that it is electric – no recharging necessary. Use the small and larger pointed reamers for enlarging holes and use the cone-shaped 45 degree edger to smooth the edges of holes. Variable speed gives you tons of control!
What size is this? Know what you’re working with!
Wire and bead gauges help when the package and the supplies have found different ways!
Perhaps you are better than I am about keeping your wire properly organized and labeled. I am especially challenged when it comes to collected leftover bits of wire that are too small for big projects but too big for the scrap bin. I rely on a Stainless Steel Wire Gauge like this one to keep me on the straight and narrow. It’s also a big help when I come upon unmarked wire at garage sales (yep, sometimes I get that lucky) or I want to be consistent about size when mixing different kinds of wire.
The slots on the disc correspond to standard wire gauges, and this one measures both standard and metric making it pretty versatile.
You need more 4 x 6 mm rondelle beads to finish a project. Size matters. Whether shopping from your stash or a bead shop, this little Sliding Caliper Bead Gauge is invaluable! Get an accurate measurement every time up to 60 mm. Also marked in inches. Measures beads, cabochons, findings and more with this sturdy brass tool.
Looking for some project ideas for all of these great tools? Check out our jewelry projects on Create Whimsy.