Building your arsenal: Pliers

What to buy

Before you run out and spend a boatload of money on jewelry making supplies (trust me, it isn’t hard to do), it is important first to get a sturdy set of pliers. You might already have pliers in your toolbox, but jewelry making requires smaller, more precise tools.

There are five pliers you should buy before you start, and most stores that carry jewelry making supplies will sell them as a set (I bought mine at Michael’s for $10). You can buy them separately, but I recommend buying all five together. It costs less, and having all of them will make your life easier.

Long (or Chain) Nose Pliers—These have longer ends to grip wire or jump rings.

Round Nose Pliers—Round ends let you form loops.

Bent Nose Pliers—I spent a long time not knowing what to do with these but they’re actually really useful, especially in wire wrapping.

Flat Nose Pliers—I use these mainly to hold wires in place, as the flat end won’t create creases.

Wire Cutter—You will wear these out so make sure to get a durable pair.

Practice before spending any more money

Unless you are a jewelry-making prodigy, you will probably throw out or take apart the first few pieces you make. Or maybe that’s just me. It took a lot of practice and playing around to find my style.

Before you buy chain, beads or stone settings, buy headpins. Plain old, flat head pins. Practice loops and wrapped loops, cutting wire and opening and closing jump rings on necklaces you already own (most necklaces will have them). Once you gain confidence using pliers, the rest will be a cakewalk.

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