The novice crafter

Rebecca Holmes

Web Merchandiser, johnlewis.com

Beginners' jewellery making for the party season

The party season means sparkle and there’s no better way to add that important finishing touch to your specially chosen outfit than by making your own jewellery. Not only is it great value, but it allows you to create a completely bespoke look, so you’ll have the exact piece you’re looking for.

If you don’t know your trigger clips from your eye pins there are still lots of simple and creative options that’ll give you a professional look. Jewellery making doesn’t need to involve threading fiddly seed beads. Ribbons, cords and elastic are great materials for  beginners to start with; these materials produce a quick finish and what’s more, they’ll help you mirror current trends.

A bib necklace is an easy way to add a stunning finishing touch to a dress for an office party or Christmas get together. Start with some black felt and create a template in beads to get a sense of what your design might look like. There aren’t really any rules, it can be curved, asymmetrical or in the shape of a collar. Just remember, the larger the beads you choose the quicker you’ll fill in the space. Why not attach some heart shaped crystals and then create a festive star burst across the front with bugle beads? Or create strings of pearls and finish with a corsage? Add a second piece of felt on the back to hide your stitches, trim it into shape and secure it with an organza ribbon tied behind the neck.

If designing from scratch seems a daunting prospect, we’ve got plenty of kits to help you get creative. This Crystazzi Kit comes in a Silver Mist Crystal and Glass Pearl option, which is ideal for creating dramatic night time looks. Books are also a great way to get started as they’ll introduce you to the different components and techniques of the craft. How to Design Bead and Wire Jewellery is a great introductory guide as it shows you how to work with colour and sketch your own designs. There’s also a comprehensive collection of projects for you to try. The crocheted wire bracelet designs, complete with pearl beads, would suit any little black dress.

Some further handy hints and tips for the beginner:

  • Spacer beads and bead caps will hide the wire or thread between large beads, giving a professional finish and reducing the overall cost of your necklace.
  • Keep the packaging, so you can reorder the same colour beads.
  • Match the style and size of your beads to your final item. Heavy beads are not a good choice for earrings and small beads take a long time to fill up long strands.