Jewelry Making & Beading for Dummies was first published in 2005 and is probably the most popular book available for teaching beginners about the basics of jewelry making and beading.
When the book was published a few years back I had already been making jewelry for quite some time so I wasn’t really interested in getting it.
Now that I focus more on teaching jewelry making I am always looking for jewelry making information that can help beginners, so I decided to get the book and review it.
Here is an overview of the contents of the book and my opinion about each section. If you are new to beading and/or jewelry making I hope you will find this useful.
The book is divided into five parts: Part 1: Creating Irresistible Jewelry, Part 2: Discovering Simple Jewelry-Making Techniques, Part 3: Implementing Design Ideas, Trends, and More, Part 4: Building on Your Jewelry Making Hobby, and Part 5: The Part of Tens.
The first part, Creating Irresistible Jewelry, covers from A to Z everything a beginner needs to know about the different strings, chords, and wire options available. There is also a complete explanation of the basic jewelry making tools and the different kinds of connectors (head pins, eye pins, jump rings, etc.) and clasps.
There is also a very comprehensive explanation about bead types, crystal beads, pearls, and stones. A small section is also dedicated to explaining where you can find jewelry making materials both online and offline.
The section finishes with a chapter dedicated to explaining how to best set up your workspace.
So Part 1 of the book is basically a description of “what” whereas Part 2, Discovering Simple Jewelry-Making Techniques, gets into the “how.”
Not surprisingly, it starts with stringing and knotting and how to use crimps. The next chapter is dedicated to Bead Weaving and focuses primarily on weaving with seed beads.
I thought it was a little unusual to focus so much on seed beads as there are many beautiful pieces you can make weaving with beads other than seed beads. So I think this chapter could be greatly improved by showing more details in that area, but still it does cover basic weaving patterns.
Part 2 ends with a chapter on wire wrapping which includes how to choose wire, basic wire wrapping techniques, and a nice section on how to use a wire jig.
So Parts 1 and 2 take up about half of the book and really cover everything you need to know as a beginner. I should also mention that there are simple projects spread throughout both sections so that you can practice what you are learning as you go along.
Looking at this from the perspective of a complete beginner, I think Parts 1 and 2 of the book are all you really need.
Part 3 of the book consists primarily of beading projects, and while they are all very nice pieces of jewelry, there are very few graphics showing step by step how to make the pieces. In my experience working with beginners I think many would find it difficult to make these pieces without detailed instructions or hands-on help like a class or video.
So if I were a beginner, I would learn everything in Parts 1 and 2, and put the book on the shelf for a while, and then maybe revisit Part 3 later after I had gained more experience.
Part 4, in my opinion, goes off on a tangent that I don’t think has much to do with learning beading and jewelry making.
Things are covered like how to decorate other objects with beads, making jewelry with kids, hosting a jewelry party, and tips for what to do if you want to turn your jewelry making hobby into a business.
I will say that the part about turning your jewelry making hobby into a business has some very good tips, especially on how to correctly price your jewelry. It shows you how to make sure that you include a cost for how long it takes you to make a jewelry piece. Most jewelry makers forget to do this and it leads them to significantly underprice their jewelry.
The final section, Part 5: The Part of Tens is so named because it gives you three chapters of Top Tens. The first top 10 is jewelry suppliers. It is good but a little dated. New suppliers have emerged since the book was published that are better than some listed in the book.
The second top 10 is common jewelry making mistakes to avoid and has very good tips for avoiding mistakes that beginners commonly make.
The third top 10 is ideas for making money selling your jewelry. There are some very good ideas in this section.
Overall, I would recommend this book to beginners as a good resource to get started. But keep in mind that if you’re learning style is more suited to learning by seeing things in action then you may have trouble actually learning beading by looking at this book simply because there are not a lot of “how to” graphics.
The book is available at many bookstores and also at Amazon.com.
Eri Attebery operates JewelryMakingProfessor.com a site dedicated to offering products that teach how to make jewelry, and JewelryMakingInformation.com a site offering jewelry making tips, video tutorials, product reviews and resources for both jewelry making beginners and pros
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