Friday, February 16, 2018

DIY: Jewelry Feature

Whether you're looking to make a belated Valentine's gift, or you have a birthday or wedding coming up and want to give a handmade gift to some friends, collage has some awesome, simple options for making jewelry.

We wanted to write a post that is all things jewelry!

A collection of rings from our jewelry section.

collage carries essential jewelry items, like jump rings, clasps, chains, charms, pendants, ribbon, resin, and more. You can easily make a cute piece of jewelry for under $10!

We also have a lot of inexpensive, prefabricated jewelry (see a small selection of our rings, above).

Click the jump below to learn some basics about jewelry making, specifically about necklaces; all supplies are available at collage. 

First off, let's talk about necklaces, specifically different types of chain and lengths of chains. Below is a guide that will show you where a necklace might lie on different body types. collage carries a variety of pre-made chains, mostly 18" and 24", however, you can have our chain cut to the size you would like. 

Image from

In terms of chain types, collage carries a variety of "ball" (aka "bead") chain and "cable chain," along with some "box chain." Most of the metals of collage's chains and charms are nickel, and they are plated with brass or silver. 

For those interested in making their own necklace or bracelet, one thing you must consider is the closure you would like to use on your chain.

Aerial view of the jewelry findings table at collage on Alberta. Pictured are some closures, along with other findings. 

To start, you'll need a jump ring. A jump ring is basically just a loop of metal, with an opening. To open the jump ring, you twist it open. Be careful not to pull open the jump ring: this widens the ring, and makes it a lot harder to close correctly afterwards. See the image below for the correct way to open a jump ring (and the incorrect way, at the bottom)!

Image from Rings and Things. 
Ideally, you solder the jump ring closed, to keep it securely shut, however, collage doesn't carry solder supplies. But, if you have a wider chain, and a light pendant/necklace, it may not be too big of a concern. You can also try using a split ring instead of a jump ring, if you would like your ring to be closed securely. See the image below for ways to open a split ring (you can use a special tool, use your finger nail, etc.)

Image from

You can manipulate split rings and jump rings with your fingers, however, needle-nose pliers can come in very handy! Jump rings are essential for creating most closures. One common closure is the lobster clasp, see below. You use your jump ring to connect the lobster clasp to your chain (see the pre-made necklace below).

Another type of closure option is this toggle bar. You attach it to the chain using either jump rings or split rings. See below.

For ball chains, the closure is unique. You use a special snap fastening. Ball chain is what they use in the military for dog tags. Keep in mind that ball chain is relatively low in strength, and will break more easily than some other chains.

To prepare leather or ribbon for a closure, we have a couple different sizes and style of crimp end caps. You place the ribbon, leather, etc. into the cap, and then crimp the metal together, so that it holds the leather tightly. On the crimp end cap is a loop, which is where you insert a jump ring, and use the jump ring to attach a closure like a lobster clasp or toggle bar. We carry a variety of leather and ribbon that work well for a choker style necklace. 

collage has a ton of really cute charms. Use a jump ring or split ring to connect the charm to your necklace. Below is a very very small selection of some of our charms available (keep in mind that styles may vary from one collage location to another).

A small portion of charms that collage carries.

collage also has a small selection of large stones. For stones, we have a variety of thin wire, like 26 gauge and 28 gauge wire, which you can use to wrap your stone. We also have a lot of string and thread which could be knotted in a macrame style to secure the stone (see the necklace we made, below). For smaller stones, like shards of quartz, we have tiny glass bottles that you can use to encapsulate the stones, and then insert a screw eye into the cork of the bottle, and string the bottle onto your necklace.

Another option for decorating necklaces are wooden beads, which you can easily paint using acrylic or craft paint, and put on a string of leather or twine.

DIY on right by Think.Make.Share, click here to see more. 
If you're interested in making your own brooches, rings, or earrings, collage also has some supplies to do that! Visit our jewelry findings tables at our supply locations to check out what's available. 

Aside from making your own jewelry, collage has a selection of inexpensive, pre-assembled rings, necklaces, and more. You'll definitely want to check out our big enamel pin collection! Check out the picture below to see a really small sample of some of the rings collage carries, including everyone's favorite: mood rings!