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Supplies For Making Jewelry.

Q: I'm a relatively new lampworker, and would like to start making some of my beads into jewelry. I've been doing stained glass, painted glass, and fusing for a while, so this is just another facet (pardon my pun!) to my glass addiction. I just got a 'Fire Moutain' catalog, and I'm totally overwhelmed. Can someone give me a basic list of things I need to start?

A: I know I am going to want spacer beads and seed beads, but will probably wait on ordering any 'til I know exactly what color I want for a project. Also, as for tools, I've seen some kits on some websites that have crimping pliers, and several other tools. It seems like they went for about $30 or so. Would this be a good investment? It seems like buying a couple of tools would about equal the price of one of these kits, so I'm wondering if I should get one of those instead. If you use string, you'll knot it. If you use crimp beads, they go with 'Tigertail', 'SoftFlex', or similar beading wire (if your beads are large/heavy as lampworked glass often is, I'd recommend the 'SoftFlex', which is stronger and more kink-resistant than 'Tigertail'. Clear is fine, unless you want it to show, and you want some other color). To start making simple, one-strand glass bead necklaces and bracelets, you should have: 'SoftFlex' clear in .019" (medium) weight. crimp beads crimping pliers clasps - whichever kind you like jump rings - if your clasps require them as the "other end" hypo-tube or superglue chain nose (flat) pliers the beads This is all you need to start out. To get a little neater finish, also get "clamshell" bead tips. The clamshells hide the ends of the beading wire and crimp bead. So, instead of running the wire through the rings on the clasp to attach it, you run the wire into the clamshell, crimp it with the crimp bead, cut off the end, and close the clamshell. This leaves you with a strand ending in the clamshell, and you attach it to the clasp using the little hook. I find the bead board a help even with single-strand necklaces. It helps me figure out how many spacer beads and where the big beads go from the beginning. And they are cheap. I just want to say that it is a good idea to try putting your glass beads into silver wire and chain also, because you can make one into a simple pendant... it's good to have choices...I really feel silly sometimes going on like this but I have written a book called "Basic Wirework For Bead Jewelry Making" which teaches a lot about the tools, how to put things together, the relative merits of thread versus wire, and how to make things that don't fall apart. Perhaps if anyone out there has it, they could tell Jerri whether it might be a good book to start with - or not!(I can take it...)