Jewellery + Beading DIY Design Tips

  • want to discover how easy it is to make jewellery?

  • want to learn a new hobby?

  • want to become a better maker & designer?


You don’t have to be highly skilled to create beautiful pieces of jewellery.
With a little imagination, the right tools and some professional tips you can produce fab original pieces of handcrafted jewellery.

before you start: the jewellery tools

Tools & accessories: there are 3 essential tools for jewellery making:

  • round nose pliers,
  • flat nose pliers and
  • cutters. click here

Also a good idea to have on hand:

  • pair of scissors,
  • blu tak and
  • epoxy glue e.g. Araldite

Design Tools:

  • a bead mat and
  • bead design board.

getting organised

Clear takeaway storage containers or craft/tackle boxes are best:

  • stackable for easy storage.
  • time saving
  • clear jars allow identifying your bead stock easily and promptly

good work habits

When teaching I always promote the following:

  • avoid wrist strain and hand fatigue. Warm up your hands and stretch them regularly.
  • keep your bead stored safely out of reach of small children
  • store beads by colour in clear container
  • before completing your project check if adjustments are necessary
  • take a photo of your designs

finding inspiration

The starting point in any design is your inspiration.

  • Find ideas in nature, through culture eg. Ancient Egypt, or an art period e.g. Impressionism.
  • Online resources e.g Pinterest click here
  • Look at colour combinations, lines, and texture in textiles.
  • Organise your inspiration in a folder or make your own mood boards to display.
  • Personalise your designs using birth stones. click here for birth stone chart

planning a jewellery design

Choose the Length (see guideline below)

Choose the Beads & type of Pattern i.e. random, graduated, repeated pattern

tip: use a bead design board

before beginning a project we recommend you use a bead design board which is a felt flocked grooved measured board allowing you to plan, view and alter your design before threading. Within the tray are depressions that can hold different components you are using.

how many beads will I need?

Calculate the number of beads required by measuring the length of the sequence & divide this by the length of the necklace

Note: Beads are measured in millimetres & usually sold by weight, strand or piece.

Below we have calculated the approximate number of beads that you will need for standard jewellery lengths. We always recommend to get an extra few beads just in case.

why lengths are important

  • Do you know exactly what pieces suits your body shape & face shape?
  • Do you know how to highlight your assets?

Knowing this is the key to pulling your look together & feeling great! Join our style me masterclass & learn exactly how.

BOOK: style me! masterclass
click here

Inches cm 3mm 4mm 5mm 6mm 8mm 10mm 12mm
14" 36 120 90 72 60 45 36 30
16" 41 136 102 82 68 50 41 34
18" 46 153 115 92 76 57 46 38
24" 61 204 153 122 101 77 61 51
35" 89 296 222 178 148 111 89 74
44" 112 373 280 224 186 140 112 93
Tip: Remember to include the length of your clasp when calculating the length.

mixing colour

  • Find working with colour over whelming?

  • Don't know where to start?

  • Use the same colour combinations & stuck?

BOOK: colour me! master class
click here

These are the tips I give when teaching colour in my workshops which will give you the confidence to start to explore & to experiment with colour.
    • Use a multi coloured bead or pendant as your colour palette.
    • Use a printed dress, a multi coloured scarf or even a striped cushion for colour inspiration

    Etelage vintage & modern


    artisan beads     bespoke jewellery     creative beading jewellery classes + courses