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Useful and interesting  stuff for Jewellers and Silversmiths


  • Dawn Meaden-Johnson

How to turn your jewellery designs into reality

Ok, so you have a sketch or idea for a jewellery design you want to make, here are some time saving tips to help you get an idea of how the finished item will look before the actual making process.

Making a model out of thick paper is a useful way of seeing how components fit together and you can see how your design translates to a 3D shape. It can be tricky if your item is small but an hour or two now will save lots of time or disappointment once it’s made.

I recommend using artists watercolour paperwhich is strong enough to manipulate and masking tape to secure joints so that you can re-position components easily and mark with a pencil if need be. An artist’s watercolour sketch book with about 20 sheets is relatively inexpensive and has several sheets.

Make the model in the size you intend the finished item to be. At this stage it’s easy to see if it’s too big or small and you can re-model the template, sculpting with scissors and/or making new pieces until you are completely happy.

At this stage you can also consider how your ideas for fitting might work, will they fit where you intended to put them?

How will it look worn?

Make a small hole in your template and add a jump ring to hang a pendant or drop earrings fixing or double sided sticky tape can be used to attach a stud earrings or brooch to yourself. Consider the scale and weight of the item, you need it to be wearable. If the model doesn’t hang right then the heavier final jewellery piece made in metal will be worse.

How to transfer your design onto sheet metal

I always make two 3D models, one for reference during the making process and one I can take apart and use as a flat (2D) templates. Flatten your templates or re-make flat and use them as a guide to draw around with a soft pencil on the surface of the flat sheet metal that you intend to make your piece of jewellery out of.

Make sure you cut around the shape accurately to the template and use a piercing saw otherwise snips will produce a flute around the edge of the metal which will distort your final component pieces. Filing to shape is never an easy or quick fix!

Ok so now you have a fixed idea of how your finished design will look and you can begin making it with confidence. Enjoy Making.


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