April 2, 2013

Planning Your Jewelry Design

Immediate gratification.  That's what my jewelry is often about.  I love to create.  I find the process meditative and relaxing BUT I also love the results.  There are two things that really drive me; one is having something fabulous to wear, give away or sell at the end; the other is the knowledge: a new technique, a combination of color or shapes that I've never tried before.

The reality is that my attempts are often hit or miss - and I think most people would say that.  But, one thing that I'm just learning - and lord knows it's taken me a long time to get here - is that planning my design
would save me a lot of the 'misses' in the scrap pile.

What does it mean to plan your design?  I'm sure it's different for everyone.  Until now, I really thought I did plan.  I have a sketchbook after all.  I doodle design concepts such as the shape and size. I use colored pencils . I list the supplies I think I'd like to use.  Isn't that planning?  For earrings, I also measure my stones to make sure they match.  So, I guess I plan my earrings pretty well.  But, after a solid year of making earrings, I'm trying to force myself to make almost anything else and the same amount of planning just isn't working.

For the first time ever, I'm using a bead board.  I'm pretty embarrassed to admit that I've never actually laid out a design on a bead board before.  I've used them to store beads - but never to actually lay out the beads and plan the design.

It's kind of funny because this design isn't even complex, but I thought a graduated strand of moonstone would look so much better than a random strand.  I laid them out and arranged them by size on the back of an envelope.  I thought the flap line would help me line up the beads, but a ruler was more effective.  I also eliminated a few that just didn't match in terms of thickness or where the cut was too irregular.

Then - I transferred them to a bead board, using the longest bead in the middle and then alternating putting one bead on each side. I plan to use a simple rosary style wire wrap so I left some space between each bead.  I'm happy to see that I have enough beads for at least a 22 inch strand!!  I don't plan for a necklace much over 17", but it's nice to have options.  Now, to cut the rest of the material and start wiring!


  1. I use a bead board for my necklaces, but i need to start scetching more for inspiration.

    1. The bead board worked great! I could kick myself for waiting so long to use such an easy tool.
      I looooove my sketchbook and I hope you get one. It's such an easy way to keep my jewelry work with me when I can't bring the tools or project.

      Thanks for stopping by!