One of my sidelines is teaching continuing education classes at my local community college – the classes are fun, I get to know some incredible people, and it’s a good way to spread the knowledge of jewelry making!
Next Wednesday I have a beginning jewelry class – in the class, students learn to crimp, make wrapped loops and open and close jump rings. Everyone gets to make a matching bracelet and earring set which is completed in class.
I structure my classes pretty loosely – a quick intro into who I am, how I got started making jewelry, some of the techniques students can “grow” into. I also cover some basics, including where to buy supplies, tools, and a little jargon. Once we get through the intro, it’s on to jewelry making!
Each student gets to pick from a variety of kits that I make up from beads in my “stash”. I have LOTS of beads, and try to “design” kits that have fun colors and beads in them. Early attendees get first pick out of the kits I have made up!
So today (among the 547 other things I need to accomplish) I’ll be making up a few more kits – it’s going to be a big class, and while I have some kits made up, I like to have more than enough on hand to give everyone plenty to choose from.
To make the kits, I use a piece of beading wire (about 9″ long) and string the beads in the design that I have in mind (students are told that they can follow the design, or make up a design on their own). Instead of crimping and finishing up the bracelet, however, I lay out the mock up and take a quick photo. I unstring the “bracelet” and drop the wire, beads, two crimps and a bowed toggle clasp into a zippered baggie. For the earrings, I put matching beads, two headpins, and ear wires into a smaller baggie and place it in with the supplies for the bracelet. After printing up the picture of the mock up, I put it inside the larger bag, and there’s my kit!
If you aren’t teaching a class, but are traveling or just want to put some beading projects away for a rainy day, you can use this method to have everything on hand when you are ready to bead. Also great for kids, kits give them something to follow and all the beads are right there for them to string and wear!