Setting up a Home Jewellery Workshop
The great thing about jewellery is that is it usually fairly small and you don't need a lot of space to set up your own creative workspace at home. We have put together this mini-guide to help you with getting started in your own space so that wether you want to make bead and wire work, silver and gold jewellery or other materials such as metal clay, you can set up a home jewellery workstation with ease.
Setting up a Bead & Wire Work Workshop
The most simple type of workshop to set up is a beading or wirework space at home. All you need is a table, which could be a separate designated table in your house or a multi use table that you clear away. A great tip for those of you with limited space is to put your beading mat on a tray (as you can see in the image above) this makes it super easy for you to move from table to table in your house or even to pop it on your lap when watching a cheeky bit of TV! If you have a desk with drawers in you can also have two trays and switch between projects. If you are anything like us and have a few creative pieces on the go at once, this is a great way to neatly and cleanly tidy them away and keep them safe until your next making time.
Your main tools and supplies will be pliers, beads, threading materials and wire. You can store these by simply laying them out on the desk. This makes them easy to see and get to. You also might consider investing in some nice bead storage solutions such as plastic containers with mini compartments for your beads and findings. Another option for storing your tools in is to use a desktop letter-divider. These have separate sections in to place your pliers, hammers, rulers and any other little hand tools and keep you workspace nice and tidy.
Setting up a Silversmithing or Silver Jewelry Workshop
If you are ready to move on to silversmithing and silver jewellery making then you will need the following;
- A jewellers bench or a bench peg which you can connect to any fairly sturdy table
- A set of hand tools, typically this would include a jewellers piercing saw, hand files, tweezers, some pliers, a mallet and possibly hammers
- You will also most likely need a mini solder station. This can include a solder block and a torch and is usually placed on your jewellery bench but could equally be somewhere else like on your stove in the kitchen as most people find this to be a good safe place.
- Finally you will need a pickle solution. The safest and easiest option for this is to use some safety pickle in warm but not boiling water. If you make jewellery a lot you might consider investing in a slow cooker to keep your pickle in longer term.
A Basic Set up:
For a basic set up you can get yourself a bench peg to attach to a table a home, a set of basic hand tools, a hand torch and firing block and use a jam jar with warm water in to create your pickle. We show you exactly how to do all of this in our intro class the 'Make a Silver Ring online Jewellery Course with Rosie Sanders'
A Full Jewellery Workshop:
For a more comprehensive workshop, which you might work up to if you start making and selling your work commercially. The great news is that the hand tools will be the same. You will need to get a jewellers bench, these range in price from around £150-£800. You should be able to get a good simple desk for under £200 and they last pretty much forever!
As well as your bench you may want to set up a more powerful soldering and firing station. For this you will need some more fire bricks and solder blocks to protect your space and if you are working with large pieces or hard metals such as platinum then you may want to invest in a more powerful gas tank fueled torch like a Sievert.
As you develop and grow as a jeweller you may wish to invest in additional equipment in order to; grow your workshop, reduce the amount of time you spend on tasks such as polishing and to enable you to create more diverse collections of jewellery. Here are a few of the most widely used additional bits of kit;
- A pendant motor (or a cheaper solution would be a Dremel)
- A polishing unit (for this you will need to consider health and safety of use and an extraction solution)
- A barrel or tumble polishing machine
- A rolling mill for texturing and shaping metal
- A table top drill
- Ultrasonic cleaners
- Vice and clamps
- Hand tools
Lighting for your home jewellery workshop:
If you are anything like us and often work well into the night on your creative jewellery making projects you will need to take special care with ensuring you have proper lighting for your station. A simple bendy desktop lamp is a great place to start. You want something that will be able to move easily into place over your solder station or over your sawing or your beading so that you can correctly see the beautiful piece you are working on. There are some specialist jewellery and craft lamps which work wonders for this job and many of them come with in-built magnifying glass areas so that you can see detail when you need to.
A word about safety:
As always safety comes first and there are a few things you can do to make sure you are safe when setting up your home jewellery workshop:
1. Use the correct safety gear - In all of our courses the tutors go through the safety requirements and gear that you need to wear to keep yourself and those around you safe. Typically this is wearing safety goggles when drilling or torch firing. And in some cases wearing a apron to protect your clothes
2. Tie hair and loose clothing back - It is essential that you tie any long hair back to avoid unnecessary hazards when working with an open flame such as in soldering and torch firing.
3. Keep your working area clean and tidy - this can make a world of difference, a nice clean area with no loose bits of paper.
4. Let others know when you are working so that know not to disturb you - ok, we know this one is not always possible, especially if you have little ones around. But, if you know you are going to be doing a lot of torch-work it might be an idea to at least request that you are not disturbed :-)
5. ESSENTIAL - keep flammables away from you when firing. This is something to check each time before you start any kind of open flame work. Make sure that the gas you have used to fill the torch is on the floor or tidied away and not on the desk. Move away any bits of paper, wood or other flammable materials and you are good to go.
6. Pay attention when doing intricate work - We've all been told not to play with fire as kids, that applies to jewellery making too. When working with a flame keep you attention on it at all times (even if the phone beeps) that facebook message can wait! The same applies to drilling and polishing with a motor. Keep attentive and you will be safe.
Safety is of course important in your home jewellery workshop but don't be afraid of it. Most of it is common sense and getting to know your craft, materials and equipment will help you build your confidence. Our courses are designed for beginners, intermediate and advanced jewellers working from home. In the lessons, our tutors show you everything you need to know and do to make your lovely pieces in a safe and non-expensive environment so that it doesn't take up too much room or cost too much in terms of investment.
We work from kitchen tables (not benches) to show how it can all be done and are there to guide you through the whole process.
If you have any questions or want to share with us about your home jewellery workshop we would love that. Join us over on the community Facebook group - www.facebook.com/groups/jewelleryschoolonline we are a super friendly bunch.
If you are ready to get started learning and making, select one of our professional online courses and you can be making in minutes
- Make a Silver Ring with Rosie Sanders
- Make Silver Metal Clay Charms with Julia Rai
- Introduction to Wire Jewellery with Linda Jones
- Introduction to Fashion Jewellery with Hayley Kruger
- Stone Setting in Metal Clay (Torch Fired Techniques) with Anna Campbell
What ever you make and how ever you choose to set up your home jewellery workshop, have fun and enjoy it :-)