Monday’s jewelry making workshop for kids had a very special guest instructor. Kaitlyn was once a kid who came to a library craft program where she was introduced to jewelry making skills and equipment, and she was hooked! She checked out this book:

and developed a passion for making her own earrings.

Now she is in high school and she came into the library one day wanting to give back some of that passion and enthusiasm to kids by showing them some tips and tricks for jewelry making! So we put together this program and planned it for our December gift making craft. We identified some beautiful bead sets we wanted to provide for kids to use, and the additional equipment that kids would need. Then parents and kids came on Monday afternoon and made some amazing creations!

Some kids made gifts to give to relatives for the holidays. Some made earrings for their own enjoyment and wardrobe. Some made bracelets. Some made keychains to proudly post on backpack zippers. The mix of ideas was eclectic and the fun and inspiration was infectious!

Here’s Kaitlyn giving the kids an overview of what they would be doing:

Supplies Needed to do a Bead Jewelry Workshop:

  • 1. Needle-nose pliers, flat pliers and wire cutters (we saved money by buying pliers that contained all three aspects in one)
  • 2. A wide variety of beads (mostly we had glass beads, but also a set of the larger, more playful beads children like. Kids enjoy beads shaped like animals and they are not picky about whether it’s made of glass or plastic)
  • 3. Head pins
  • 4. Eye pins (we ended up turning the head pins into eye pins for anyone who really needed that, but eye pins might have been a time saver)
  • 5. Jump rings (I only bought very small jump rings; next time I want to buy some larger ones)
  • 6. Keychain rings
  • 7. Hook earrings and clip-on earrings
  • 8. Paper cups (for the kids to put their beads and small supplies in)
  • 9. Paper plates with a high, bowllike rim (this was important! this really kept beads from rolling off the table and landing on the floor, so that everyone’s projects were well contained on their own plates)
  • 10. Jewelry wire

Making the jewelry

Parents and kids worked together, which is good because it can be difficult for kids to manipulate the small jump rings and the pliers. Also parents were invited to do bead projects of their own. Everyone got to enjoy it! I had a small child come wanting to do it, and although the program was for 9-12 we had enough space that we were able to set him up with some plastic beads that his mom helped him string onto a wire. They also worked on patterns which was very developmentally-appropriate.

To make an easy dangly earring:

  • 1. Stack your beads onto a head pin, leaving some space at the top.
  • 2. Using pliers, bend that top part of the head pin into a loop shape, and hang it from the ring of the earring.

Finished Projects

Our instructor, Kaitlyn, was wonderful with the kids, very patient and helpful. We are talking about doing this again in April or May to perhaps coincide with Mother’s Day, so look out for an announcement about that!

Continue the Fun

Do like Kaitlyn–check out some library books on jewelry making to get ideas and more techniques and tips!