Wooden Jewellery….Creativity and Innovation At Its Best
Making wooden jewellery is a highly creative and profitable craft to engage in. Wood is such a versatile material and so easy to work.
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There are two broad categories of wood……soft and hard.
A softwood such as pine, Douglas fir, redwood, cedar and yew have a lower density than a hardwood.
Hardwoods used in wooden jewellery are sycamore, boxwood, cherry, oak, walnut, maple, apple, pear and plum.
Many of your customers will enquire whether your products come from a sustainable source, which is being replenished as quickly as it’s being used
It makes your product more attractive to customers if you can reassure them that it has been made from timber, which is either being replaced by the planting of new trees, or uses recycled timber.
Take a trip to your local salvage yard and see what’s available. Auctions selling old furniture are another source of old, well seasoned timber.
Don’t forget that a softwood tree grows far more rapidly than a hardwood, so it’s preferable to use a softwood where ever possible.
If you are unable to buy reclaimed timber, look for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood.
One of the great joys of working with wood is the huge range of colours and grains, you can choose from.
The grain of the wood is created by the variation in the rate of growth throughout the year.
Wood is stronger when you work with the grain rather than across it. Always sand with the grain as it will make the finish smoother.
If you want to buy a piece of jewellery which is a little different, look no further than Etsy.
Making a Start
If you are new to jewellery making, then you can create a necklace with softwood beads. These beads can be obtained from Hobbycraft.
Use an acrylic paint to colour the beads, which should be sealed with microcrystalline wax.
Water based paints raise the grain of the wood, so you may need to sand the surface lightly before applying a second coat.
Leaving the surface unsealed may lead to the paint running when it comes into contact with perspiration or water.
You can also use wood stains to change the appearance of a softwood to make it look like a hardwood, such as mahogany or oak.
Various Techniques for Making Wooden Jewellery
You can achieve striking effects by mixing wood with other media, such as precious metals. plastics and acrylics.
A good example is this Tree of Life (yggdrasil) in silver on Irish oak with a handmade spiral bail
Another example is this hand carved California redwood heart necklace with an Abalone Paua shell.
Basswood is a soft wood, which is favoured by sculptors as it can be carved very easily and does not have a visible grain.
You can also use wood stains to change the appearance of basswood to make it look like a hardwood, such as mahogany or oak.
Both dry and green wood is suitable for turning. The woods opposite include spalted maple, tiger wood and persimmon.
These pendants are 13/4″ to 21/42 diameter and are turned from 3/82 thick blanks.
You can learn how to turn these pendants by looking at this video.
Think laterally when you are sourcing materials for your wooden jewellery.
This necklace is made from old buttons backed by turned mini bowls.
Not all woods are suitable for laser cutting, so you should approach a laser cutting company to discuss the most suitable wood available. These monogrammed earrings can be ordered with whatever initials you wish. Personalisation sells products.
Veneers of rare woods can be stuck onto less expensive wood to give the appearance of an expensive piece of jewellery.
Veneers are sometimes available with an adhesive backing to facilitate their use.
You can also stick several veneers, from different sources, together and sand them down to give attractive designs.
I hope this article has whetted your appetite to learn more about the exciting craft of creating beautiful, wooden jewellery.
You can discover more about this craft by reading one of the books listed in my article ‘10 Best Books On Wooden Jewellery‘
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