There are hundreds of jewelry making kits out there from a simple pair of earrings to projects that take months to complete. Have you ever wanted to purchase one, but the price deterred you; especially if you are one of those DIY persons? Granted we all have budgets, but I would like to explain the “anatomy” of a jewelry kit. What really goes into one from the designer’s side.
First you have to design the piece. This could take a few hours, to several weeks. We play with product, colors and concept until the piece comes together.
Every designer works differently, but once I have an idea, I write each step down as I do it. Many times taking photos of each step, which I will later determine which photos to use. It would be wonderful to be able to just print out our handwritten notes as our instructions to the purchaser, but I am pretty sure 98% of the customers would not be able to complete the project based on these. So, the painstaking task of drawing comes in. Each step needs to be drawn on a program with thread paths, colored beads, and written instructions along side drawings and photographs. For me personally, this is the hardest.
Next I pull product for the color way I wish to use for my piece that will be photographed for the instructions and kit. Several steps are included here. I estimate the grams or amount that might be needed and put that on my mat of each component and make very detailed notes as to color, bead and amount. Then I measure a length of thread and make notes. As I use thread, I add that amount to my notes, so in the end I have how much thread is needed to complete the project. If I run out of pre-measured beads, I add more and make notes. I also subtract any left overs that I may have over estimated.
I decide how many color ways I want to create for a particular design. I do each color way individually. Then I print a sheet of the letters I will use in the kit (A, B, C, etc.). As I measure or count each bead that is used, they are then put in a baggie with their corresponding letter put on the outside so the customer knows which bead to use as explained in the instructions. I then measure the thread and wind it on a bobbin, put a needle into a piece of ribbon and pull the desired clasp or ear wire or other components required. These all go into a plastic clamshell container.
I layout and print the cover of the kit, the instructions, the label for what is included in this particular kit so my customer can duplicate it, and the price label.
Much time is also spent on purchasing product I want to included in the kit. This is actually getting easier for me as I do more kits, but it was very difficult in the beginning as I would make a design only to realize I could no longer get a particular bead/product or I would run out of one part and have to either wait for more product or move on to another color.
There are hours of designing, drawing, purchasing, measuring, prepping, etc. that go into a single kit. I hope this helps you see into the world of kits just a bit clearer!