How to make Wooden Jewellery

5 Steps to start a new journey into the world of handmade wooden jewellery

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. - A. Ashe-

I read this quote when we were in the NZ national Lockdown in 2020 and my answers were:

Start where you are: New Zealand.

Use what you have: Timber in the garage.

Do what you can: Wooden Jewellery

Step #1 - Simplicity

First of all, visualize what you would like to achieve.

Please be realistic. If you're a beginner and never worked with wood before, start simple.

Imagine a geometrical shape you would like to wear.

Step #2 - Drawings

Draw that shape on paper, many times with different variations.

If it's a triangle, what shape, length, angle?

Be curious. Explore different ideas...

Step #3 - Timber

My partner had the garage full of salvaged timber from the Christchurch earthquake, I just used these pieces of buildings and furniture that he stored for years.

I started this journey with Kauri wood and Jarrah (see article) because I wanted a contrast of earthy and warm colours. The Kauri wood is like shining yellow/gold and the Jarrah is a rich red/brownish.

Now those are very rare to find, but you can start with any other hard wood.

Step #4 - Tools

It's time to list the right tools you need for the very basic process:

Cutting - Our favourite is the Table Saw. Easy to use for small pieces of wood.

Sanding - A sandpaper machine and infinite number of sandpapers. There are different brand on the market at different price points.

Drilling - A must in the shopping list is a cordless drill with the smallest drill bit diameter.

Polishing - This step can be skipped at the beginning. However, if you're looking at obtaining best results, use steel wool to polish your jewellery before the finishing.

Finishing - We now use a blend of natural oils and a vegan wax made in New Zealand,

that leave the jewellery with a very smooth feeling and a natural aroma.

If you are just doing a test, use olive oil: it's natural and it enhance the colours of the timbers.

Step #5 - Practice

Like in every craft, the more you practice, the more it will come right!

Don't give up! It can only get better...

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