While we had a relatively mild winter here in the Pacific Northwest, I am fed up with these single-digit temperatures! Yesterday began as a balmy 11-degrees-Celsius day and transitioned to a pelting hailstorm. As swift as it started, the storm was over, and the hail pellets melted into rivers overflowing from the grimy gutters of our home. The chaotic weather day ended in a zero-degree frost fest, with my fingers frozen to a halt over my keyboard.
I am looking forward to Spring now more than ever. Even more so, I look forward to not changing my attire ten times per day to keep up with the erratic temperatures.
As we exit these dark winter months, I have been ramping up my summertime hobbies of making jewelry (mostly bracelets, lets be honest). Over the winter break, I found the motivation to overhaul my craft cabinet. I was pleased to unearth a variety of supplies that I had forgotten. Because my storage system was non-existent, I was thrilled to make some (overdue) changes to how I organize my stockpile. While I don’t have an Instagram-worthy craft setup, I was proud to establish a bin labeling system for each of the materials I deem essential to my bracelet-making ventures. I also donated a lot of supplies that I simply do not use at all. I was stunned by how much I had accumulated and how much I actually did not enjoy using.
Today I want to share some of my favorite supplies (a.k.a. the ones that survived the craft cabinet purge). While I frequently try out new jewelry-making materials, many of these have been mainstays in my collection (some for over a decade). As such, I have formed many opinions about supplies after experimenting with all sorts of materials. Please remember that these are just that – my opinions and preferences! The seven supplies I will be discussing today are:
- Embroidery Floss
- Waxed Polyester Cord
- Hemp Cord
- Jewelry Glue
- Packaging Supplies
Disclaimer: I have provided an Amazon affiliate link for any of the recommended items that exist on Amazon. This provides me a small commission if you decide to purchase any of these supplies for your jewelry-making adventures. While I am genuinely grateful for any support, please also consider purchasing supplies from your local craft business owners. It’s more important than ever to support our communities during this challenging time (without compromising your own safety, of course).
1. Embroidery Floss
I was delighted to find reserves of embroidery floss in my cabinet-cleaning drudgery. And then reserves of the reserves. After tying bracelets for so long, I have collected a variety of materials with a surprisingly number of skeins, some of which I never see myself reaching for again.
My absolute favorite embroidery floss of all time is the DMC embroidery floss. I have heard of other bracelet makers on YouTube preferring craft cord. In my opinion, the texture of craft cord is irritating to work with. It’s coarser and there is more resistance for each knot. Perhaps it is more robust to wear-and-tear due to its indivisible strands, but I never plan to purchase craft cord again.
I have tried other embroidery floss brands from craft stores, dollar stores, and Walmart. However, I cannot say I have found a brand that compares to the quality of DMC threads. I would not feel comfortable making anything with lesser quality threads to sell on Etsy, either.
Where can you purchase Embroidery Floss?
If you’re looking for a cheaper option to start out with, I recommend checking out DMC’s Prism embroidery floss collection (https://amzn.to/3kjR9Ie). However, I find the texture is coarser and the colours do not withstand the elements as well as the higher-priced DMC alternative. They also lack the shine and luster of the fancier DMC floss.
2. Waxed Polyester Cord
I discovered a love for waxed polyester cord in 2015. This thread is waterproof and dries quick enough to ensure your wrists and ankles won’t be itching as it dries. This works well for me, as I actually prefer wearing many of my jewelry pieces full-time. I also enjoy how the cord melts down to create beautiful, sealed ends. I have created a series of tutorials on how to make waxed polyester cord bracelets and anklets on my YouTube channel, if you haven’t checked them out already. My most recent video is on how to make Waxed Polyester Cord Square Knot Bracelets with Beads!
Where can you purchase Waxed Polyester Cord?
It seems more difficult to purchase waxed polyester cord on Amazon these days (I imagine this is due to the ever-changing pandemic situation). Here are some current links that I have found for the Linhasita cord I enjoy using: https://amzn.to/3sjeJYm and https://amzn.to/3utVZHE.
I have also compiled a collection of Etsy shops you can purchase from here: https://knackforknots.com/waxed-polyester-cord/
3. Hemp Cord
A friend introduced me to hemp cord and the wonders of square knots in the summer before Middle School. A year older than me, she provided me a crash-course of all the things I would expect in my new school setting as we tied hemp bracelets. Ever since, I have enjoyed tying square knot bracelets and anklets with hemp string. This natural cord comes in a variety of styles and colours. Unevenness and non-uniform thickness is a characteristic of this cord that some people like. However, I find I enjoy working with the more processed hemp cord varieties. In particular, I enjoy those sold by Beadaholique or Hemptique. The reason I opt for more processed cords is that it is easier to thread beads onto strands of uniform thickness.
Where can you purchase Hemp Cord?
If you thought I was picky about string, this may seem even more over-the-top. One of my qualms with many coloured glass bead brands is that the colour flakes off over time – sometimes in less than a week! This is not something I can tolerate when I selling jewelry to people around the world. The brand I have come to like (and splurge on) the most is the Toho brand. I also recommend the Crafter’s Corner bead kits from Dollar Tree if you don’t want to spend much on a personal project. These kits often come with six bead styles in one package. I find paying $1.25 to use even half of a set is worth it to me. The beads are surprisingly good quality! Typically, I purchase 6/0 beads. On occasion, I will use the 11/0 beads for finer projects (these are essentially seed beads).
Where can you purchase 11/0 and 6/0 Beads?
I mostly purchase these beads at Michaels Crafts. I purchase bead kits from Dollar Tree Canada for personal projects that are not being sold.
Charms are my Kryptonite. Even when I am not planning any jewelry projects, I find the allure of pretty charms difficult to resist. As such, my charm stash has reached hoarder levels. My favourite charms of all time are those featuring mountains. I always gravitate towards these and other charms that inspire me of the Pacific Northwest.
Where can you purchase Charms for Bracelets and Jewelry-Making projects?
I love finding and supporting local charm vendors on Etsy! If you’re in a pinch and need charms from Amazon, here are some mountain charms that I love: https://amzn.to/3kjNCd3 (shown in the picture above) and https://amzn.to/3sk4Cm0.
6. Jewelry Glue
Sometimes a bracelet or jewelry project needs some reinforcement. Perhaps one of your strings broke and you needed to add a new one in. Perhaps you want to make sure some knots at the ends stay knotted. In any case, I always have GS Hypo Cement on hand. This allows me to reinforce areas of weakness in a current project or even fix old jewelry that has been worn daily. It withstands water, making it a durable fix!
Where can you purchase Jewelry Glue?
You can purchase GS Hypo Cement from Michaels Crafts or from Amazon: https://amzn.to/37L3Uqf
7. Packaging Supplies
I am constantly revising what packaging supplies I use. There is more consideration and effort required for this than I thought originally when I started my jewelry business back in 2012. One of the most helpful changes I made to my business was my transition to Etsy’s postage printing service. To use Etsy’s postage label service, you also need to know how heavy your items and parcels will be so that you can ensure you are not losing money on postage. This means you need to have all of your supplies on hand. While this can add more work upfront, it’s better to know how much things will cost you before you get a surprising $40 shipping bill. I could go on and on forever about shipping supplies and concerns, so I will simply share a snapshot of my current favorites…
Where can you purchase Packaging Supplies for Jewelry Items?
I purchase my packaging supplies from Canada Post, Dollarama, Dollar Tree, or Amazon. Here are some packaging supplies I have purchased on Amazon:
- Bubble Mailers: https://amzn.to/37FTWXd
- Washi Tape: https://amzn.to/2NW5E9d
- “Thank you” stickers: https://amzn.to/3pQNPFL
- Food scale for weighing small parcels: https://amzn.to/3dKf81S
Do you have any tried-and-true supplies or brands that you have found and adore? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment below or email me at knackforknots [!at!] gmail.com if you’d like to chat!