Help – First Time Teaching a Jewelry Class

by JanMarie.

Help - First Time Teaching a Jewelry Class  - Discussion on Jewelry Making Journal

I will be teaching a beginners class soon. I am OK with teaching, but have only taught individuals.

For a class of 6 or more, I do not know what to require of my students. Should I require students to bring their own beads, findings etc.?

It seems that might be a little overwhelming for someone who might not know anything about jewelry making.

What about tools – in a beginners class students may not be ready to commit to buying tools to continue making jewelry.

Pricing is also a question. Can anyone offer their insights?

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  • Becky says:

    When I taught small groups, I would buy inexpensive tools for them to purchase as starters, round nose pliers, cutters, and flat nose pliers. They shared my crimper at first. Then I would have all supplies in individual baggies. That way they have everything they need for the class and can upgrade their tools later if they wish. I would show them a finished project beforehand to make sure that is what they wanted to make. They always wanted to make everything. Good luck.

  • Dianne says:

    I have taught in schools, galleries and corporate team-building days. My experience here taught me that I prefer to supply the materials and build them into the price of the class. The reason for this is that regardless of how specific I was to the materials list, they always came with the wrong supplies. As far as the tools, I agree with Becky. They can buddy-up and share tools so you don’t have to have a set for each student.
    For beading classes, I supplied kits of supplies in base metal and glass beads in a variety of colors. Keep in mind that it is the techniques you are teaching.
    Another thing teaching has taught me is that more than anything they want to have fun! Don’t get hung up on being perfect, just be human and have a good time…they’ll remember that and before you know it you’ll be teaching everywhere! Best of luck!

  • Judy Bjorkman says:

    I agree with the preceding comments — fold the costs of basic tools into the class fee. It also depends on what techniques you will be teaching. In my basic class I taught the use of the jeweler’s saw, hammer decoration, filing the edges of sheet metal jewelry pieces, and using patina. (I did not do beading or wire-wrapping.) Most of my students were beaders who wanted to know more about metal. What a great group — hard-working, fun, and motivated!

  • Yvonne says:

    The only other thing I would add to above comments is to limit the size of your group. 6 seems like plenty. Teaching a group is different than teaching an individual. Different personalities, different learning curves, etc. Consider doing more than 1 beginner class to keep the size down

  • Sarah says:

    I”ve done a few beginners classes, and each time the tools were supplied – at one class they came in cute little wicker baskets. We could pick the beads we used from a selection the teacher supplied – it was extraordinary to see what we each chose; some went for big and bright, others were small and muted. We all made the same thing but each one was very different. I think if you’re running a beginners class they won’t want to commit to tools at that stage – until they get the bug…
    Oh, and having the stages of the project written down and copied so everyone has one is really handy, both in class and afterwards when you’re trying to make it again. Now I’m much more experienced as a maker, I can see how each teacher really cut down the number of instructions/stages to make it suitable for beginners but at the time it was all I could take in.
    Good luck and enjoy it! If you’re relaxed and confident, then they’ll be happy.

  • Sandy West says:

    I agree with Sarah about written instructions. When I teach a class, I write instructions. Then I make the project using them to see if there is something missing or needs to be clarified. I print one for each student and myself. On mine I highlight and add “liner notes” so that in class I know what to say. I start each class with a short tutorial about wire and some basic skills needed for that class (making jump rings or simple loops).

  • I have taught several classes and I found it to be extremely helpful to just pick one specific project to work on for the class. Limiting the focus helps the students not be so overwhelmed. I also type out the instructions for the project, giving every participant a copy along with some pictures of the finished product. So, if I am helping someone else, then the other participants at least have a reference sheet. Also, I usually buy my beads for these class either through bulk on my wholesalers. However, I also take jewelry pieces from consignment/thrift shop with decent beads and then dissemble the pieces for the beads.

  • Wanda byrd says:

    I’m interested in a one day handcraft Jewelry class in basic costume jewelry. I’m only using stretch cord in assembling the Jewelry but it will include a necklace, bracelet and earrings. I want to work with two customers in a class. Does this seem possible to try for a first time in home project?

  • Wanda, I think that sounds very do-able, and it’s nice to start out with just a couple of students, then grow to more if you want. Wishing you and your students a wonderfully creative time! 🙂

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