Teaching Jewelry – Who Buys Students’ Tools and Supplies?

by Linda Rakestraw.

Teaching Jewelry - Who Buys Students' Tools and Supplies?  - Discussion on Jewelry Making Journal

I will be teaching basic jewelry making soon for ages 18 and over.

What would be the best way:

Should I have students buy tools and supplies?

Or should I buy tools and supplies and then add that into the charge for the class?

Thank you.

Linda Rakestraw

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  • Thom says:

    I would suggest buying the tools and supplies and adding to the cost of the class. That way you can control the quality of supplies and equipment. The finished does reflect on you even though it is the students project. If they purchase inferior supplies or equipment that doesn’t give them a finished project that looks nice it is your name that is out there.

  • Debra says:

    Any class I have taken, I had to provide my own tools, though the teacher usually had extras to share. Supplies have varied. What is good about paying a supply fee and having the teacher provide supplies – everyone is starting on the same page and you know the students have the right product. Also, as a student, if the technique doesn’t appeal to me, I haven’t sunk a fortune into a full size supply, like a whole reel of wire, etc.

  • Janet says:

    I have a different take on teaching classes. I provide the tools and supplies. That way everyone has exactly what is needed and the proper tools. However, if you are teaching the same people over and over in a local venue you can encourage them to get their own. Where my physolophy is different is that I do not buy top quality crystals, beads and sterling or gold findings for students. Myself, I have paid $150 for a class and come away with a piece of junk because I was learning a technique. I believe in teaching techniques in class. If a student can learn then they can go out and buy materials in the colors and finishes they like and be able to make the item again and it will be much prettier and have less mistakes than the one made in class. I make sure students know where to get supplies and can contact me if they need help at home. I give students very detailed patterns. I would be interested to know how others feel about this way of teaching.

  • Kelly Simmons says:

    Linda, I teach jewelry making classes to my community and I find it best to have them purchase the tools they will need. I supply all the beads and findings for the piece/pieces of jewelry we will be creating.
    I provide pictures of the tools and descriptions so they know what to purchase.
    They have the option to spend more if they choose however, I always explain need versus want.
    The cost of the supplies are worked into the cost of the classes.
    This method works well for me. I hope you find what works well for you.
    I love teaching, I hope you enjoy your class.

  • Sheila Foster says:

    For the classes I have taken, they send the students a supplies list for the students to purchase before the class. The teacher will supply the tools for class use, but not the beads, wire, string, leather, etc.

  • Moogie says:

    First of all, I have no personal experience with classes although I would love to teach one day. But I have some thoughts. You could offer an optional tool bundle for purchase in addition to your tuition. You can make a list of suggested tools (brands) of each tool they will need & places to buy them. Or they can take that list & buy their own brands of what they will need. If they choose inferior tools, it’s their decision & their budget they are considering. Supplies are a different thing. I would carry all the supplies (jewelry wire, copper wire, & other consumables) & factor this into the class price. These are just my thoughts! I would be interested in hearing from others who teach.

  • Linda Carman says:

    I teach classes through an art gallery. I first bought basic set tools (as a previous reader said – students are all on same page), but progressed because I also brought some tools I love and paid more for. Soon they were using my tools, not the set tools and asked me if I could carry extras they can buy as I find multiple use tools that make my job easier. I charge a couple of dollars for my time plus cost, taxes and shipping depending on cost of tool….comparison shopping on jewelry sites.

    I have a very special wire straightening plier students love called a Mazbot I order from a Texas firm and they are the only ones that carry them in the US because their family manufactures them in India.

    I use a dental tool on some wirewrap designs that make beautiful v’s and corners.

    All my best, but could have saved the costs on those beginner sets had I known students would want what I used.

  • Sandee Jene says:

    I also teach classes and believe in supplying the tools and materials – at least for the beginner. My beginner class fee includes this. My advanced class fee regulates that the student supplies everything on my printed supply list. If the advanced wants to save money and buy materials of less quality, then it is on them. #MyCarolAnne

  • Lesley says:

    I would agree. It’s best to provide the tools at the outset. I would discourage the ones that want to bring their own pliers etc.

  • Lesley says:

    I meant to say l wouldn’t discourage students from wanting to use their own pliers etc.

  • Catherine says:

    Any beading class I’ve taught, I supply the “ingredients”. Usually it’s a small kit I put together: ear wire, findings, beads, etc. I give 2 choices for whatever we are creating that day; larger statement/smaller.
    Tools…..I personally have several of my own that are in multiples. But, along the way I’ve purchased the small travel size tools. These usually cost $8-12 for a 3 pack of: mini pliers, cutters, and round nose pliers. On a sale I’ve got them for $4. Anyhow…I do small class sizes for 4-10people. Never been any complaints on not having enough. I just add a buck or 3 for the usage of the tools in the overall class price.
    Beginners especially are not going to want to commit to a bunch of money on something they don’t know if they’ll like or not.
    Now…if you’re doing a class on something that needs more specific tools…then yes….they should provide them.
    I hope this helps a little! Go make something beautiful! I encourage you to also check out your local libraries to do a free or very low cost make and take. Kids especially love this…😍

  • Tim Smeggil says:

    Greetings Linda,

    I am a Chainmaille Instructor, since I teach many classes and they all use the same tools, I have purchased all the tools and they are all labeled as mine. If they bring their own tools, we talk about why they will not be using their tools, usually individuals show up with pliers that have teeth on them or are old tools collected from dad’s tool box.

    I carry enough tools for 12 students to be able to sit and create the project for that day. At the end of the lesson (also at the end of my instructions), I tell the students where they can purchase the same tools that they have used during the class. At times, I will offer some of my extra tools (still in packaging) for sale.

    But, I always carry enough tools, in case any break during class. Most of my repeat students have gone and purchased the same tools that I use. In time, all the intermediate and advanced students are carrying the tools that I request to be used, beginners get to use my extra tools.

    As far as the pricing, if you are going to do only 1 class and never teach again with those tools, then you will purchase the tools and then work that price into your charge for the class. If you send out a prerequisite of what tools are needed, you will run into a problem, some stores only restock on certain days. If all of your students are from the same area, they might be shopping at the same store. So, only the first or second person will get their tools, everyone will be without.


  • Stella Volschenk says:

    I would say if it’s a basic class have a kit with the basic tools and kit for a piece of jewelry included in the cost of the class.

  • I agree with Thom. When I began teaching peyote I was very specific about the beads they were to bring to class…Miyuki delicas only. I had several students bring seed beads from craft stores and they were awful to work with. From that point on I supplied the beads. I ordered them wholesale and bought tubes and priced them to they could pick their own colors. It was a little work at the onset getting the tubes filled and priced, but well worth it. For classes where it doesn’t matter much, I give a supply list. I did buy several sets of tools (cutter, plier, round nose) and they share. It hasn’t been an issue. They could buy their own, give them some links. I found that a lot of my students were first time and I don’t think asking them to buy a bunch of tools for their first class is intimidating. I never bring my top end tools to class, learned my lesson there. I do have “tool talk” to educate about quality for those interested in continuing and there I give my recommendations. I also had the patterns I design for sale at a special student price.

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