Measuring Charts Made Easy: Stage 1

Diameter Curves and Teardrop Roll-back Loops

Have you ever wished you could replicate a piece of jewelry that you made previously?

Perhaps you made one great dangle and then you decided that it would make a great pair of earrings, but when you tried to make another one you had trouble.  Or maybe you worked out a great design, made a few of them while it was fresh in your mind, and then low and behold, 6 months later, you wish you could make more, but it’s just not working out the same way.

How much time is dedicated to trial and error when you are working out a new design?

You know the deal… You get an idea in your head for a new jewelry design, and as you go about making it, you figure out that you needed the wire to be a bit longer, or that you shouldn’t have bent it here, you needed to bend it over there.  If your tenacious enough, you work through all the hurdles and finally come up with your piece (the “smarty-pants” jeweler might even make a measuring chart or a pattern).  Or, you re-work the design as you go, adapting to the shortcomings along the way; which can go one of two ways… either you love the new design and you feel like it was meant to be, or you always feel like it just didn’t turn out quite the way you imagined it.

No matter your path – or even how happy you are with the result – you invested a LOT of time figuring it out.  And probably used more valuable material than you really needed to.  You think to yourself… if I had just known how long the wire needed to be to create that loop, I wouldn’t have used so much extra – or worse – not cut enough. Or…  I thought that tool “A” was going to give me the curve that I wanted, when really I needed to use tool “B”.

What if you had a “look book” that provided visuals of various components?  Oh… and the instructions on how to make it too?

Think about it… If you want to cook something that you don’t know how to make by rote, you look up the recipe for it.  Even if you don’t follow the recipe exactly, you check out what the basic framework is, and then you adapt it to your own tastes.

Creating a design reference for the basic elements commonly found in jewelry is the answer!  It’s a recipe book for your jewelry designs.  This way, when you get an idea in your head, you can open up the book and visually scan the various sizes of loops, for instance, to decide which may work best for your project.  Perhaps you know that you want to use two jump rings to connect the links of a necklace so that it will drape better.  You can take a look at the sample loops and quickly determine the perfect size, which tool creates that size loop, and also how long the material needs to be to create it.  Just think about how much time this just saved you!  As you build your reference library, you ultimately save more and more time.  It’s just a method of how to store your research, so you don’t have to keep re-creating the wheel.

Why can’t I just publish a reference book for you?

If you’ve taken classes with me over the years, you know that I create measuring charts to help you achieve each project.  The trouble is that not all tools are equal.  Even if the tools are made from the same manufacturer.  If my tool is half a millimeter smaller or larger than your tool, my measuring charts aren’t accurate for you.  Sometimes this doesn’t matter a whole lot, but when you have exact measurements available for yourself, there’s no need to tweak or fuss with it every time.

I have even taken the ruler out of the measuring process…

So many people hate to use a ruler, especially when it comes to detailed increments.  All of the little lines get confusing or blur together, and the fractions or decimals make for complex math.  So I devised a system that bypasses the use of a ruler even though we are working with detailed measurements.  I’ll show you how to craft measuring tools out of card-stock that make it super easy to create measuring charts for various components, and I’ve created a system to store them on the each page along with your visual samples.


This first stage of Measuring Charts Made Easy features two basic jewelry elements: Diameter Curves and Roll-back Loops…

These two components share a relationship with the diameter of the tool you are working with, and are also very commonly found in many jewelry designs.  Once you learn to chart these elements you will be able to  create the following components with ease and consistency:


  • Scalloped Links

  • Squiggle Links

  • Streamers

  • Infinity Links

  • Asymmetrical Infinity Links

  • Open Loop Bead Dangles

  • Open Loop Bead Links

This class will bring you through the process of…

  • How to form the basic elements including how to approach them from various angles to achieve the same result
  • How to figure the increments required to create each element in various gauges
  • How to make custom measuring tools to utilize for charting components
  • How to chart the components
  • Creating a reference binder that is organized and easy to reference including inserts on how to form each of the components
  • Building an array of reference to get you rolling with a multitude of great projects in mind

Join us to get started creating your own design reference and save yourself hours and hours of re-creating the wheel!

Where is the class?

Desert Jewel Studio, 26839 N 44th St, Cave Creek, AZ 85331. You will receive directions upon registering for class.

When are the classes?

Sundays, every other week starting April 19, 2020 from 2-5pm  (Dates are 4/19,5/3, 5/17, and 5/31)

How do I sign up?

Class will be $200/person for the 4-week series.  E-mail or call Jen at (480)635-2402  to register any time from noon to 10pm.

What will I need to bring to class?


  • 14g, 16g, 18g, 20g round copper wire (mostly 16ga – a few feet is good)

Note:  I will have  wire available for purchase in class as well.

Tools for creating the reference:

  • Flush cutter (heavy and light if you have both)
  • Wrap n’ tap pliers (Beadsmith # PL46 or Eurotool equivalent – approximately 13mm,16mm,20mm steps)
  • Step pliers (Beadsmith # PL48 – approximately 2.4mm, 4.1mm, and 5.2mm steps )
  • Bail-making pliers (optional for first class) (Beadsmith #PL42 – approximately 6.25mm and 8.5mm)
  • Chain-nose pliers
  • Flat pliers
  • Magnifying glasses!!!  Most people don’t think they need them, but we are working with fine details.

Supplies for creating your reference book:

  • 3- ring binder
  • clear plastic sheet protectors
  • colored card stock – something that contrasts the white but pastel is best – 2″ squares and a 3″ strip for making measuring tools (I will have some with me along with a craft cutter so you don’t have to pre-cut before class)
  • pencil/ erasure
  • pen (fine tip ball-point is recommended – I use Bic pens)
  • colored pens (fine tip ball-point is recommended – I use Bic pens – you want something where the ink doesn’t spread)
  • ultra fine tip sharpie marker (clicky/retractable style is best – can get these at OfficeMax)
  • clear packing tape
  • Ruler (to use as a straight edge) 😉
  • Digital calipur (inexpensive version can be found at Harbor Freight)
  • Scissors


The majority of the above items are available locally at C&D SilverSJ Jewelry SupplyLonnie’s Jewelry Supply or other on-line jewelry supply sources. If you have any difficulty or questions about obtaining any of these items, please contact Jen to inquire about your options.