Michaels, a great place to find jewelry findings and beading wire… if you know how to shop their aisles:
We’ve all been there… wandering the craft store aisles trying to find wire for beading & other important items to make jewelry (earring findings, charms, jump rings, etc, etc). But because of the lack of knowledgeable help from staff, we often leave in frustration without actually picking up the items that we originally came for. Argggghhh!
I get a lot of comments and emails asking for tips on how to find polymer clay supplies and jewelry making stuff. Here’s a link to a recent conversation I had with jojo (one of the readers of this blog), about where to buy metal leaf and gold foil: Gold Leaf Polymer Clay
Well it’s time to take matters into your own hands when it comes to finding jewelry making supplies at Michael’s Arts and Craft Stores.
Here’s 12 shopping tips that will be helpful for all poly clayers, whether you are a newbie beginner or a more experienced jewelry designer already making money selling your creations in an Etsy store or at your own web site.
1) First of all you need to realize employees in stores like Michaels, Joanne’s and the Hobby Lobby can not possibly be experts in all the different mediums… and in some cases in none of the mediums. If you go to Michaels Careers section on their web site it even says, "You don’t have to be an artist to create a brilliant career!" The people with real expertise that you should be going to for advice, are the ones actually making a living with their hobbies (like me for example ;-). I’m here to help!
2) The ‘big box’ craft stores are focused much more on bringing you the best price rather than the best service. So you will have to figure out a lot of the technical stuff on your own. Reading this post will help you with the learning curve.
3) Spend some time on a day you’re not rushed to get to know all the areas of the store and what is there. When making polymer clay jewelry you’ll want to try all kinds of different supplies and crafting tools.
4) Jewelery making supplies can be found in more places than just the bead aisle. Silver wire or copper wire can also be found where the wire jigs are.
5) Wonderful cookie cutters which are great for making polymer clay beads, can be found in the polymer clay section, the Makins air dry clay section as well as fondant cutters in the candy and cake making sections.
6) Jewelry findings can be found with the beads or with the beading tools. But sometimes the best charms are found in scrapbooking or cardmaking aisles.
7) Think about buying rubber stamps, Adirondack alcohol inks, Pearl-X Powders and pigment ink pads from the scrapbooking section.
8) Look for glitters in the kids craft section, the paper making area, the paints and painting aisle and in Christmas crafts supplies.
9) Metal foils and metal leafs are found in a few places. Mona Lisa Imitation Gold Leaf can be found often where the adhesives are or where the woodcrafts are located. Sometimes foils like Jones Tones can be found in the fabric paint area or sewing department.
10) And don’t forget to bring discount coupons that you can clip from your local newspaper flyers! Michaels has regular 40% and 50% off sales which you should always use for buying the bigger supplies and tools. If you register online at the Michaels Art and Craft web site, you can print the coupons on your printer and bring a few friends to help you get even more discounts.
11) Try ‘pre-shopping’ online at the hobby store of your choice. That way you can print out exactly what you want and the staff can look it up on their computer to find out where it is in the store.
12) Buy your jewelry making supplies online whenever you can. That way you can sit in your pajamas with a cup of coffee and make your craft shopping experience into a virtual adventure.
So instead of turning around and leaving Michael’s without any beading supplies in your shopping cart, realize that you probably know more about making jewelry than the people working there. And that soon with a little research, you’ll be the one to point frustrated people in the right direction!
By the way, craft stores aren’t the only place to buy jewelry making supplies… but I’ll leave that story for another day!