Giving Out Instructions to Your Designs

Design Idea G101 Bracelet
by Dan Day, Marketing Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

You've had a wonderful inspiration and, through your hard work and artistry, have turned that idea into a beautiful jewelry design. Once you begin displaying it at shows, people start asking you, ''How did you do this?''

Of course you are flattered, and if you have never encountered this before, you first ask yourself, ''Do I mind sharing my design?'' If you would like to share, you ask, ''How do I write instructions so others can make my design?''

Fortunately for you, you don't have to invent that wheel; there is lots of information to help you, located under the Resource Center tab at the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads homepage.

Materials List

For starters, you should keep a good record of all the materials you used and how much of each you used. Make a list of all the tools you used and a list of all of the techniques you employed to make this design. Here is an example of a materials list from our Gallery of Designs for Design Idea F700, a double-strand necklace. Take a look and we'll cover the format of the list below:

Design Idea F700 Necklace and Earring Set
The main components are listed first: beads, charms, focals, embellishments, etc. Next, list other findings such as jumprings, clasps, bails, headpins and earwires. After that comes stringing materials: wire, chain, leather, etc. And at the bottom of the list are tools, glues, needles, etc.

Of course the lists will vary from project to project, but you are encouraged to look at a number of designs and see how the lists are formatted.

Why follow a format? First of all, it's one that customers are familiar with; secondly, it's professional to have a consistent, organized, easy-to-follow material list.

Project Instructions

Next, take a close look at some of the Jewelry-Making Projects in the Resource Center. Each project comes with detailed step-by-step instructions. You might want to start with Quick and Easy Projects. Chances are you will find a project similar to your design. Feel free to copy and tailor the steps that apply to your design (just don't copy the whole project). You will probably need to tweak some of the steps to suit your project: typically lengths, sizes, colors, styles, etc. Don't forget to use the search bar to find projects that use a specific technique such as soutache for details to incorporate.

Tutorials

You will notice that most of the project instructions include Additional Resources at the bottom. Feel free to use these in your instructions so you don't have to explain Making a Simple Loop or Opening a Jumpring. Our Jewelry-Making Videos and Jewelry-Making Techniques explain a multitude of techniques from the basics just mentioned to more advanced, ones such as ''How to Add Photographic Images to Apoxie® Sculpt Using Waterslide Image Transfers''.

Testing

Getting someone to ''test drive'' your instructions will prove invaluable as you find out what doesn't quite make sense or what doesn't flow properly. You may want to have a different person test each revision to ensure the best results.

Sharing

At the very least, print out your instructions and hand them out to whoever is interested in your design. However, you lose the ability to quickly link to materials and resources. Of course, you will want to have downloadable instructions on your website (you do have a website, don't you?) and link to your website using social media pages such as Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram, as well promoting them to your network of friends and customers via Twitter.

Go Forth and Instruct

One last bit of advice learned in the trenches of corporate training: remember what it's like not to know. Putting yourself in the place of the person trying to follow your instructions (possibly a newbie) will help you make sure you craft useful, interesting and easy-to-follow instructions.

Shop Books and DVD's Shop

You may also want to learn by emulating the instructional technique of some of the many authors and experts as presented in their books and DVD's.

Additional Resources ...


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