Hi, I usually just lurk here, but finally a question I can answer!
It's really easy, not nearly as complicated as I thought it would
be. You want to put the stainless steel shot and jewelry into the
barrel of the tumbler, aim for maybe 1/3 full (don't think that's a
rule, but it worked for me) then add water (I used distilled water,
just in case...) until the water completely covers the shot and
jewelry, and add just a little more water. Then you add either
tumbling powder or dish soap. The soap I used was liquid dish soap,
just a few drops, I think it was dawn or something like that. From
what I understand, pretty much any liquid dish soap should work. The
first time I tumbled, I left the pieces in for about an hour, and
they came out looking very clean and shiny. Some people leave them
in a lot longer, but an hour was enough for what I wanted. I think
if the jewelry has a lot of burrs you might need to leave it in
longer. When you are done, it is important to rinse off the shot and
the inside of the tumbler barrel so you don't get build-up which
will eventually leave residue on the jewelry. Be careful not to lose
all your shot down the drain!
If you have any other beginner tumbling questions you can email me
off-list. I haven't been tumbling for very long, so I know where you
are coming from.