I didn't remember to turn my macro on until I was almost finished. Sorry about the blurry photos!
About 18 inches of 22 gauge wire (can be craft wire, sterling silver, gold-filled, whatever)
Bead or stone (8-12 mm is the best size)
chain nose pliers
Start by placing your bead onto the wire, about 2/3 of the way along.
Begin placing your wire on your mandrel. Start a full ring size bigger than what you intend your finished ring to be. I am starting at 8 because I want my finished ring to be a size 7.
Turn your mandrel over and position the bead in the channel. Now you're ready to start wrapping!
Holding the the bead in the channel, wrap each side of the wire aroubd the mandrel twice. Once you have done that, the front will look like this (3 loops of wire showing):
Pinch your wires together and push them under your bead. Make sure the back wires don't get criss-crossed!
Check the short end of the wire. Is it coming up from the bottom or top? Either way is fine, but don't cross over when you start wrapping! Take the short end of the wire and wrap it around the bead once, crossing to the other side. Leave it there.
Take the long end of the wire and begin wrapping it. The first time around, just go slightly away from the bead. The second time around, go as close to the bead as possible. The third and subsequent times, wrap away from the bead. Keep going until you are satisfied with the look (or you run out of wire!)
Take the loose ends of the wire on one side and wrap it around and around the band until you are satisfied with the look. (Some people go all the way arounf the band, but I'm not a fan of that look). Count the number of wraps. Now do the same amount of wraps on the other side.
Trim the ends of the wires as close to the band as possible.
Use the chain nose pliers to smoosh the end flat so that it won't stratch your finger...it can be sharp!
Check the size by placing the ring back on the mandrel, band across the numbers.
Straighten and smooth the band by beating it to death. You can use a tack hammer, but I like to use the soft-grip handle of my crimper because there's less of a chance of marring the wire.
Take it off the mandrel, check it, admire it, then put it on your finger and when people ask where you got it, you can say, "I made it!" and everyone will gasp in amazement!
Around 90% of people can wear a size 7 ring on at least one of their fingers, so when in doubt, make it size 7!
Craft wire and base metals are the easiest to work with. Fine metals, such as sterling and gold-filled, are more sproingy...if you loosen your grip at all before you wrap the sides, your ring will spring open and your beads will fly everywhere! Practice a bit with the craft wire before venturing on to fine metals.
Round beads are easiest to work with. Flat beads are the hardest because the wires won't stay under the bead when you pinch them together before wrapping.
You can use more than one bead! Experiment!
Don't get too frustrated. It does take practice!
If you find you're feeling like you don't have enough hands, feel free to place the mandrel between your knees. That's what I do! I like to think I'm working my thighs as I am squeezing the mandrel with my knees. :)
Feel free to comment or email with any questions.