Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wire Wrapped Ring Tutorial

Whenever I show someone these rings, people thing I'm like a super-talented jewelry designer person or something. Which I'm not. I'm just good at making relatively simple things look really impressive...and now you can too! These rings are great for gifts!

I didn't remember to turn my macro on until I was almost finished. Sorry about the blurry photos!

Materials needed:

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)
Ring mandrel
wire cutters
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):

And the back will look like this (4 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 ring off the mandrel.

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 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!

Hints and tips:

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.


The Blogmaster said...

You make it look so easy.

Sage and Daisy said...

Thanks for this tutorial! I've always wondered how to make wire wrapped rings.

Bejeweled said...

What an awesome tutorial! I would have loved to have found this when I was learning ring crafting last summer. You can include brass wire in that "springy and makes your beads fly all over" category :)

Eli N Opus said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I can't wait to play around with some of my beads that I didn't have plans for!

lauren bacchus said...

great tutorial! you make it look way too easy.

thank you for sharing. :)

Alisha said...

That is so cool. You make it look easy!

I love that ring.....beautiful.

capitolagirl said...

Fantastic tutorial!

even-star said...

I am going to go home right now and make a ring!

LindsayLuu said...

my ring mandrel doesn't have a channel. I need to go look for one now!

Bonnie said...

This is a great way to use up odd beads. I can't wait to get started. said...

Wow, this is fabulous! I'll be linking.

kathrine said...

Hey Casey, just wondering if you have a twist on this design that will give it a more masculine feel. Is there a way to make it thicker?
Thanks for the awesome tutorial.

yosnacks said...

oh my goodness this tutorial is so perfect! it is exactly what I have been looking for - THANK YOU!!

matherton said...

Wonderful tutorial. I'm going to try making one today!

christi said...

great tutorial...i've been searching for good direction on how to make these rings with little success. can't wait to try! thanks again

F. said...

Thanks for making me look brilliant too. Made my first wire wrapped ring today with your instructions and was able to wear it out in public tonight!

artfuldesigns said...

Wonderful tutorial! I was looking for a simple way to make some rings. The only question I would have is do you have a picture of the back of the bead? How it is supposed to look after you push the wires under the bead? Thanks a lot for posting this and can't wait to see more.

Tabby said...

Thank you SO much. Best tutorial I've found.

Carolyn Lloyd said...

This is super helpful - I'm going to grab my craft wire now!

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Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. Much appreciated :O)

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Petal said...

Thank you for taking the time to post this tutorial. I have been playing around with wrapped rings and you really gave me a few insights that are going to make my rings look so much better. Many thanks.

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pedro velasquez said...

The best part about making wire wrapped rings is that you need very few supplies. A pair of chain nose pliers,dominical costa rica tours a nice decorative bead, some wire and a ring mandrel (a rod with ring markings that can be used to wrap the ring around) is all you need. For the mandrel, you can use any old rod, but the ring mandrel's markings are what will help you size the ring correctly. You may want to wrap the tips of the pliers in masking tape to keep them from scratching the surface of the wire; if you like that look, however, don't bother.

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This is an excellent tutorial! I have a question; I don't have a mandrel, so do you have a suggestion on something I could use instead?
Jen :)

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