Saturday, May 17, 2008

When you want to make your own ring

I'm doing a little wire work tutorial today. I had bought this cabochon as a set of 3 at the Gem & Jewelry Show. I had bought a ring setting for one, given a second away as a gift, and had this third one sitting around for a while. I wanted to make it a ring, but I wanted a different setting from the one I already had. I looked all over the place and either the settings were the wrong size, or I had to order wholesale and in bulk. Finally, an idea started forming in my head about using wire and making my own ring. I've included the instructions here. You can click on the pictures to see larger images.


- 1 ft 16 gauge wire

- 1 ft 20 gauge wire. More may be needed if you want to wrap it a lot or if your stone is bigger

- Small cabochon

- heavy duty wire cutters

- wire working pliers

- ring mandrel or something round of approximate size to your finger with a little bit of extra room

Note that I like to use sterling silver (dead soft). Copper will be more bendable and you may end up with nicks on the wire from your pliers. The choice is really up to you.

Sizing up your finger

If you already know the size ring you want, good for you. If not, you need to figure out what size ring you want to make. There are various resources on the web to find your ring size like this one at wikipedia. If you don't own a ring mandrel, you would probably want to figure out either the diameter of your finger to fit (so you can buy and approximate sized dowel at the hardware store) or the circumference of your finger (so you can find a similar object around the house).

Creating the ring

If you are using a ring mandrel, you want to wrap the wire just at the notch just slightly larger than your desired ring size. If you are using a dowel or tubular object, you want to make sure the circumference is slightly larger than your finger. Using the 16 gauge wire, leave about 1.5 inches at the end and wrap it once
Making the ring
then twice
Making the ring
around the ring mandrel. Try to keep the size of the rings you're creating even. That's 2 full rings around the mandrel.

Take the end of the wire and you want to bend it around the two wire rings:
Securing the ends of the wire

Then, cut the wire from the spool, also leaving 1.5 inches. Wrap that end also around the 2 wire rings:
Securing the ends of the wire

Make loops with the two ends, or some other free form shape.
Finished silver ring, without stone

Finished silver ring, without stone

Trim the wires down to your desired length. You can stop here if you want. It's a very nice ring.

Wire wrapping the cabochon

Full disclosure: I have never taken a class or been instructed on wrapping stones with wire. I experimented with copper 26 gauge wire to see how it would work. Please feel free to experiment with the wire and the stone.

I used the 20 gauge wire to wrap the cabochon, leaving a 2 inch tail at one end to be used for securing to the ring. Then I proceeded to wrap the wire around to stone so that the stone is "trapped" in a cage.
Wrapping the cabochon Wrapping the cabochon

I secured the 2 ends of the 20 gauge wire to the ring by wrapping each end 3 times around the ring. I then trimmed off the excess.
Finished ring - commented

The stone was still wobbly on the ring so I took a small piece of the 20 gauge (you can use scraps at least 1 inch long) and threaded that through the wires under the cabochon and wrapped it around the ring to secure:
Finished ring - commented

Finally, the finished ring:
Finished ring
Finished ring


Mei said...

Very creative way of making a cab ring. thank you for sharing.

Javajem said...

This is such a great idea! I may have to get some silver wire and give your idea a try!

Thanks for sharing!

amie tiez said...

I love this ... i want to try this .. yey .. thanks a lot