Saturday, August 24, 2013

DIY Jewelry Tutorial: How To Make Wire Wrapped Rings

Thank you guys so much for your patience - the new tutorial is finally up!

This DIY jewelry tutorial will show you how to make wire wrapped rings. It may seem daunting at first, but I promise, it's actually very easy!

The bead that I am using is a blue titanium druzy quartz stone bead. I offer this item in my store (with both copper and sterling silver options). I've included a link at the bottom of this tutorial if anyone is interested! By the end of this tutorial you will know how to make the ring in this picture below!

Let's begin!!!!!

Step One: Gather Your Tools and Materials

To make a wire wrapped ring, you really only need a few simple and easy to find tools. You could actually find all of these at your local craft store, such as Michael's or AC Moore. If you don't have a craft store near you, I know that my local Wal-Mart carries all of the above items (although the quality may not be as good).

For this tutorial, you will need craft wire, one bead of your choosing (preferably round-shaped), side cutters, needle nose pliers and a ring mandrel. Although it is not pictured, a ruler will come in handy for measuring out the length of the wire, if you are unable to judge length by eye.

I wanted a close up image for the craft wire. For my copper rings, I almost always use the Darice brand silver plated wire, 22 gauge. It is extremely affordable (runs around $2.99 a pack around here), and it's great for practicing. 

I would NOT recommend using sterling silver wire to practice, as it is far too expensive! I would only use sterling silver if you have allergies/sensitives, or if you have practiced this tutorial a few times and have gotten the hang of the wire wrapping process.

Step Two: Measure Out Your Wire and Place Your Bead

For a typical size 7 wire wrapped ring, I usually use about 12 inches of wire. Measure out this amount from your spool and use your side cutters to snip it. 

If you're not good at judging measurements by eye, you will want to take a marker and make a small dot on the very middle of the wire.

You will then want to slip your bead onto the wire and place it at the midway point. For a 12 inch piece of wire, this means the on each side of the bead there will be 6 inches of wire. 

Once this is complete, you will need to "bend" your wire, like you see in the image above. This will help you hold the ring on the mandrel much easier, as the bends at each side of the bead will help keep it in place.

Step Three: Choose Your Ring Size and Wrap The Wire Around The Mandrel

First, you will need to choose the ring size that you want. Your mandrel should have numbers listed on them, representing that specific size. My mandrel has both US and UK sizes listed. This is my older mandrel, so I apologize for its beaten up appearance; I do recommend a cheaper mandrel, such as this one, for practice. If you want to stick with wire wrapping after a while, you may want to invest in a metal mandrel that will hold up better over time.

To make the correct size, simply place your bead over the number of the size you want. So, if you want a size 5 ring, place your bead over the number 5 on the mandrel. 

Sometimes, due to the tightening of the wire wrapping, I start the wrapping about a quarter of a size "up" (so I place the bead on size 5.25 instead of 5), just so I can ensure that the ring size doesn't "shrink" past the desired size during the wrapping process. For some reason, I find this to be especially true when wrapping smaller sizes (ex. sizes 2-7), but not for larger sizes beyond size 7 or so.

This is what the back of the ring mandrel will look like as you begin to wrap the wire around the mandrel, and back to the front.

Once the wire has been wrapped around and back to the front of the mandrel, it will look something like this. Now, you will proceed to the next step to begin wrapping the wire around the bead.

Step Four: Wrap The Wire Around The Bead

Now you can begin to wrap the wire around the bead. Depending on the type of bead that you are using, sometimes the wire will slip and move around; this is wear practicing comes in. The more you do it, the more you will know how to manipulate the wire so that it will appear the way that you want.

Continue wrapping the wire around the bead until you achieve the desired look that you want. Some people prefer a lot of wire wrapping, while others prefer less. Just be sure to leave at least two inches on each end for the final wrapping around the ring - this will secure the entire piece.

Now that you have wrapped the wire to your preference, you can now remove the ring from the mandrel to begin the final stages of the tutorial.

Step Five: Wrap The Loose Ends Of The Wire To Secure The Ring

You will now wrap the loose ends of the wire to secure the ring. Take one end and begin to "wrap" it around the band of the ring, as pictured above.

Continue to wrap the wire around the band of the ring. You don't want to overdo it, but about 5-6 "wraps" is usually good enough, unless you are working with a larger size ring. 

Once you have made all of the wraps you need - you'll proceed to the next step.

Step Six: Snip The Leftover Wire And Tidy It Up

With the wrapping portion complete, you'll want to take your side cutters and snip the remaining wire. Please keep in mind to always keep the snipped portion of wire on the outside of the band. If you cut it on the inside of the band, it could scratch your skin and feel just plain uncomfortable to wear.

Once you have snipped the leftover wire, you can take your needle nose pliers and "flatten down" the snipped ends (sometimes the snipped ends can be sharp, you don't want your ring to cut you or anyone else!). Also, sometimes the wrapping around the band can appear to be uneven or lumpy, so you can use the needle nose pliers to "tidy up" the band wrapping and make everything look well aligned.

Step Seven: Repeat Steps 5-6 On The Other Side

Now you will want to wrap, snip and tidy up the other loose end of your ring. Once it is complete, your ring will look similar to the image above.

Your ring is now complete!!!!

I hope that you guys enjoyed this tutorial! Please let me know your thoughts, ideas and suggestions in the comments below. Are there any other tutorials that you'd like to see? Any hints that you'd like to give that would make the tutorial easier? I look forward to your comments!

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