Sunday, 21 October 2012

Handmade Monday: Rustic rings tutorial

Why don't I make many rings?  Well, number one, I'm no good at them.  Number two, they always come out a funny size (perhaps because I don't measure properly!).  Number three, I'm no good at them.  Number four, the shanks look like the back leg of a pony.  Number five, I'm no good at them.... You get the picture?

This is as far as I've got in the past - these little howlite or pearl ring which are elasticated (apart from my wire rose rings).  I sold one from my Folksy shop yesterday and as I was parcelling it up had an idea that I thought might make life easier...

The idea was to make a ring like a wire wrapped bangle.  The shank could be any 4mm bead or pearl and as in a bangle, the wire wrapping would strengthen the shank and could be used to prettify the central bead too if desired.
 It could work with even the smallest pearls.  So I set out to have a go and these are some of the results.
They are by no means perfect, but they are streets ahead of my attempts at conventional wire shank rings.  One big advantage for me is that I can count the beads and work out the ring size from that rather than having to fiddle about with a ring mandrel.  And instead of having lots of thick wire left around the shoulders which has to be cut and then left exposed, there are plenty of places to tuck the ends of the wire neatly.

Here's a quick tutorial if you want to have a go.
I used 0.8mm wire for my rings, after experimenting with 1mm (too tough for me to manipulate) and 0.6mm (easy to work, but a little more fragile).  As usual, I didn't measure the amount of wire needed, just a good workable length.
Thread the beads on and ensure they all fall right in the middle of the wire. Each bead only has one strand of the wire through it, so it's easy to use very small beads and tiny pearls.  Here I've got some blue and pink quartzite and picture jasper beads for the shank.
You can use the mandrel or any other cylindrical object to form a nice circle, but if you've practised and know the right number of beads for your size, you don't need a mandrel to measure with.
Make sure the beads are sitting tightly together and do one twist of the two ends of the wire together.  Make this as small as possible as it's going to be sitting between the beads at the back.  Don't worry too much that the shape of the ring gets compromised at this point.  Adjust the wires so that they remain twisted and face in the right direction to be wrapped around the beads...
...And wrap each little bead, using the crevice between the beads to anchor the wire before wrapping the next bead.  The wire will have a natural curve, so follow that and the wraps will form easily.  Go right up to the central bead(s) and decide if you want to wrap across it with one of the wires or not.
On this one I left the centre bead plain, so all that remains to do is finish off.  I wrapped several times on the shoulders and then cut and tucked the wire ends on the back side of the beads. 

I need more practice to get it perfect!  You can work it so that each of the wraps on the beads are going in the same direction and sit at the same place on the bead.  I've left mine organic (that's slang for 'lazy' in my house!)

I used the mandrel now to ensure that ring is (nearly) perfectly round.  Now is also the time to give it a little twist on the mandrel if it's coming up a little small in size - it will stretch a little.

Done!  They look quite rustic, I think, but I like that.
This one is plum quartzite and a first go with a little coin bead.

Here's the link to see what other crafty folk have been making this week.

Finally, apologies that if you comment, there will be a delay for 'approval'.  I really love your comments, but have had some really persistent spammers in the last two weeks and it takes a really long time to clean the blog up afterwards.  Please do comment though, I love to hear your views.


  1. I love your rings and thanks for sharing your tutorial.
    I have linked your tutorial for wire roses on my blog - as I attempted some wire roses to make a gift for my sister.
    Love, Andrea xx

  2. That's a very clever idea, and the rings look great, and very unique.

  3. oh, these are nice....thanks for sharing your "secret".

  4. They are so pretty and clever too.

  5. All these rings are gorgeous. You need to reassess yourself - that statement that you're no good at rings is clearly out of date!

  6. Thank you for taking the time to do a tutorial. Your jewellery is amazing.

  7. these are gorgeous! really pretty and something different too which is lovely :)

    what a shame about the spamming... i hope they go away soon! x

  8. These are lovely, I have made a couple of bracelets like these but never thought of rings,will try now, clever you. Loving the definition of organic to..xx

  9. Lovely work and a great tutorial - thank you. I do like the backgrounds you use for your photographs - makes everything stand out really well. Hope you have a good week.

  10. You certainly have some beautiful jewels on this post. Would be difficult to chose....x

    I switched off the capatcha thingy and get lots if spam but they go to the spam folder.

  11. I think those rings are lovely, especially the pearly one :)

  12. I really like these - the wire wrapping adds something really unique to them.

  13. I think all your rings are lovely. Great tutorial, really easy to follow. Thanks for sharing.
    Ali x

  14. These look lovely and it's a very good tutorial too. Really like the effect of having the large purple bead against the smaller yellow beads.

  15. They look very fiddly, but the ones you've made look fab!

  16. The rings are lovely and unique! I am amazed at how little supplies you used yet how effective the rings look! :)



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