How to Properly Open and Close Jump Rings

How to Properly Open and Close a Jump Ring

Opening and closing jump rings is a foundational skill you need in jewelry making.  Doing this correctly could be the difference between sturdy jewelry pieces that stand the test of time and pieces that fall apart.

The good news is that once you get this down you’ll never forget it!

how to properly open and close jump rings

This is a quick video to show you how to properly open and close jump rings:

Another quick jewelry making tip is to open all the jump rings you need for a project at one time.

Tassel Charm

Now that you have that mastered, you can try out some charm tutorials.  Here’s a list of a bunch you can try for free:  Variety of Charm tutorials.

Dangle Chain Necklace Tutorial

Dangle Chain Necklace TutorialThis necklace is pretty simple and makes quite a statement.

Notice I said “simple” and not “easy.”

This necklace takes a little concentration and I kept losing track of where I was and having to measure all the chains again.  (This is make more sense as you go through the tutorial.)

A note about chain to use:  I used a small brass rolo chain, but you can use any chain you have around.  If you’re using curb chain (chain that’s twisted so that it lays flatly), you have to watch that you’re not twisting the chain as you go along.

You can use any metal you like as well!

I just used chain that I happened to have a lot of around.

Dangle Chain Necklace TutorialTools and Materials:

  • Chain (see note above).  I used around 70 inches total.
  • Lobster clasp
  • 7mm jump ring
  • A bunch of 3mm or 4mm jump rings
  • Wire cutters
  • Chain nose pliers
  • A second pair of pliers such as bent nose pliers

Step #1

Dangle Chain Necklace TutorialMeasure around your neck and cut the chain to the length you would like.  I cut mine so it was just slightly looser than a choker, so relatively close around my neck.  It would work a little longer, too.

Step #2

Dangle Chain Necklace TutorialAdd the lobster clasp to one side and a 7mm jump ring on the other side to hook your lobster clasp on when you put on your necklace.

If you need some help opening and closing jump rings properly, you can watch this video I made:

Step #3

How to Make a Dangle Chain NecklaceNow we’re to the part that is a little bit tricky just because you have to keep track of a bunch of little chains and what you’ve cut so far!

I started by cutting my middle chain and worked my way out.

My middle chain is 3″ long, and it’s the longest.

How to Make a Dangle Chain NecklaceThen I used a piece of wire to hold my chains while I was cutting them.  The chains on either side of the middle chain are the same length as each other, but just a little bit shorter than the middle chain.

How to Make a Dangle Chain NecklaceThen I just continued outward adding chains to each side slightly shorter each time until I liked the fullness.

I used a total of 19 chains dangling from the original chain.

How to Make a Dangle Chain NecklaceThe wire trick I gave above is helpful when measuring the chains because you can hang them and more easily see how long the chains are and match them up.  However, I accidentally dropped most of the chains off it along the way and my chains weren’t significantly different in size and my eyes started going buggy.

So I remeasured them all and laid them out so I could see them better and not have the risk of messing them up again!

You may need to come up with your own organizational system for this.  🙂

Step #4

How to Make a Dangle Chain NecklaceOpen up all the jump rings you’ll need to add the chain dangles to the main chain.  Since I had 19 dangles, I needed 19 chains.  I used 3mm jump rings.  (Or 4mm are fine, too and you’ll find them more readily.)

Step #5

How to Make a Dangle Chain NecklaceFind the middle of your main chain, the one you already placed the lobster clasp on.

Step #6

How to Make a Dangle Chain NecklaceHow to Make a Dangle Chain Necklace

Add the longest chain dangle using a jump ring.

Then continue outward adding chain dangles.  I placed a chain dangle on each link right next to each other.  You may prefer to space them out with a blank link in between each.

How to Make a Dangle Chain Necklace

How to Make a Dangle Chain Necklace

Like I said, very simple.  And really stunning to wear!

How to Make a Dangle Chain Necklace

This necklace goes with so much!  I just finished this necklace and wore it to the store with a simple tank top and skirt and it really added a lot of style to my simple outfit!

Customize it:

  • Add bead dangles to the ends or bead links in the middle of the chains to add some color.
  • Use even more chains….or less.
  • Mix up metals for a really great look.

This is a great project for even beginners once you have that opening jump rings skill down!  My Wire Wrapping for Beginners eBook is great for folks who are new to jewelry making or just new to working with wire.  I teach techniques in it while you are making jewelry projects.  It’s in the same easy to follow format.

Learn more here (I’ve recently updated it!) and purchase for instant download and get started right away making unique, sturdy, long lasting jewelry.

ECT TV Episode 18: How to Make a Button Charm Bracelet

ECT TV Episode 18How to make a bracelet with buttons ECT TV Episode 18! 

ECT TV stands for Emerging Creatively Tutorials Television.  I share a new episode mostly weekly.  You can catch up on back episodes by clicking the ECT TV tab above or clicking here.

This week’s episode includes:

  • A creativity booster (something to help you find, rediscover or pump up your creativity);
  • How to open and close jump rings properly; and
  • A fun tutorial:  How to Make a Button Charm Bracelet.

The tutorial in this week’s episode looks so impressive, but it really only takes one technique that you likely already know how to do:  opening and closing jump rings.  And even if you don’t know how to do that, I’ll show you in the video!

Flea Market ShoppingCreativity Booster

A creativity booster is a term I came up with for my eCourse Rediscover Your Creativity Through Making Jewelry.  Basically, it’s something that gets your creativity flowing.  In the eCourse there is a creativity booster each week followed by jewelry lessons and jewelry project.

This time of year I like going to flea markets.  There are a bunch nearby where I live.  My favorite is Shupps Grove.  What I love most about Shupps is that it’s in the woods.  You are surrounding by trees while digging through vintage and antique stuff.  (Plus Shupps doesn’t all those cell phone accessory, fake Nike sneaker vendors that other flea markets tend to have.)

I found some great buttons while I’m there.  (I know, I’m trying to cut down my collection, but….)

Why a flea market can boost your creativity:

Going anywhere you don’t normally go can boost your creativity.  You see new things and talk to new people.

In the case of a flea market, you’re going in looking for supplies, which will boost your creativity just thinking about the possibilities.  And you don’t need to know why you are purchasing a particular thing when you buy it.  I often am asked why I’m buying something and I don’t know.  I’ll make jewelry with it, but I don’t have the design yet.

Things you can look for include:  buttons (of course!), old jewelry to take apart and make into something new, anything small that catches your eye that you could potentially make into jewelry:  keys, hardware, tiny bottles, etc.

You can also look at the vintage and antique jewelry there to get inspiration.  You may find some beautiful jewelry pieces to look at that you wouldn’t purchase to take apart, but you admire their beauty.

Don’t have a flea market nearby?

If you don’t have a flea market nearby, you can do the same thing at a thrift store.  Or I’m sure there are yard/garage/tag sales near you throughout the summer.  Check those out to see what you can find!

How to Make a Button Charm BraceletHopefully you found some buttons at the flea market or have some on hand.  (You can check out my buttons I’m destashing here)

Like I said, this is an easy bracelet to make.  You just need to know how to open and close jump rings.

Materials and Tools:

  • Buttons of your choice *
  • Jump rings that fit around your buttons
  • Chain
  • Clasp
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Another pair of pliers.  I prefer to use chain nose and bent nose to open jump rings, but you can really use any other pliers you have and feel comfortable with.  (Just not round nose pliers)

*The buttons you use you will probably want to be small or medium sized.  The large buttons are great, but probably not for this particular bracelet with the technique I’m showing you here.

The jump rings I used were 9mm and fit nicely around the sort of medium sized and small buttons I used.  You can use larger jump rings for larger buttons and smaller jump rings for smaller buttons.

How to Open and Close Jump Rings:

How to open a jump ringThe only technique you need to know to make this bracelet is opening and closing jump rings.  I show you in the video how to do this, too.

You’ll need 2 pairs of pliers.  I use chain nose and bent nose pliers.

How to open a jump ringThe jump ring has an opening.  Center that opening in between the 2 pairs of pliers.

You want to go forward with one wrist and back toward you with the other.  The circle will be maintained.  Do not pull the circle apart by pulling to the sides.  (The jump ring would look like a U and it’s difficult to get it back to the circle shape again.)

How to open a jump ringThe jump ring will be open, but still have it’s circular shape.

To close a jump ring:

To the exact same thing, but in reverse.  I like to go slightly past the point of closing a few times and then click the jump ring closed.  You may actually hear or feel the jump ring click closed.

Now on to the tutorial:

Step #1

How to Make a Button Charm BraceletCut your chain to the length you would like.

I like my bracelets slightly loose.  So typically I measure the chain tightly around my wrist and then when I add the clasp the length is just how I like it.

If you like your bracelets to fit a little more snug or you’d like more control over the exact size then measure around your wrist the exact size you would like.  (Use a tape measure or use a piece of string and then measure it with a ruler.  Or you could simply measure a bracelet that fits the way you like.)

Measure your clasp.  If you’re using a toggle clasp just measure the round part.  If you’re using a lobster clasp make sure to take into consideration the jump ring(s) you’ll use on the other end to close it.

Subtract the clasp length from the total length you’d like your bracelet to be and that’s how long your chain should be.

Note:  If you make a bracelet like mine with lots of buttons that are layered, that could affect the size a little and you may want to add just a little length.  You can always shorten it later.

Step #2

At this point you can layout your design.  Pick out your buttons and place them in the order that you want to place them on your bracelet.

Alternatively (and this is what I did) you can just design as you go.

You will want to think about if you would like a chunky bracelet like I made where the buttons are kind of layered or if you want a more elegant dainty bracelet.  For a full bracelet like mine, you’ll put a button on every single link of the chain.  For a less full bracelet put charms on every other link or even every third link.

Step #3

How to Make a Button Charm BraceletHow to Make a Button Charm BraceletHow to Make a Button Charm BraceletOpen a jump ring, place a button on the jump ring, place the chain in the jump ring and then close the jump ring.

Repeat until all the buttons are on the chain.

How to Make a Button Charm BraceletHow to Make a Button Charm BraceletHow to Make a Button Charm BraceletStep #4

How to Make a Button Charm BraceletOpen 2 more jump rings and add your clasp to the very end of the chain.  (If you’re using a lobster clasp, add it to one end and add a couple jump rings to the other end)

You can use 4mm jump rings to attach your clasp to the end of your bracelet.

How to make a bracelet with buttonsIt’s as simple as that!  Now you can make them in every color you want!

I really hope you enjoyed this episode of ECT TV.  I send PDF versions of each episode to my newsletter subscribers (so you can download and save or print them).  To get future episodes, sign up for my newsletter.

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Want to find, rediscover or boost your creativity?  Check out my eCourse Rediscover Your Creativity Through Making Jewelry.  Join in on a multidisciplinary creativity exploration where you will feel creative, express yourself, be inspired, make art and learn how to make jewelry.

Start anytime and dip in and out with lifetime access.

Learn more here:  Rediscover Your Creativity Through Making Jewelry

Rediscover Your Creativity Through Making Jewelry

3 Common Mistakes in Jewelry Making and How to Fix Them (Make your Jewelry More Professional)

3 Common Jewelry Making MistakesWhen I first started making jewelry, I definitely didn’t know what I was doing.  My wire wrapped loops were all over the place, I didn’t even know that that wire cutters made 2 different cuts and I couldn’t get the hang of jump rings.

The day I figured out jump rings was almost life changing for me.  If you don’t know, your mind’s about to be blown.  If you do know, you probably know what I’m talking about.

Here are 3 Common Mistakes in Jewelry Making and How to Fix Them:

How to make wire wrapped loops uniform

Mistake #1:  Your wire wrapped loops are not uniform.

The solution:  Mark your round nose pliers.

Wire Wrapped Loop TrickThis solution is so simple and easy.  Use a permanent market to mark where you usually make loops.  I have 2:  1 for wire wrapped loops and 1 for starting spirals.

Now, these do eventually wear off, so you do have to keep marking them.  I’ve also heard of people using tape.

Or you can get this 6-Step Multi Size Wire Looping Jewelry Pliers and save the step!

Mistake #2:  You are cutting your wire incorrectly – or you don’t know that you’re cutting it right!

Solution:  Learn how to use your wire cutters.

How to use wire cuttersWire cutters have 2 sides:  the front (above) and the back (below)

How to use wire cuttersWhen you cut from the front, you end up with a pinch cut.

IMG_2045The cut is sort of pinched.  What you (in almost every case) want is a flush cut, which you get when you use the back of the pliers toward the wire.

How to use wire cuttersThis is make a nice straight, flush cut.

How to open a jump ringMistake #3:  You open jump rings by pulling them apart and then you can never quite get them back together.

Solution:  Do not pull the jump ring apart, instead follow instructions below.

How to open a jump ringOpening a jump ring may be different than you think.  Line up 2 pairs of pliers so that the opening of the jump ring is in the middle.

(I usually use a pair of bent nose pliers and a pair of chain nose pliers.  Use whatever pliers you feel comfortable with.)

Maintaining the integrity of the circle, pull one pair the the pliers toward you and the other away from you.  Do not pull the circle apart and do not pull to the sides.

How to open a jump ringThis is what you end up with.

To close a jump ring, just do the same, but the opposite.

I also made a video tutorial about how to properly open and close jump rings:


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Now that you know what mistakes to avoid, maybe you want to try out my projects book, Wire Wrapping for Beginners.  24 projects to teach you how to wire wrap!

wire wrapping for beginnersClick here to learn more and to purchase for instant download.