I am often asked about inspiration for jewelry design. My personal inspiration comes from many different places. Yours may come from other places. I started this weekly Jewelry Design Inspiration feature to give you ideas for your own inspiration.
This week’s jewelry design inspiration: Rings.
Sometimes you just want to make a certain type of jewelry and the inspiration is simply “I want to make a ring.”
In that case it’s often a matter of playing with materials and seeing what happens. Sometimes you’ll have a general technique or idea in mind and go from there. You might purchase a tutorial you like and then get inspired to make something truly your own using the general from that jewelry designer.
If that’s the case, here are some ring tutorials you might want to check out:
Get ring inspiration every day for 30 days with Rings Every Day Month! There are two versions: Free and Premium. With the premium version you get a new tutorial every single day for a month starting April 1st (the rings you see above!)
I made a little video about the tools and materials you’ll need to make wire wrapped rings. Rings Every Day Month is coming up starting on April 1st (learn more here), so this is a helpful introduction.
Even if you’re not participating in Rings Every Day Month (or you found this post after the fact) this is really helpful information if you want to make wire wrapped rings.
Tools & Materials Needed to Make Wire Wrapped Rings:
As a recap, you’ll need:
Chain or flat nose pliers
Round nose pliers (for some rings, but not for all)
Wire – mostly 20 gauge half-hard round. Learn more about wire for rings here.
Beads or other materials (if that’s the kind of ring you’re making. Some rings are just all wire!)
Up for a ring challenge? Try Rings Every Day Month! There are two ways to participate. You can sign up for the premium version and get a new wire wrapped ring tutorial every single day for a month beginning April 1st. Or the free version where you’ll get a daily inspirational email, but not a tutorial. (I’ll be sending out a tutorial to the free version once a week.)
I create jewelry making patterns, eBooks, Workshops and eCourses focused on wire and leaning toward clean designs. My instructions help you clearly understand and successfully create jewelry and then use your own creativity to express yourself beyond my instructions. I use clear, close up photos and videos and detailed instructions explaining everything you need to be successful.
2 Headpins (use store bought or make your own – see below)
18 gauge, half-hard round wire
24 gauge, half-hard round wire
Round nose pliers
Chain or flat nose pliers
Bent nose pliers or another pair of pliers
Note: You can use whatever beads you like. You may want just one flower, a flower and a leaf or any other combination. It’s up to you!
The 24 gauge wire is for making the leaf into a dangle. My leaf is side drilled so I couldn’t just use a headpin. If you have a top drilled leaf bead, you won’t need this wire. However, if your flower beads happen to be side drilled, then you may need it to make the flower into a bead dangle in this way.
Step #1 First we’ll make our flower beads into bead dangles with wire wrapped loops.
First slide the flower bead onto a headpin, making sure the larger side is toward the head of the headpin. (If your flower bead is side drilled, use the instructions below for the leaf bead to make it into a bead dangle.)
Step #2 Hold the headpin slightly above the bead in round nose pliers. Bend the wire toward you and around one barrel of the pliers.
Step #3 Remove the loop from the round nose pliers and hold it in between chain nose pliers.
The loop will be off center, so as you wrap the wire around once, use the chain nose pliers to straighten the loop directly on top of the bead.
Step #4 Switch hands, still holding the loop in your chain nose pliers. Wrap the wire a few times around keeping the wraps neat and close to each other.
Step #5 Trim off any excess wire and make sure the end isn’t poking up. Use your chain nose pliers to push it down.
Step #6 Now we’ll make the leaf bead into a bead dangle.
My leaf bead is a side drilled bead, which just means it’s drilled from side to side instead of from top to bottom. Cut off about 5 inches of 24 gauge wire. Center the bead on the wire.
Step #7 Bend the wire so it crosses directly in the middle of the top of the bead. In this case there is a little point, so it’s really easy to find the middle.
Step #8 Twist the wire one time. 24 gauge wire is really easy to manipulate, so I just twisted using my fingers, but if you find it difficult or are using a larger gauge wire use chain nose pliers to twist the wire.
Step #9 Hold one of the wires in round nose pliers. (The next steps are very similar to the steps above when we made a bead dangle.)
Step #10 Wrap the wire toward you and around one barrel of your round nose pliers.
Step #11 Follow step #3 above to straighten the loop.
Step #12 Hold the loop in chain nose pliers and continue making a few wraps with that wire. Then wrap the other wire a few times.
Step #13 Trim off the excess wire and make sure the ends are not poking out.
Step #14 Now we’ll make the ring band. You can work right off the coil (don’t cut off any wire) and wrap the wire around your ring mandrel about a half size larger than the size you’re trying to ultimately make.
Step #15 Cut the wire. You should leave a 1/4 of an inch on each side of where the wires would cross.
Or it may be easier to think about it this way: leave about 1/2 an inch where the wire is side by side.
Step #16 We’ll make a loop on each end of the wire perpendicular to each other. These loops need to be a little bit bigger than I typically show you loops. You’ll want to use the middle of your round nose pliers. (It’s helpful to make a mark so that both loops are the same size.)
Hold the end of the wire in round nose pliers. The wire should be at the top of the pliers, but not poking through. You should be able to run your finger over the top.
Twist your wrist away from you while wrapping the wire around one barrel of the pliers.
Twist as far as your wrist will go and then readjust and do the same thing to complete the loop.
Step #17 The loop will be off to the side, so place your round nose pliers back in the loop and bend back so it’s centered.
Step #18 Repeat for the loop on the other end, but make that loop perpendicular to the other loop as seen in the second photo.
Step #19 Open up the loop that’s going up and down like you would open a jump ring. Don’t pull it out sideways, but just open it while the circle stays intact.
Add the 2 flowers and leaf (I added them flower, leaf, flower) and then put the other loop in and close the loop.
Step #20 Put the ring back on the ring mandrel and push it down as far as you can so that it is a perfect circle in case it got a little wonky when you were adding the bead dangles.
I didn’t mention this in the video, but you can hammer the wire to harden it. Use a rawhide or nylon hammer and gently hammer it. I would avoid the part with the dangles and just hold that part off the steel bench block.
Do you love making rings?
Do you want to learn how to make 30 of them in one month?!
Join in with my Rings Every Day Month starting April 1st! You get a new tutorial every single day for 30 days! (Paid version)
Or you can join in with the free version and get daily inspiration (without all the tutorials) and a weekly tutorial.
In this episode of ECT TV, learn how to make an adjustable heart ring. It’s very cute and relatively quick to make.
Here’s the video tutorial:
If you learn better via photos, here’s the photo tutorial for the Adjustable Wire Heart Ring:
Tools and Materials:
18 gauge half-hard round wire
Ring mandrel or other cylindrical object to form your ring around
Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
We’ll work right off the spool (so don’t cut a length of wire off.) Make a flush cut on the end of the wire.
Hold the wire about four inches from the end in round nose pliers.
Make the first curve of the heart by wrapping the wire around round nose pliers at the largest part of the pliers (nearest the handle.)
Close to the top of the curve, use your round nose pliers to bend up the wire.
Use round nose pliers to make the second curve in the heart.
Use chain nose pliers to pinch together the middle.
Cross the wires and form a heart shape.
Hold the heart in chain nose pliers.
Wrap the short wire around the longer wire under the heart shape a few times.
Cut off the excess wire. Try to do the cut on the top of the wire. Make sure the end is not poking out.
If your wraps weren’t close together, you can pull them together with chain nose pliers.
Wrap around your ring mandrel about 1 to 2 sizes smaller than the size of your finger. I have found with adjustable rings it’s always better to go a little small and then you can adjust it larger. If you start too big, it will always be too big.
Now cut the wire, leaving a few inches of extra wire if you are making a spiral. (You could instead just make a loop.
Now make a spiral pointing out away from the heart. Hold the wire in round nose pliers. Hold the wire in the pliers so it’s at the top of the pliers, but you should be able to run your finger over the pliers and not feel it poking through.
Twist your wrist away from you while wrapping the wire around the pliers. When you’ve twisted your wrist as far as it will go, readjust your wrist and the pliers and complete the loop.
Hold the loop in chain nose pliers and start to make a spiral. Push the wire up.
Then readjust the wire so it is out to the side again. Continue making the spiral until it’s next to the heart.
If you need to place the ring back onto your ring mandrel to make sure the ring still is in a ring shape.
(You can lightly hammer the ring with a rawhide or nylon hammer to help it keep its shape, but I have found with the 18 gauge wire it does hold its shape well.)
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(If you were part of my Everything Retirement Sale, this was included, so don’t purchase it again!)
As you probably noticed recently, I LOVE making rings (although picking a favorite piece of jewelry to make is sort of like picking a favorite kid.)
And I love giving jewelry as gifts. But it is pretty difficult to give someone a ring as a gift without tipping them off. I mean, asking someone their ring size pretty much tells them they’re getting a ring, right?
But this ring is adjustable! You don’t even really noticed with the finished product, but it’s completely adjustable! So it makes a wonderful gift. Plus, you’re going to want to make some of these for yourself, too.
So make a $5.00 investment in this tutorial, get it instantly and then start working on gifts for all your girlfriends. They’re going to love them!