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How To Make Teaspoon Rings
I first saw teaspoon rings displayed at a recycled clothing shop called “Scavengers” in Brunswick. An interesting idea, they tickled my fancy because they looked cool and also appeared tough enough to last for years (very important, if you are a ring-basher!)
I spoke with my father, a prior engineer, and he guided me in making a number of teaspoon rings – from what tools to use, to what metals worked best. This article is a guide to what we learned in our experiments in making teaspoon rings (neither of us had made them before).
There are many different styles of teaspoon rings you can make - from using souvenir spoons (like the ones in this article) to using plain spoons and engraved spoons. Teaspoon rings are also ideal for mens jewelry and are fairly easy and quick to make.
Choosing The Right Metal
It is important to choose a suitably malleable metal to work with as some metals are not easily bent or cut. Here is a list of teaspoon metals to look for or avoid:
Very hard to bend, cut and drill. Avoid stainless steel spoons unless you want a painful afternoon where all your tools get broken!
Very easy to bend, cut and drill.
Fairly easy to bend, cut and drill.
Not as hard as stainless steel to work with, but can be prone to rust. If the steel is chrome plated, you may find that flaking occurs when bending the metal and this will destroy the surface of the ring (as well as being sharp on skin).
PLATED SILVER ON IRON
Can be handled, but tends to rust where it has been trimmed, so not a good idea.
BRASS & SILVER PLATED BRASS
Very easily manipulated and highly recommended for making a teaspoon ring. Although the brass will show through on the cut, if the cut is facing inward, you won’t even notice it.
This is the easiest metal to work with and can be bent with the fingers. The only problem is that it can bend out of shape when worn.
Choosing The Right Shaped Teaspoon
There are lots of great teaspoons to pick from, if you follow the metals guide above. Antiquey-looking spoons with lots of ornamentation look great, as do enamel badged souveneir spoons and spoons with engraved text on the underside.
Spindly spoons make nice rings, however you need to look out for potential weak points in the metal that could cause issues when bending multiple times.
Scour op shops, antique shops and markets for cheap teaspoons that will make great rings.
There are many different ways to make teaspoon rings, but for the styles shown in the photos, my father and I used the following tools:
A stake (cast iron ring mould) or mandrel (ring mould)
Wet & Dry sandpaper
A smooth metal file
A bench vice
A dremel (for cutting)
A standard hammer or engineer’s hammer
A rubber mallet (for avoiding marks when hammering imprintable metals)
A block of wood
Making The Teaspoon Ring
The process we followed to make a teaspoon ring is as follows:
1. Hammer the spoon part flat. Use a block of wood on top to avoid marking it during hammering.
2. Cut the spoon part off from the stem using a dremel (unless you plan to use it in the ring).
3. File the cut end with the smooth file, taking care to file each side the same amount of times and rounding the corners. Use long, smooth strokes and reduce vibration by holding the metal as close to the file as possible, as well as balancing the end on the edge of a block of wood. Bevel the edges if desired. Finish the filing by rubbing Wet & Dry over the end to smooth.
4. Once the end is ready, position it just off centre at the small end of the stake (or you can use a mandrel with a vice) and hammer it to form a curved hook, like a “C”. You may need lockable pliers to hold the end in place, especially if using a vice.
5. Position the hook on the stake/mandrel just off centre and move the stem to a wider thickness. While hammering, turn the stem around slowly until you have a ring shape. Try on the ring and determine the fit (which can be marked on the stake/mandrel for future reference). If using a mandrel in a vice, you will need to keep clamping and unclamping it to turn the ring.
6. To adjust the ring size once the ring shape is formed, use lockable pliers or pliers to bend and hammer the ring to the right shape. Note: be careful of weak spots in spindly areas or they will snap with too much handling.
Do not bend any enamel badges or they will fall off. The designs we came up with allowed the enamel badges to stay flat and I recommend keeping them intact by allowing the ring to cross over an extra finger (see "back of teaspoon ring" photo to the right).
Also note that the less the metal is bent, the stronger it will be. Avoid excessive bending, otherwise undesirable work hardening occurs as the crystal structure in the metal changes.
Note that the “C” hook may dig into your finger a bit - if this is the case, use the “C” hook to shape the ring initially, then use pliers and lockable pliers to make the hook less curved.
Thanks For Reading!
I hope you enjoyed finding out more about making teaspoon rings. My father and I are quite proud of the results and plan to make many more.
We have already had a go at the plain teaspoon rings (without enamel designs on them) and followed the same process, only using teaspoons with fancy handles to make them a bit more exciting.
Teaspoon rings are a great addition to any eclectic jewellery enthusiast’s collection and certainly attract compliments (especially the enamel-badged souvenir ones over two fingers).They are also easy to make (as long as you have the tools) and would be ideal for selling at markets and so on.
I have also seen steampunk, punk, gothic and Americana teaspoon ring designs for men, which are very sought-after, embodying classic cool with handmade upcycling.
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© 2013 Suzanne Day