How To Make Jewelry: Make A Handmade Wire Wrapped Coil Ring
Make Your Own Jewelry
Jewelry making has become my favorite hobby. It's creative and relaxing, and I'm never at a loss for gifts when it comes to friends' birthdays or holidays. The other great thing about making your own jewelry is that you get to make pieces that look exactly as you want them to and you save a ton of money! Once you get skilled enough, you can design pieces that would fit right in at a stylish boutique, but don't cost an arm and a leg. Plus, you have that feeling of accomplishment you get from having made something yourself.
This jewelry tutorial will show you how to make a simple wire wrapped coil ring. I've sold many of these and they are very popular. The coil design itself is extremely basic, but once you master making this type of ring, you can create ones with funky designs, add beads and crystals and let your imagination run wild! The idea is to take a basic technique and then put YOUR spin on it. As always, kids should be supervised when making this so they don't hurt themselves on the tools -- and young children should definitely stay away from this project.
For coil rings, I like to use 18 gauge round wire. This gauge of wire is sturdy enough to keep its shape, but is still easy to work with. I've found that 20 gauge wire (which is less thick) is too thin to work into this type of ring and 16 gauge (which is thicker) is too tough. I also like using round wire because it doesn't dig into your skin as square wire sometimes does. That said, I recommend using 18 gauge copper (or silver plated copper) artistic wire, which you can buy for only a few dollars. Trust me, you're going to go through a lot of wire while practicing this technique so stick with a less expensive kind.
Once you learn how to make a wire wrapped coil ring, feel free to be creative. You can use different color wires and make fun shapes. Best of all, you'll have some eye-catching homemade jewelry to show off!
How to make a wire wrapped coil ring
Here are the materials that you'll need for this wire wrapped jewelry pattern. You can find most of them on sites like Amazon or Fire Mountain Gems, or at craft stores like Michael's. Don't buy the most expensive materials at first; stick with the basics until you become more skilled at the craft.
1. Round nose pliers. These have a rounded end and are used for making curves, curls and loops. So if you want to incorporate a spiral or sqiggle into your design, these will be very helpful for that.
2. Flat nose pliers: These have a flat end and are used to make angles (on shapes like triangles and squares) or to crimp and flatten wire. They're great for closing the ends of loops in a cold connection (non soldered) process when making jewelry and are also useful for tightening wire in wire wraps.
3. Wire cutters: These do exactly as they say -- they cut the wire! I suggest cutting in a quick motion so you get a nice, smooth end. If the wire end is jagged and sharp, file it down.
4. Artistic wire: As I said above, I suggest using 18 gauge copper artistic wire for this project. I tend to favor copper or silver plated copper, but artistic wire comes in every color imaginable. So if you want to make a pink or purple ring, go for it! You can find some inexpensive brands online.
5. Ring mandrel: This is absolutely necessary for this particular project, and for making rings in general. A ring mandrel is a cone-shaped pole with measurements on it; it's basically a ruler for rings. You can wrap wire or sheet metal around the mandrel and it a) helps you get an exact size and b) helps you make a perfectly-rounded ring. Again, you can find inexpensive ones online and in craft stores.
6. Ring sizer (optional): If you don't know your ring size and aren't able to check in with a jeweler so that you can get it, you can get a set of ring sizers. These are plastic ormetal rings that you slip your finger into and you can then see just what size you need. You can also simply wrap some wire around your finger and then slip it over the mandrel to determine your size.
How to make a wire wrapped coil ring
Jewelry tutorial: Instructions
Here are my step-by-step instructions for making a wire wrapped coil ring. For the ring pictured in this jewelry tutorial, I made a squiggle design, but by no means do you have to follow that. You can make squares, spirals, zig zags... whatever your heart desires. I've linked to my other jewelry making hubs, where I show you how to make some other types of wire jewelry patterns, so feel free to borrow some of those ideas for this.
1. Using your wire cutters, cut about a foot of wire. Yes, it sounds like a lot for one little ring, but remember, you're going to need the wire for the design and for the coils. Trust me, you can go through a foot of wire pretty quickly when making a piece! Anyway, once you cut it, straighten it out by gently running your fingers along it. Try not to bend or scratch the wire.
2. Using your round nose and/or chain nose pliers, make a design, starting at one end of the wire. So don't make it in the middle; it'll mess up the ring. Don't make the design too wide or too long; I suggest keeping it under an inch in length. Otherwise it'll compromise the ring's structure and integrity; you also don't want to wear something that's way too big for your finger.
3. Once you've made your design, it's time to actually make the ring. Take your ring mandrel and very gently, begin wrapping the wire around and around to form coils. Many ring tutorials will advise you to start from a size up when making a ring; however, I've found that for making coil rings, it's better to wrap the ring a size-and-a-half LOWER than your desired size. So if you want to make a size 6 ring, wrap it at 4 1/2; a size 8 ring, wrap it at 6 1/2, etc. It may take some practice and trial and error to get an exact ring size, but this method works for me.
4. Wrap the wire four or five times around until you have a nice set of coils. Keep the coils as as close together and as even as possible -- and make sure that they don't overlap. When your ring has enough width, move it down the mandrel to your DESIRED size. The ring should fit comfortable and not be too tight or too loose. If it's a little of either, you can pull the wire in or out to tighten or loosen it, but don't do it too much or the ring will look sunken and uneven.
5. Once your coils are done, you're going to have some leftover wire. You can snip off the excess (see my classic infinity ring in the photo gallery) or use that extra wire to make a design on the lower portion of the ring. I chose to make a mirror image of my squiggle design, but you can make something entirely different. As you can see from my gallery, I'll often make two different designs on either side of the ring.
6. When you've completed your ring, slip it back on the mandrel to once again make sure that it's the proper size and to make it perfectly round. Once you get more skilled at making these, you can wire wrap the ring with beads or crystals.
7. Now your ring should be ready to wear! These funky rings are, of course, perfect for your ring finger, but they also look really nice on other fingers.
Wire wrapped coil ring designs
Useful jewelry making links
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- Wire Sculpture Jewelry Supplies
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