How to Make a Wire and Gemstone Wishbone Ring. Free Wire Work Tutorial
How to make a simple wire wrapped ring
This tutorial will give you step by step instructions on how to make a simple yet eye-catching ring using just two pieces of wire, a gemstone bead and some basic tools. This unusual design is always popular on my jewellery stall, and can be adapted in so many ways to make it unique to you.
You can change the look of this ring by simply using a different colour wire, or by choosing a gorgeous bead - you are not limited to using rounds - cubes or large nuggets will work just as well. I have a large center drilled nugget of pyrite (fools gold) which would look amazing in this ring.
Don't forget you can always use sterling silver wire if you prefer, while sterling silver wire is more expensive, it is a good option for those who have sensitive skin, it also adds an extra special touch if you are making the ring as a gift.
I have used antique bronze colour wire & a 10mm round Amazonite gemstone
This is a free tutorial, and you are welcome to sell any items you make following this tutorial. Please do not copy this tutorial without giving credit to www.facebook.com/jewellerybypixie
- Approx 13" of 1mm (18 gauge) wire
- Approx 30cm of 0.25 or 0.4mm (26 gauge) wire
- 1 gemstone bead - center drilled
- Wire snips
- Flat nose pliers
- Round nose pliers
- Ring mandrel (or something round like a marker pen)
Popular Wire Gauge Conversion Table
1. First cut a 13" length of 1mm gauge wire and work harden it by running it through your thumb and fingers a few times, this also straightens out the curve it will have from being kept on a reel.
2. Holding your mandrel in your left hand, and with the index finger hold the middle of the wire behind the mandrel at the size you require. Cross the ends over the front of the mandrel, so it looks like this. The ends should approximately be the same length. (please bear in mind I am right handed - if you are left handed you will probably have to reverse what I am doing in the pictures)
3. Keep your work in place by placing your left thumb over the wire that you have already wrapped around the mandrel. Then with your right hand, take the top end of the wire all the way around the mandrel again, so it ends pointing left and keeps snug to the original wrap.
4. Carefully slip the wire off the top of the mandrel so that the ring holds it shape, flip the ring so the top is now the bottom and slip it back onto the mandrel. Repeat step 3 so you now have 3 lines of wire at the back of the mandrel and the ends crossing over each other at the front.
5. Holding the sides of the ring with the thumb and index finger of the left hand, use your right hand to bring the top end to point down, and the bottom end to point up. It should look like this.
6. Continue to move the wire ends in a clockwise direction so that the bottom now points up, and the top points down, this creates a twist at the base and holds the ring in position. You could take the ring off the mandrel now and it will hold its shape and size. However please keep the ring on the mandrel for just a moment longer.
7. Rotate the bottom end clockwise so it points almost up, and rotate the top end down just a little so you end up with something that looks a bit like five past ten on the clock face, or a splayed wishbone.
8. Now you can take the ring off the mandrel, and hold it in your left hand (with the ends pointing to the right) along with one end of the 0.25mm gauge wire (approx 30cm in length) at the base/twist.
9. With your right hand, take the long end of the thinner wire and wrap it clockwise around the ring base/twist like this
10. Turn the ring so the ends point up (still in the five past ten position) and bring the long end of the thin wire so that it comes out under the twist and wrap it tightly 3 to 4 times at the base of the right end. You should be taking the thin wire from under the twist and taking it up and over the right hand end. It should look like the beginning of a spring coiling up the right hand end. After 3 or 4 coiling wraps, take the thin wire under the left hand end and coil 2 times. (coiling over the left hand end into the center, and under the left hand end).
11. Take the thin wire over the left hand end into the center, under the right hand end and coil twice, then into the center, under the left hand end and coil twice... repeat until you end up with a weave that looks like this.
12. Now thread your bead onto the right hand end, if it has an interesting pattern/feature make sure that faces up.
13. Trim the right hand end with approximately 1cm excess.
14. Now you need your round nose pliers, hold the end of the wire near the thinner end of the round nose pliers and carefully roll the pliers away from you so that the wire forms a simple curl
15. Remove the round nose pliers and you will have a curl like this.
16. Using either your flat nose pliers or your thumb, bend the curl so that it lies against the bead.
17. Using the round nose pliers curl down the left hand end like this.
18. Using the flat nose pliers gently pinch and twist into an open coil. The trick here is to hold the coil in the pliers with your right hand and gently manipulate the remaining wire to be coiled with your left hand. Do this a bit at a time, loosening the pliers and turning them slightly as you repeat and work your way down the length of the wire. There are many videos available online to show you how to do this if you this technique is completely new to you.
19. The coil will naturally roll down and sit behind the bead like this. At this point you will want to anchor the ends of your thin wire, by wrapping the bottom end around the main twist a few times before trimming with the snips, and tucking the end in with your flat nose wires. The top end can wrap around the right hand end, snugly below the bead, snip and tuck. Before you finish run your fingers over the wire just to make sure you have no loose ends pointing out that can scratch, snip or tuck as appropriate.
Ideas for adapting this tutorial to create different looks
For this ring I used a Rose Quartz multifaceted nugget bead, with silver wire. Instead if tucking the last large coil (step - ) behind the bead, I have positioned it in-front of the bead, at a slightly tilted angle, sloping up the front of the bead.
Here I have used 1mm copper wire, and 0.4mm gold wire. The gemstone is an oval green Aventurine.
In step 13, instead of trimming down to just 1cm, I have trimmed the wire to a longer length of approx 2.5cm - 3cm. This made a larger coil, which I didn't bend forward onto the bead (like in step 16), instead I left it prominent above the bead.
Like with the Rose Quartz example above, I didn't tuck the final coil behind the bead, bead positioned it in-front.
For this example I used a large, multi-faceted round bead, fuchsia pink 1mm wire and silver 0.4mm wire.
With the final coil (step 17) I have curled the wire in the opposite direction, so that the final coil faces out rather than in.
Note how the ring can be worn with the bead pointing up or down.
Jewelry Making Tools - Everything you need to get started
A great basic kit at a great price. Everything you need to get started.
Although not essential (you can use a marker pen to create your basic ring shape) a mandrel does allow you to create different sizes, which is useful if you intend to sell your finished designs. This one comes at a fantastic price.
Wire comes in different gauges and colours, you can even buy artisan wire that comes pre-twisted and saves a lot of effort on certain projects. Here is the kind of wire I have used for this project. Don't forget that thicker wire provides structure and strength while thinner wire is great for detail and joining everything together.
For the weaving I recommend using this gauge or thinner, any thicker than this will be too bulky to weave in such a small area, plus the longer you use a piece of wire the harder it becomes to manipulate, as it becomes work hardened as you bend it - the thicker the wire the quicker this happens
I recommend using wire no thinner than this for the main part of the ring. This will provide structure and strength
Beads and Gemstones
For this particular project I have used a semi-precious gemstone bead, but you can also use glass, acrylic or even wood beads. The choice is entirely yours. If you do not want to pay out for a whole string of beads you can buy them individually at an art and crafts store or your local bead shop.
I have used amazonite which has lovely earthy colours, great for Autumn.
If this is your first time working with wire and it doesn't go according to plan: Don't Give Up... Wire can be difficult to work with at first, but with practice you can soon be making lovely rings, cuff bangles, earrings and more.
Wire can be tough on the hands, have a good hand cream on stand by and apply liberally when you are finished. Or if you find your cuticles are becoming dry from working with wire you can always rub them in with a chap stick or lip balm before bed, this really softens the skin while you sleep!
Don't be too precious about your wire... allow for mistakes at first, so don't invest in high quality sterling silver wire until you are confident with your ability.