Easy Wire Wrapped Ring Tutorial
Step-by-Step Instructions for Making a Wire Wrapped Ring
Making a wire wrapped ring is the ideal project for practicing basic wire wrapping techniques, like coiling. Not only are they fun to make and give as gifts, knowing how to make a simple wire ring opens the door to creating some truly unique pieces of jewelry later on.
The hardest part is figuring out how to form a symmetrical, round band! Anyone can learn how to make this ring, including you - even if you don't have any prior wire wrapping experience.
Supplies Needed for a Wire Wrapped Ring
One ~21" piece of 22g wire (you can also use 20g)
One 6-8mm bead
Plastic or metal ring mandrel
Chain nose pliers
You can still make this ring if you don't have a mandrel. Any round object with the appropriate diameter will work. For example, I've used wooden handles, chap stick tubes, and batteries in the past.
You can make this ring with 20-22 gauge wire.
Copper wire looks great paired with green stone beads, like moss agate or adventurine!
I use my metal mandrel for forming the ring.
Plastic mandrels are good to have on hand when you're using silver-plated wire - metal mandrels will scratch the finish.
Step 1: Center the Bead
Pick out a bead that you would like to use. I find that it's easiest for me to work with 6-8mm round ones. However, faceted beads will also work. You can always use a bead that's larger than 8mm for your wire wrapped ring, but anything smaller than 6mm will be too difficult to neatly wrap with 22g wire. For this ring, I've decided to use a 6mm natural garnet bead.
Step 2: Choose a Ring Size
Position the bead on your ring mandrel. When you're making a wire wrapped ring, you want to start wrapping your wire around the mandrel approximately one size larger than you would normally wear. For example, since I wear a size 5, I am going to start my ring at a size 6 to accommodate the coils we're going to make later.
Learn how to make your own wire wrapped jewelry:
Step 3: Start Wrapping the Wire
Begin wrapping your wire around the mandrel while carefully keeping the bead centered. I usually wrap the wire around the mandrel 3-4 time - personally, I think that the band looks the best when it has four wires. In this picture, I'm holding the loose wire ends down so that you can see what I'm doing, which is why it looks like I've wrapped the wire around five times. When this ring is finished, there will only be four wires.
Quick Tip: I usually alternate between a plastic and a metal ring mandrel when I make wire wrapped rings - especially if I'm using silver plated Artistic wire; the metal mandrel will scratch the finish on some of the following steps.
Step 4: Re-position the Wire Underneath the Bead
Gather the wire that you've wrapped around the mandrel as close to the bead as you can. While you're doing this, it's important to work slowly so that the ring doesn't spring out of shape.
Step 5: Wrap the Wire Around the Bead
Right now, you should have one wire end pointing to the left, and the other end pointing to the right. At the same time, start wrapping the wires around the bead in a counter-clockwise motion. Each successive wrap that you make will go underneath the previous one - when you're finished, they will be sitting neatly on top of each other. Depending on the bead size that I'm using, I make 3-4 complete wraps.
It's important to maintain even tension on both wires while you're wrapping the bead; otherwise, the finished product will end up looking sloppy. This part takes a bit of practice. :)
In this picture, the wraps are a bit looser than I would like because I'm trying to hold the mandrel in one hand and take a picture with the other. Your ring should look much neater than mine does at the moment!
Step 6: Anchor the Wire on the Band
Pull your wire ends tight so that they stay in place, and then remove the ring from the mandrel. At this point, one of the wire ends should be pointing up, and the other one should be facing down. If this isn't how your ring looks right now, adjust the wire ends so that they are positioned in this manner.
Working with the wire end that's pointing up, start by bending it down and through the ring band. Do this slowly to prevent putting a kink in the wire. Don't worry if you do get a kink or two - they aren't the end of the world! Just gently straighten the wire out again. However, keep in mind that each time you have to straighten out the wire it weakens a little bit.
Step 7: Finish Coiling the Wire Around the Band
Using your chain nose pliers, pull the wire up and around firmly - the rest you can do with just your fingers. Continue wrapping coils around the four wires that make the ring band until you have completed at least three. I tend to end up with 4-5 because I like the look of more coils.
It's important to keep these coils tight, for both aesthetics and function. Remember: the more you coil the wire around the band, the smaller your finished ring will end up being.
Do not cut off the excess wire yet.
Turn your ring over and do the same thing to the other side. Make sure you use the same number of coils on this side, otherwise your ring will end up looking lopsided!
Step 8: Tidy Up the Ring Band
Place your ring back on your ring mandrel. See how the wires overlap each other? We don't want our ring band to look like this. Instead, the wires should be sitting neatly next to each other so that the band lays flat on our finger. If you're using plated wire, I would recommend switching over to a plastic mandrel so that the finish isn't scratched off. (I couldn't find mine, otherwise I would be using a plastic one right now.)
Pull the ring down on the mandrel as far as it will go - this will end up making the wires sit next to each other instead of overlapping.
Step 9: Finish the Wire Ends
Remove the excess wire with your flush cutters. Make sure you file down the cut ends, or round them with a cup burr, so that there aren't any sharp wires left on your ring. Paying attention to this step will prevent your ring from snagging on clothing later on. Use your chain nose pliers to firmly push down the ends so that they aren't sticking up anymore. Do your best to prevent the wires in the band from bunching up, otherwise you'll have to fix them again.
Step 10: Shape the Band
If you pushed the wire ends down from the previous step too forcefully, then you may need to flatten the band again. I did for this ring - you can see how the wires are sitting on top of each other if you look at the ring from the side.
Place your ring on the mandrel again and pull it down as far as you can. The band should be flat again for the most part. Use your rubber mallet to go over the ring band a few times to finish straightening the wires and to work harden them. You don't have to do this, but it will help ensure your ring retains its shape when you wear it. It's important to use a rubber, plastic or rawhide mallet for this step to prevent flattening, or otherwise marking, the wire.
Try on your new wire wrapped ring!
Hopefully, following this tutorial resulted in a new wire wrapped ring! If you have any questions, or think a step might be missing, feel free to let me know with a comment.
You can find more tutorials and tips like this on my website. If you would like to purchase one of my wire wrapped rings, I sell them in my Etsy shop and at Caterpillar Arts - Nature Inspired Handmade Gifts.