Introduction: How to Make Jump Rings

Picture of How to Make Jump Rings

Today, I would like to bring you to a basic technique: How to make jump rings! Tought it's easy to buy perfect pre-made jumps rings, sometimes I might like to make my own jump rings using diffferent types of materials such as brass, copper, steel, and colored wires. In this case, I do not need to stock up a lot of ready made jump rings of the different materials. Here are some tips how to make them...

Step 1:

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Take a mandrel that is measuring about 0.8cm in diameter. In this case, I am using the pliers’ holder as shown in the picture.

Step 2:

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Cut approximately 20cm of 18 gauge wires and attached it onto the mandrel and bend one end upward.

Step 3:

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Rotate your wrapping hand towards your body to wrap the wires around the mandrel. Repeat to make the subsequent circles until you reach the end of the wires. You may leave approximately 1.5cm of wires unwrapped.

Step 4:

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Remove the coils from the mandrel.

Step 5:

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Use your wire cutter to trim the end of the coil. Notice I use the flat side of the pliers to cut the wire to ensure the end is flat.

Step 6:

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Loosen out the space between the coils by pulling them outward.

Step 7:

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Now place your wire cutter at the 2nd layer of the coils which is slightly towards the right side from the end of the 1st layer. This is to allow some rooms for trimming and to ensure sufficient wires to form the whole ring. Once position is identified, cut it out from the coil.

Step 8:

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This is how the jump ring looks like after you cut it out.

Step 9:

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You can continue to cut the second ring using the same method. Once you cut out the second ring, you will notice that one of the sides comes with sharp edge.

Step 10:

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Use your flat side of the wire cutter to cut off the wires slightly from the edges.

Step 11:

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Use flat or round nose pliers to close the gap by moving 2 sides of the ring to centre of the ring.

Step 12:

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You are done with the jump ring.. Continue to cut the same way... Happy cutting jump rings!  You can visit DIY to download free jewelry making tutorials


susanrm (author)2011-11-19

This is part of it, but you lose part of the wire by cutting sharp edges this way. It can be helpful to use a jump ring tool. You can also see a video of how to do it with a Dremel on my video, . Try also tumbling afterward to remove sharp edges, rather than cutting twice.

acoleman3 (author)susanrm2011-11-24

actually, if you get a regular pair of mini bolt, you wont need a complicated set up for an electrical device and negates the need *for* an electrical device and three, there is no tumbling to remover any burrs that a cutting disk would produce.

the pinch cuts with mini bolt cutters leaves no sharp edges, especially if you get a pair of knipex brand. the only difference is a slight v notch in the outside and inside of the link, but that's only aesthetics and has no obvious affect on its function.

susanrm (author)acoleman32011-11-24

If you're trying to do hundreds of professional-quality jump rings, that is not a practical solution, and I question its durability. For a small hobbyist, it may work, though I'd have to see the results to judge them.

Tumbling also work-hardens the rings and shines them up, making them more attractive and durable.

acoleman3 (author)susanrm2011-11-24

ok....i agree with the high turn out. power cutting *is* much faster then by hand. durability? are you serious? look....the durability comes from the strength of the metal, how much its been work hardened at the factory and how much hardness it gains from coiling.....not how its cut.

the links gain no work hardness from tumbling because there is no physical deformation of the metal. the stress placed on the grain structure and the heat generated by bending, coiling or being pulled through a draw plate is what makes wire hard. not being shaken with a bunch of polishing grit. all that does is make them pretty as well as ridding the cut ends of the burr.

it is quite laughable for you to say it makes them harder and more durable. sorry to say, but it rather shows you lack of knowledge in metallurgy.

susanrm (author)acoleman32011-11-24

Be nice, please. You don't tumble jump rings or other metal jewelry items with grit; you use mixed stainless steel shot. And it does work harden the outer layers of the metal. See this excellent link for a more detailed explanation: . As an experienced silversmith, I have found this to be the case.

acoleman3 (author)susanrm2011-11-24

you never specified what the tumbling medium i had to go off of what i know about tumbling. if you had been more specific in the first place, possibly posting the link as well as your experience as an accomplished would have alleviated any confusion and all miscommunication.

and btw....i *was* being nice.

jlerch1 (author)acoleman32015-10-14

I'm for just that my rings are not durable some just fall off and I did tumble with no avail. so then the stress in the way I coil is my prob, is what I'm getting. half hard silver,brawns, brass or atistic wire will work?

Kiteman (author)acoleman32011-11-26

(Being "nice"? You could have fooled me.)

yes, susanrm is correct. it does harden the layers of the metal. good info.

diylesson (author)susanrm2011-11-24

Hi susan,

The tutorial I created is just suitable or fit for hobbyist like me. :) We, jewelry makers, we like to create our own jump rings as we do not want to stock a lot of them. We just create a few jump rings whenever we need them.

susanrm (author)diylesson2011-11-24

Hi diylesson, as you can see from my website, I too have been a jewelry maker for many years. I changed over to my system years ago after trying it your way, and finding too many failures after long-term wear in my customers' jewelry. I also prefer to do it with power tools and tumbling for when I make chainmaille jewelry.

Anyway, my comment was directed to acoleman3, who claims his method is so much better - and I would need to see the results to believe them.

acoleman3 (author)susanrm2011-11-24

you wanna see results? go to and look at their gallery. you'll see all the results you want in their jeweler y section. i stand by what i said about the method of you cut it dont make any difference in material strength

Kiteman (author)acoleman32011-11-26

I'm afraid it does.

Unless you think there's no need for different kinds of saw-blade?

susanrm (author)acoleman32011-11-25

It's not the strength that concerns me. It's the quality of the jewelry. If you are making fine jewelry for people to wear, pointy bits in the rings will mean more opportunities for the rings to snag on clothing or something else and break the jewelry. So it's the durability of the jewelry, not the metal itself.

susanrm (author)acoleman32011-11-24 a great resource; I've been aware of them for years. But where does it say they cut their rings as you recommend?

acoleman3 (author)susanrm2011-11-24

you're joking right? are you seriously asking me where it says that cutting with 8in bolt cutters is cheaper and produces a more exact cut then sawing? i tell you want to know so some digging. as for me, im done with this conversation. especially after an idiotic question as that. you want to prove me wrong and say its a waste of time and how it produces an inferior cut? do the research yourself.

oh and while your at it.....tell many links do you have to untangle with a saw cut? i can tell you its a hell of a lot more then with a pinch cut since there is no kerf.

Gelfling6 (author)acoleman32011-11-24

I concur with Acoleman3.. I've been making costume chainmaille (mostly for hobby, none for sale) for nearly 29 years, and I've used bolt cutters for all kinds of metals, from galvnized steel, stainless steel, copper, and aluminum. It does give a ">|" style cut, but on the long run, it's quicker than single diagonals, You're able to grab more than 1 ring at a time (without stretching the coil, leave the coil tight. It'll help line up for the next set of rings to cut.).. The hand size (8") cutters are good for soft metals (copper, aluminum) but the harder steel requires something like the 14" cutters. (not quite as big as the big lock cutting size) , but you also need to get a pair where the tips of the cutter do not indent in. (in other words, if it has a "<" at the point, not a ")" ) Saw cutting is another alternative if perfectly flat ends are a must. a jewlers saw (like a coping saw, but a super thin blade, Most hobby stores carry them.) will do wonders! But, we're back to the time point.. rushing it, breaks the blades. Also hardened metals (stainless) won't cut.. I advise against using a dremel & a cutting wheel mainly because of the dust/sparks a thin milling saw, run along the side of the coil will do about the same as a jewlers saw, but you'll need a machine, and cooling fluid to work it.

acoleman3 (author)Gelfling62011-11-24 can clip 14.5 awg mild steel quite well with 8 in bolties *and* rather quickly. i use to cut them two at a time really and could go through a 14 inch coil in a little over a min. as well as 14 awg galvy electric fence wire with the same speed.

stainless is a different story as you said, but i think hockywierdo from mail came up with the idea of the cut/twist technique. you cut partially through the link, then twist and it breaks off the coil leaving a flat end with shallow v marks where the cutters were. that is using 8 in cutters btw.

ive tried it with 5/32 stainless tig filler rod wrapped on a 1/2 in mandrel. yeah ik ....madness i tell you! lol as well as being board, having the material given me and a desire to experiment. seriously though....i used the pinch/snap cut on all 7 coils and felt no fatigue or the need for any fancy set up.

apperenty the wire hardened to such a degree from the coiling that because the cutters went through about half of the wire diameter, the grain structure was too weak to keep the last 1/2 from being elastic enough to not break off. oh yeah and there was a lot of spring back.....a *lot* of it. i think the links were 1/16 in oversize because of it.

after one coil i figured out how much pressure to use and when to twist so i was rather close to matching my speed with mild steel. was a bit slower, maybe 12 links less per min then mild steel. i tell you, id have *loved* to have had my knipex cobolt cutters at the time. they would have done better since the jaws on them are sharper and dont blunt over since the cutting edges are tempered so hard.

oh and umm....they produce more of an offset >< cut. >| is more what diagonal cutters would make. just thought id point that out.

acoleman3 (author)acoleman32011-11-24

no i was wrong on the link count. the stainless was only 6 in coils and it took me about as long as a 14 in coil. mistake

Gelfling6 (author)acoleman32011-11-25

LOL! No prob.. I won't hold it against ya.  <chuckle>  Though, I admit, I go a LOT longer than 14-inch coils. I've made a jig to wind coils using a power drill, and up to a 6-foot mandrel. (yes, nearly a 5'-9" coil!) Hence why I've gone with the cutting saw method on some of the longer coils.

I've dealt with some of the real old, super hard galvanized fence wire.. It's murder on the 8" cutters, and even the 14" cutters have trouble cutting it. (it almost rivals the stainless on tensile strength.) the spring-back of this stuff is dangerous!

I've also used thin (20 to 22 AWG) wire, the hand cutters are still the bet for cutting quickly.. I saw on a chain maille forum up in Canada (shameless plug: a custom cutter jig, that looks like a table saw, with a pair of plates across a dremel saw assembly, which would be perfect!  (but, that was ages (8 years) ago, not likely it's still in the photo archive there.)

acoleman3 (author)Gelfling62011-11-25

THUNDERIN JESUS! O,..,O! THAT LONG?! yeah....i can *see* why you opted for power cutting. you sir....are more of a man then i've ever been. -bows low- me with my trash wood and rafter bracket coiling jig and crank handle mandrels.

ive never used the old galvy so i wasnt aware of that. now i wish i *had* gotten hold of some of it.

ah yes....the ring lord. john has got to be the god of maille supplies and the one person i go to when i need links. in fact, i ordered a few packets of regular color aluminium round scales and some stainless 18 awg 5/32 links for j6-1 sleeve covers to go on my black sweatshirt, much like the ancient japanese kote.

my plan is to weave the sheet, which is actually a variant so each cell would have the center link missing, sew it to a crimson backing cloth and then just use basting stitches to sew it to my sweatshirt.

i decided to use the cloth panel idea instead of sewing it to the garment so it won't damage the washer/dryer at the worst or get *really* irritating at the least. yeah...imagine all that maille in the dryer for 30 min. >,..,< i can clip the basting threads, remove the panels and then sew them back on when its out of the dryer. i thought that'd look totally *bangin* from under the sleeveless black tactical jacket/vest i wear over it. yeah, i took a bdu coat and cut the sleeves off. i may get another for summer and wear it under my vest so i can sew the panels on *it* instead of my sweatshirt.

Kiteman (author)acoleman32011-11-26


You chaps do realise that you are discussing armour-making techniques on an Instructable for making jewellery?

Different materials, different end-use, different techniques.

Gelfling6 (author)Kiteman2011-11-26

Not entirely.. same techniques, just on a different tangent. (creating fabric from rings, not just a simple end to end chain.).. Likewise chain jewelry also uses a lot of the same techniques as some of the knitters of old. The base of the thread here, is making jump rings. (simple butted rings.).. Don't even get involved with split rings (where they overlap 2X, like the average key ring.) totally different ring!

Jump Rings are used in making Byzatine ( , Box, spiral, etc.. there, the lines are totally crossed between jewelry and maille.

Kiteman (author)Gelfling62011-11-27

I meant the techniques for making the rings, not weaving the end product.

Silver and copper require very different handling to steel.

susanrm (author)Gelfling62011-11-25

Right, well, those are very different uses. If you are doing precious metals, like silver, gold, or even copper, it's best to use a jeweler's saw or cutting rig with a power tool. The method I show on my video is not how I actually do it - I can do it that way, but I prefer not to. I prefer using a rig, or buying the rings from a professional ring maker.

The show made me make the rings, thinking they wouldn't have enough material with just the lampwork. Unfortunately, they were so wrong - they rushed through that last segment with the rings, left out a number of steps and all the safety instructions I put in there. But hey, it's TV, right?

You're right, for base/hard metals, it's better to do it with your method. Maybe we need another instructable for non-jewelry jump rings. :-)

diylesson (author)susanrm2011-11-20

Thanks for the cool tip and the video link :)

dudehenry (author)2015-09-06

I suggest using a jewelers saw instead of side cutters as it wastes less wire, leaves a flat cut instead of sharp edges and doesn't take as much time

MariannaN (author)2014-11-07

Thank you so much for this instruction!!!!! I was looking for something simple for jump rings without any hassle of power tools and tumblers (lol).

Tezcumpapa (author)2013-03-03

When I first started making my own jump rings, I went to a home building center and bought nails in different sizes...I blew a whole buck! Because the nails are in commonly used sizes, they are used frequently and easily replaced. Also, a smooth sided "nickle" coin makes a great emergency tool when 'tightening" loose gems and ring prongs.

lironess (author)2011-11-27

Wow you guys are really funny to read....

I used to use a long metal dowel that I drilled a hole through at one end...on the other I wrapped a wad of duct tape and then clamped on a pair of vice grips. I would stick the end of the wire in the hole then hold the dowel at an angle and start flipping the vice grips around to spin the dowel.. I got pretty fast at it...I used regular wire cutters to cut the rings. I found that for the wire that I was using bolt cutters just took too long as I could only cut a few at a time with the wire cutters I could cut like six then dump them off...

My brother made a tiny spindle out of scrap wood and an offset handle to turn his rings...but then he made a LOT more stuff than I was a base with two uprights that had a hole through each for the metal dowel to pass through and the handle was attached to the dowel...

I also highly recommend spring loaded tools and padded palm no finger sports gloves to protect your spite of that I ended up with carpel tunnel and that was the end of that..

midsummermuse (author)2011-11-25

Thanks for uploading this instructable with instructions that don't include power tools! My and my regular old trusty toolbox can get this done. ^_^

vistal (author)2011-11-24

I know the pain of trying to figure out how to cut rings .I made a whole chain mail shirt of 16 g wire.

Tyg (author)2011-11-24

I love your tutorial. It's nice and simple for beginners :)

Another method of cutting is to keep the coil tight on a wooden mandrel, lay a piece of masking tape along one side (or not), and use a jeweller's saw to cut down the length of all of them in one hit. Depends on confidence with a sawframe but it's a good way to learn :) My first teacher made us cut the queen's head out of a copper 2c piece. She would then tell us which member of the royal family it REALLY looked like :)

Tyg (author)2011-11-24

Hi, I'd just like to reply to a number of points made by others. Firstly, a jump ring maker isn't a cheap tool to buy. I own one, I used to sell them. The method shown is valid for hobbyists but not for professionals.

Tumbling with stainless steel shot will gently work harden metals, tumbling with polishing grits won't. It's nice to ask first before shooting. Yes, I'm a metallurgist, valuer, jeweller and gemmologist. Registered.

When talking about 'the early days' it'd be nice to clarify how early? Maille as chainmail was known by in medieval days, wasn't made with 'jump rings' that have a round profile to the wire. It was made with flattened rings and rivetted together with triangular rivets. Very very tricky. A professional armourer friend of mine, who has worked in the museums and worn the white gloves to handle originals, has attempted it but gave up after he'd made a few inches square. It's far tougher than round profile rings and the rivets prevent the maille from popping open.,

Lengths of long wire were certainly available from very ancient times. The ability to draw wire through a draw plate is an ancient technique. I'm also an amateur jewellery historian if it doesn't already show.

The name for the piece that goes through a pendant which is threaded with a chain or bit of leather or whatever, is known as the 'bail'. A Bail can be made with a jump ring but it is then known as 'a bale made from a jump ring'. Knowing the components is helpful as a jewellery valuer.

I hope this is helps somewhat. If anyone is interested to know more about jewellery (that's how we spell it here) then perhaps take a look at Ganoksin online. Happy to debate anything I've said :)

chamunks (author)2011-11-24

Hah I did exactly this at the beginning of 2011 after seeing some byzantine weave chain posted somewhere. I didn't do it with the care you did though as i was just messing around with some crappy tie wire I had laying around for years and didn't expect it to turn out nicely.

acoleman3 (author)2011-11-24

a simpler device for coiling would be a 3/4 in dowel about 3.5-4 in long, drilled out half its depth with a drill for the matching mandrel size, with either a hole near the end or a slot *in* the end for your wire. this was used in the early days to coil wire for maille since they had no access to long lengths of wire.

PaulMakesThings (author)2011-11-19

Stupid question, What are jump rings? This looks a lot like the technique I used to use to make chain mail.

Yes, that's what we use for making chain mailles.

That's exactly the technique you'd use. A jump ring is simply a small metal ring used in chains and jewelry when two items are linked together. For example, if you have a pendant with a hole pierced through it, you'd need a jump ring through the hole to pass a chain or cord through so you can hang it around your neck. Or, to provide a place to fasten a hook or some other fastener. Here's an article from Wikipedia:

jessyratfink (author)2011-11-19

This is great! Love the photos.

About This Instructable




Bio: Jane Chew aka XQDesigns is the chief editor behind 2 popular jewelry making blogs and websites: Handmade Jewelry Club and DIY Lessons. She started jewelry ... More »
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