Introduction: Make a Steel Ring From a Coat Hanger!
Second Prize in the
This is a pretty basic project but it does require quite a lot of effort and, depending how good you want it to look, time.
The great thing about this simple ring is that you don't even need to leave your house to find what you need for it!
I had quite a bit of fun making this ring and I am happy with the way it turned out. :)
If you find this guide useful, please vote for it in the jewelry contest! :D Thanks!
Step 1: What You Need
You only need one material for this project, the wire coat hanger. But you will require some tools:
- Anvil/ Axe/ second hammer/ steel plate (Anything solid and smooth that you can beat metal against without it deforming) [I used a large chisel]
- Fine sandpaper
- Grinding wheel (optional)
- Dremel tool (VERY helpful but not entirely necessary)
- Pliers (you will need long-nosed pliers for bending the ring)
- A hand-file (No necessary but also helpful)
- Sanding and polishing attachments if you are using a dremel tool
- A piece of paper/ measuring tape/ string
This ring can look very different depending on how much time and effort you are willing to put into it, as well as the tools you have available. Patience makes the biggest difference to how good it will look in the end!
Step 2: Clip the Hanger
Very easy, just open out (straighten) the wire of the coat hanger. Then measure about 7 cm of it (or just guess) and clip that off of the larger wire.
Once you have clipped this piece off, make sure it is absolutely straight. Use the pliers to correct any bends it may have.
Step 3: Beat It Flat!
This step is very important and is the most labour intensive, place one end of the wire onto something solid and smooth (preferably an anvil, but here I used a chisel). Then use a hammer to hit the wire into the other solid object and be forced to flare out to either side.
Choose one side of the wire to be "up" and the other "down". The side you strike with the hammer will look more lumpy and less even than the side against the flat solid object. The "down" side will look flatter and is better for the outside of the ring.
Try to do this uniformly and when you get to the middle, start at the other end of the wire. The width of the wire should be about 3-5 mm all the way from end to end. Your wire will likely bend while you are hitting it, and this must be immediately corrected with pliers, as shown in picture 4.
Expect this to take time and do not rush. Once yours looks relatively smooth, straight and even, it is ready for the next step.
Step 4: Sand and Clip to Size
Sand the piece of metal (only the edges, not the two sides) until it looks like the sides are straight and parallel. You may also use a grinding wheel or a dremel tool. Finer sanding can be done just before bending the ring to shape, so you do not need to worry about making it look too neat.
Once this is done, cut a little strip of paper (or use a measuring tape or string) and mark on it the circumference of your finger. Use pliers to clip the metal to this length.
Sand and smooth the edge you just cut so that it looks like the one you already sanded.
Step 5: Final Smoothing and Bending
This is where a dremel tool comes in handy, cleaning up the imperfections is very easy if you have one. Use the finest sandpaper you can find, to smooth the edges until they look perfect this time. Make sure both ends of the piece of metal look the same.
If you want to engrave your ring, now is the time to do that. I do not have the tools for that so I could not.
Rounded edges are safer than sharp ones, so ideally you want the cross-sectional shape to look like this:
Once this is achieved and your metal looks good, you can move on to bending. Only if you have VERY fine sandpaper and preferably a dremel to attach it to, should you sand the two faces of the metal. Otherwise leave them as they are if they look smooth already. Polish the metal well with a cloth or something similar. A rotary felt polisher for a dremel works well too.
Remember that one of the sides will look flatter and more smooth than the other, so make sure that this is the outside of the ring.
Press it onto something round of a similar diameter to your finger, to get a nice even bend.
This will not work the whole way round.
Use a cloth or an old shirt around your long-nosed pliers to make it harder for the teeth to scratch the metal. This is not necessary but it may help if you have spent a lot of time up to this point on polishing the metal.
Take your time to make it circular.
Once it looks like mine in picture 7, it is good enough to test-fit.
Try it on your finger and see if you like the fit of the size and shape of the ring, if it is too big, use a file to shorten the two sides a few millimetres and try again.
Step 6: Polish It!
Now that it is circular, give it one more good polish to remove any imperfections in the metal and allow it to shine! I used a felt attatchment on a dremel to achieve this.
Once you are happy with the result, test it again and enjoy your new ring! :D You could also try to engrave it, but I do not have the tools for that.
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