Red Copper Ring





Introduction: Red Copper Ring

About: Hello! My name is Jonathon Zalakos and I am an independent maker of many different media. I do harbour a soft spot for goldsmithing though!

In this instructable, I will show you how to make this super bright red copper ring. It is really easy, really cheap and can be completely customized by you, so let's get started.

You will need:


Copper sheet - The thicker the better, I used 1.2mm thick copper.

Paste flux - Mine is made for jewellery, but you could use some plumbing flux instead.

Silver solder - Again, can be bought from a plumbing supply store.

Polishing compounds - I used jeweler's rouge but you can use an automotive polish.

Pickle - You can make your own with vinegar and salt.


Soft mallet



Jeweler's saw or hacksaw

Fine file or sandpaper

Rotary tool or elbow grease

Ring mandrel or appropriate cylinder

Step 1: Cut the Sheet Into Three Strips.

The three strips were cut out with a jeweler's saw will be soldered together to make a thick, chunky ring shank.

The formula for how long these strips should be is:

(Diameter of your finger + Thickness of material) x pi

I wanted a size 10 ring, which is about 20mm in diameter, so in my case this formula was:

(20mm + 3.6mm) x 3.14 = 74.1mm long strips

Step 2: Prepare Shanks for Sweat Soldering.

Sand the copper

Apply flux

Add generous amount of solder

Heat up copper to melt solder

Then pickle the copper to remove the oxides, you can use a mix of vinegar and salt to do this.

After the copper is clean, stack them up and solder them on top of eachother.

Step 3: Form Ring and Solder Seam.

File the rough edges smooth.

Bend the ring shank around with pliers and hold it closed with some scrap binding wire.

Solder the ring shank with plenty of solder.

Step 4: Hammer Ring Blank Round.

Using a cylinder and a soft mallet, beat the ring into a round shape.

I used a ring mandrel, but you could use a large drill bit, a socket set or anything round you can get your hands on.

If your ring turned out too small like mine did, it can be enlarged by hitting it with a metal hammer around the circumference until it is the appropriate diameter.

Step 5: File the Ring Blank Over.

Get the basic shape of the ring in with a file and some elbow grease.

This step is open to your imagination, I just went with a classic domed look.

Step 6: Sand, File and Sand the Inside of the Ring.

Using a rotary tool and a needle file, round over the edges of the ring to make sure it is comfortable.

I taped some sandpaper from 400 grit to 600 to 1200 onto a drill bit to sand the inside.

Step 7: File Some Texture Into Your Ring.

I chose to file facets on my ring, but you could use a hammer to beat some interesting texture into it or even file grooves and troughs into it.

My process was to clamp the ring, file a facet, run over the facet with sandpaper, unclamp, rotate and repeat. This took a long time.

Step 8: Polish the Entire Ring.

I used cotton buffs in my rotary tool for the inside, and larger felt buffs attached to an old wood lathe for the outside of the ring.

I pre-polished with green crocus and final polished with red rouge polishing compound, but you could also use some abrasive automotive polish.

Step 9: Heat Treat the Ring.

To get this particular texture and colour, I covered the entire ring with flux, heated it up to a bright red, then quickly quenched it in a bowl of water. This has to be done quickly for the best results.

Step 10: Polish the Ring Again and Done!

I just went over the ring with my final polish, red rouge, and buffed it with a rag to end up with this.

The red is super bright and truly eye catching in the sun light. Depending on how you heat treat it you can get colours from deep purple to bright yellow!

To preserve your finish, rub some wax or a sealer onto the ring. I used renaissance wax. This prevents the colour from chipping off or darkening as well as prevents the copper from turning your skin green.

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Fourth Prize in the
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Second Prize in the
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Hi im having a go at this instructable but I couldnt find any copper so im using brass, do you think I could get away with tin-lead solder or do I have to use silver solder?

1 reply

You should avoid using tin/lead solder because it is much softer and more prone to breaking. Also the lead in the solder is a bad idea for prolonged contact with skin so is not a good solution for jewellery.

Hi ! I love your ring, I'm currently trying to make one similar myself but I'm struggling with the soldering, it always break when i try to bend the copper sheets ! I'm using silver solder and flux...

When you stack the three sheets do you just melt the soldering or do you press the sheets together when hot ?

if you have any idea why this happens it would be great, if not, i'll keep trying !

Thanks a lot for sharing anyway ! :)

2 replies

Hello! It's great to hear you're giving this project a go.

When you say it breaks, are you referring to the solder joint itself splitting and separating the three sheets? Or does the copper itself crack when it is bent?
If it is the first issue, I recommend adding more solder, and ensuring it is completely melted over the entire surface of the copper. When heating it, make the entire piece really really hot to ensure there are no gaps that haven't melted.
If it is the second issue, you should try annealing the copper as you bend it, so bend it a bit, heat it up to a dull red, quench it and repeat until it the two ends meet.

You shouldn't need to press the sheets together, but you have to make sure the solder is melted over the entire piece at the same time so the sheets can come together on their own and not be held back by a solid piece of solder on the opposite side of the shank.

Sorry that I wrote so much but I hope this helps, and if I misunderstood your question, please clarify your problems (maybe include pictures), and I will do my best to help you fix them.
Thank you!

Don't apologize for writing so much, thanks a lot !
It is the first issue, solder break every time, I will follow your advice and keep you posted !

Thanks again !

Hi ! I love your ring, I'm currently trying to make one similar myself but I'm struggling with the soldering, it always break when i try to bend the copper sheets ! I'm using silver solder and flux...

When you stack the three sheets do you just melt the soldering or do you press the sheets together when hot ?

if you have any idea why this happens it would be great, if not, i'll keep trying !

Thanks a lot for sharing anyway ! :)

In one of the comments you mentioned that copper oxides would form different colours. How whould i heat the ring to achieve different colours?

2 replies

In my experience you can only get yellows, oranges, reds, blacks and maybe a purple from heating the copper. To get yellow, heat the copper less, to get black, heat the copper more.

To get colours like blue and green, you can use other chemicals and methods. Using an ammonia fumigation box you can get blues and greens and it is very easy to do although less consistant.

If you're aiming for a specific colour I would highly recommend experimenting on test pieces to make sure you can get the results you want consistently before you colour your nicer projects.

Thanks for the help. Looking forward to making some.

Really nice instructions, thank you.

I wanted to ask you if you know what happen to the copper when it turn red like this. It always happen to my copper too when I heat it up too much with the torch, even without the use of flux, and I was wondering if it is something inside the copper coming up to the surface, or if it is just a patina kind of thing.

2 replies

When the copper turns red, it means that the oxygen in the air around it has bonded to the copper to form a copper oxide. Copper oxides can range from green, to red, to black, and I find that the flux prevents the black from forming. It is a patina, so the colour is only on the very surface of the metal.

Hope this helps.

Ok, thank you very much for answering

JonathonZ, as I said before on a previous contest, nice work on the ring. Your instructable was easy to follow and instructions were well written. I like the finished texture that you put on the ring. Good luck in the jewelry contest.

1 reply

i think the ring is awesome but i dont have much money,is there a cheaper way to do it?

1 reply

What part of the project are you having trouble financing?

Is the process much different between this and the brass?

2 replies

The process is identical, except you won't be able to get these colours with brass. Also, you might have more luck finding thick brass stock than I did looking for copper.

Awesome thank you!!