Introduction: Zig Zag Wire Wrapped Ring
Next week I am going to be teaching a couple of workshops at my daughter's Jr. High School. One class is called 'Fun with Wire'. Here is a sample project that I designed for the class.
Ring Mandrel, wood dowel or pipe to form ring base
round nose pliers
chain nose or needle nose pliers (if they have ridges on the jaws, cover with masking tape to avoid marring the wire)
wire cutter or flush cutter
sand paper - 180 or 220 grit, emory board or small metal file
Silver tube beads (about 3/8 inch - 4 mm long. I had these from my grandmother... glass bugle beads should work too)
18 gauge wire for the ring base - copper, brass, silver etc.
24 - 26 gauge wire for wrapping and attaching the tube beads
You can use all the same kind of wire, or different colored wires for a multi-toned ring.
You will be working with potentially sharp wire and tools, so use CAUTION and be SAFE.
Step 1: Form the Ring Base
Decide what size you want your ring to be. If you have one, use a ring sizer.
Otherwise, you can use a strip of cardstock or thick paper to approximate your ring size. Wrap strip around your finger so it is snug, but not tight - it should just rest on the skin, not compress the flesh of your finger. Fold the paper at the right size. Add a few mm or 1/8 inch to allow space for the wire wrapping. Find a dowel, tube or pipe the same size to use as a ring mandrel. You cand make a dowel 'fatter' by wrapping layers of paper around it and taping everything together when you get the desired size.
SAFETY TIP: Hold onto the extra part of the wire before you cut it, then it will not go flying across the room or into your eye.
1. Cut 8 inches of 18 gauge wire for the ring base and
24 inches (2 feet) of 24 or 26 gauge wire (You can use 22 gauge if your wire is dead soft, but it gives a more chunky look to the ring)
2. Wrap wire 2 and a half times around your mandrel or dowel. Pull the loops tightly against each other.
3. Use one end of the 24 ga. wire to wrap about 1/2 inch of tight coils to secure the overlapping 3 wires on the bottom of the ring (8-10 loops).
4. Trim one end of the 18 ga. wire close the securing coils. Sand or file the end smooth. Continue wrapping 24 ga. coils over the filed end of the wire and continue 3-5 coils around the two remaing loops of the ring base.
5. Spread the two ring coils apart at the top of the ring (Directly opposite the coils securing the ring base).
6. Wrap 24 ga. wire once or twice around one of the 18 ga. ring loops, 1/4 inch up the side of the ring.
Now you are ready to lace on your zig zagging tube beads.
Step 2: Make Zig Zags With Tube Beads
1. Thread one silver tube bead onto the 24 ga. wire and slide it down until it reaches the ring base.
2. On a diagonal, wrap the 24 ga. wire around BOTH loops of the ring. Keep the metal tube bead CENTERED across both thick wires.
3. Secure tube bead by carefully pulling the 24 ga. wire up through the middle of the two loops and around itself. (If you sew, it is like the button hole or blanket edge stitch). Watch out that the wire does not kink - use your finger to keep the loop open and straingt while you pull the wire tight.
4. Neatly bend wire around the corner of the end of the tube bead, forming a sharp corner for the zig zag pattern.
5. Repeat steps 1 - 4 as desired. I like the zig zag to end on the opposite angle from what it started on, so I like odd numbers of tube beads.
Now you are ready to finish your ring.
Step 3: Finish Your Ring
1. Wrap 24 ga. wire once or twice around one of the 18 ga. ring loops, 1/4 inch down the side of the ring.
2. Neatly trim the remaining end of the 18 ga. wire. Sand or file the end smooth.
3. Pull 24 ga. wire down close the exposed end of the 18 ga. wire and wrap at least two tight loops around the two loops of the ring base.
4. Then continue tightly wrapping 24 ga. wire around the ring base. over the cute end of the 18 ga. wire. Keep wire coils tight and neat. Continue until you reach your first loops from step 1.
NOTE: If your zig zag is not centered on the ring, you can carefully pull or push each part of the zig zag along the large wire loops until it is centered.
5. Trim wire ends close, if needed, file or sand wire ends smooth and tuck the ends into the wire coils.
6. Enjoy your ring, or give it as a gift.