Introduction: Zig Zag Aluminum Ring DIY TUTORIAL
This zig zag cuff ring is a metalworking jewelry project for beginners.
The making process of this ring involves; cutting metal with a jewelers’ saw, filing, sanding, annealing, stamping, shaping and patina application.
We will be using a contemporary jewelry metal: ultra-light aluminum. In addition to being a light weight metal, aluminum is a silver colored non-tarnishing metal.
Aluminum gives you the look of silver without the high cost, making it ideal for beginner’s jewelry making projects.
Step 1: MATERIALS
Aluminum strip 1/16 x ½ x 3“
Step 2: TOOLS AND SUPPLIES
Fine tip permanent marker
Fat tip permanent marker
Triangular Metal file
Steel bench block
Triangle steel stamp
Cardboard nail file
#0000 steel wool
Step 3: SAFETY GEAR
Dust mask (for sanding and patina application)
Disposable gloves (for patina application)
Safety glasses (wear at all times while working in the studio)
Step 4: Finding You Ring Size
Determine the length of your ring by wrapping a measuring tape around your finger
or cut a strip of paper as wide as the ring you want to make.
Wrap the paper strip around your finger and mark where the strip overlaps.
Cut off the strip at the mark, this will be the length of your ring.
Step 5: Transferring Your Measurements to the Metal Strip
If you used a measuring tape, copy the length and width directly on to the metal strip.
If you used a paper strip, measure the length and width of your paper strip and mark it on your aluminum strip.
Mine was 3/8 x2 3/8 ” for a size 6 ½.
Step 6: Cutting the Metal
Cut your aluminum strip down to size with a jeweler’s saw.
Step 7: Annealing Your Ring Blank
Place your ring blank on your annealing station.
Draw a line on the surface with black permanent marker.
Step 8: Using Your Torch
Heat carefully until the black line disappears. The aluminum has reached its annealing temperature. let air cool or quench in water. Dry your metal blank.
Step 9: Making the Triangular Cutouts
Mark the placement of the triangular cutouts along the edges, three on one side and four on the other.
Use the triangular file to make the cutouts along both edges.
File all cut sides and round all corners.
Sand all edges with the cardboard file until all edges are smooth to the touch.
Step 10: Stamping a Design on the Ring
For stamping with steel stamps always use a brass hammer.
The brass hammer head will deform on impact, but it will not shatter.
A steel hammer can shatter, putting you, or somebody near you, at risk of getting stuck with a flying piece of metal. ALWAYS USE SAFETY GLASSES WHILE HAMMERING.
To begin stamping, place the ring blank over the steel block and use the brass hammer and steel stamps to make a design or texture over the surface.
Step 11: Shaping the Ring
Use a wooden dowel or ring mandrel to shape the ring.
You can begin bending the ring around the mandrel with your hands.
Finish shaping the ring with the nylon mallet.
Check the shape and fit of the ring. Correct as necessary.
Step 12: Patina Application
An easy and fast way to achieve the" look" of a black chemical patina is using a large black tip permanent marker to make the stamped design stand out.
Go over the stamped design with the marker until all the deep lines are filled with the black ink.
Rub off the excess black ink on the surface and polish the ring, to do this, use a piece of the #0000 steel wool.
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