I posted this a few years ago on a jewelry forum and people seemed to enjoy it, so I thought it would make a great instructable. I sold a lot of these when I started making jewelry - I called them "Bellybutton Rings" and it was one of my very first designs.
I usually made them out of 20 and 18 gauge soft wire (half-hard is too brittle and the "bellybutton" isn't as tight because the wire springs out a little).
- You'll need a ring mandrel (or suitable equivalent), a flat-nosed jewelry pliers, a wire cutter, a small metal file, and a length of wire (the example is made with 14 gauge soft sterling silver).
Step 1: Initial Wrap
- Before I had a ring mandrel I used socket bits from a ratchet set - being metal they worked pretty well and it was easy to hold the ends of the bit while twisting wire to make the bellybutton. I tried a wooden dowel too but it would get all hacked over time.
Step 2: Creating the Swirl
This is the only real tricky part because the tightness of the center dictates how smooth the "bellybutton" looks. The best way I've found to get a tight center is to use your thumb and forefinger in a twisting motion - almost in the same way you use a screwdriver only you're making a little twirl of wire where the screwdriver usually is. It also helps to have the wires wrapped around the mandrel in a direction that allows you turn the imaginary screwdriver clockwise (or counter-clockwise for left-handers). You'll figure out what I mean the first time you wrap one the other way - it's clumsy...
Step 3: Completing the Swirl
- You can make your swirl a little wider by going around the ring again if you like - I like two wraps because it matches the double-wire band.
Step 4: Adjusting the Ring
- Watch your fingers! If your plier slips you will get gouged unless you position your hands out of the way - it may also help to hold your thumb over the tip of your pliers and the "bellybutton" while you apply pressure.
Step 5: Removing Excess Wire
- Both cutting and filing are best done off the mandrel - I just put it there for easy display.
Step 6: Tucking in the Ends
The two wire loops of your ring may be slightly misaligned when you first take it off the mandrel - to fix this just pull slightly out on the appropriate sides of the two loops using your fingernails until the wires line up.
Well that's it - this is a great little ring and I couldn't make 'em fast enough back when I was actively selling in stores and art/craft shows. Please tweak and embellish the design at will and I don't mind if you sell what you make, just please don't sell the instructions as they've always been free.
Hope you like the instructable!
- You can also start your ring with only one wrap around the mandrel rather than two. I like two because it's more interesting and it allows slightly more room for the wire ends as they curl under the "bellybutton." You can also pull them out and flatten your completed ring to make a bracelet by linking them together. You should use a minimum wire size of 18 gauge for the bracelet though - the 20 is a little too yankable.
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