Learning how to make a simple wire wrapped ring is the perfect way to practice basic wire wrapping techniques. Not only are they a fun accessory to wear or make with friends, but they also make excellent gifts, as well. Once you get the hang of forming a symmetrical, round band, you're on your way to creating all kinds of unique wire wrapped rings!
One ~21" piece of 22g wire (you can also use 20g)
One 6-8mm bead
Plastic or metal ring mandrel
Chain nose pliers
Step 1: Position Bead on Wire
After selecting your 6-8mm bead, thread it onto your wire. Make sure that it's centered. For this ring, I'm using a 6mm natural garnet bead. Both round and faceted beads will work.
Step 2: Determine the Ring Size
Position the centered bead on your ring mandrel. You will want to start approximately one size larger than the size of the ring you want to end up with. For example, I want to make a size 5 ring, so I'm starting with a size 6.
Step 3: Wrap Wire Around Mandrel
Carefully wrap your wire around 3-4 times; I like my ring bands to have four wires. In this picture, I'm holding the loose wire ends down so that you can see what I've done, which makes it look like I've wrapped it around 5 times - there will only be four wires when we finish.
Quick Tip: I have two ring mandrels: a plastic one and a metal one. I usually end up using both when I make wire wrapped rings - especially if I'm using silver plated Artistic wire; the metal mandrel will scratch the finish on some of the following steps. Typically, I use the metal mandrel for the initial wrapping (this step) and again at the end when I use the mallet to shape the ring (step 11).
Step 4: Gather the Wire Underneath the Bead
Position the wires as close to the bead as possible. Work slowly to prevent the ring from springing out of shape.
Step 5: Start Wrapping the Bead
Start wrapping the wire ends around the bead in a counter-clockwise motion; each successive wrap will go underneath the previous one. While you're wrapping, make sure you keep an even tension on both wires. I usually make 3-4 complete wraps.
Step 6: Start Coiling the Wire
Remove the ring from the mandrel - you should have one wire end pointing up, and the other one pointing down. If you don't, adjust them so that they are. Working with the wire end pointing up, start by bending it down and through the ring band.
Step 7: Finish the Coils
Pull the wire end up firmly with your chain nose pliers, and then continue wrapping coils around the four wires that make the ring band. Do your best to keep your coils tight - if you need to, push them together with your pliers. I personally like to make 4-5 complete coils; however, three is also a popular way to do it, as well. The more coils you make at this point, the smaller your ring will end up being.
Do not cut off the excess wire yet.
Step 8: Finish the Other Side
Turn your ring over and repeat. Make sure you make the same number of coils on this side, too! Otherwise, you'll end up with a lopsided-looking ring.
Step 9: Straighten the Ring Band
Place your ring back on your ring mandrel. If you're using plated wire, I would recommend using a plastic ring mandrel at this point because it won't scratch the finish. See how the wires overlap each other? We want the wires in our ring band to be neat so that it fits comfortably and it looks nice. Pull your ring down as far as you can on the mandrel to straighten out the wires. When you're done, they should be positioned next to each other - as opposed to overlapping.
Step 10: Finish Your Wire Ends
Trim off the excess wire and round the ends with your file or cup burr. Using your chain nose pliers, push the ends down so that they aren't sticking up anymore. Don't squeeze down too hard, otherwise you'll have to fix the band again.
Step 11: Shape the Band One Final Time
After pushing down the wire ends, you may need to flatten out the band again - I did for this ring. If you look at the picture of the ring from the side, you can see how the wires are sitting on top of each other slightly. Just put your ring over the mandrel again and pull down as far as it will go. Using your rubber mallet, go over the ring band a few times to finish straightening the wires - this will also work harden the wire, as well, which will help the ring retain its shape.