Simple, elegant and relatively easy. These cute rings can be stacked or support a small bezel and stone. You can use mixed metals and multiple wires.
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Step 1: Tools and Equipent
18 gauge wire ( silver, copper, brass)
two vices- (table vice, vice grips ect.)
pliers: round and flat nose
steel plate or anvil
soldering equipment: torch, flux, solder, pickle
polishing equipment ( I use a Dremel with a small polishing wheel and jewelry rouge.
optional equipment: wet/dry abrasive paper, polishing cloth
Step 2: Twist Your Wire
I used a bench vice so I bent my wire about 1/2 an inch from the bottom into right angles. You will want about 3 inches of wire for your ring so use at least 5 inches to allow for the twist as it will reduce in length. I personally use about a foot of wire and make a few rings at a time.
Secure wire in bench vice. Straighten the wires together and secure the bottom in vice grips or a pin vice. (something that will keep the wires tight and together)
Begin to gently twist the vice grips. The wires will start to form a spiral pattern. Twist until the spiral is nice and tight. No light should be seen between the wires. The tighter the twist the smaller the pattern.
When you achieve the look look you want remove from the vices. The wire will stay together on its own.
Step 3: Hammer Flat
Place your wire on an anvil or steel plate and hammer flat. It's a great way to work out some frustrations. I twisted 2 bands. One is silver and copper and the other silver, copper and brass.
Step 4: Trim and Size
Trim off the ends that were in the vice and cut the wire to the desired length. To get your size you can wrap a piece of string or paper around your finger or you can get a ring size chart online. Most jewelry store sites have printable versions.
Step 5: Bend So Edges Meet
To get the ring ready to solder the ends need to be together and as flush as possible. Using a pair of round nose pliers gently start to bend the ring into a circle. Use a pair of flat nose pliers at both ends so the wires meet evenly.
Make sure there are no teeth on you pliers. They will gouge you piece. I you don't have smooth pliers wrap some heavy tape around the teeth.
I bend the wires past each other and pull them back. This creates a little tension so the ends stay firmly together.
Step 6: File
To get a good solder joint the ends need to meet perfectly as possible so file the ends flat. Be sure to remove any burr's left by the wire cutters. Remember a file only works in a forward motion so don't saw the tool back and forth.
Metal has to be clean for solder to flow so you can put the ring in your pickle solution if you have one or clean gently with liquid dish soap. Rince and dry thoroughly.
Step 7: Prepare to Solder
Manipulate the ends together tight as possible. I used a pair of adjustable tweezers to secure my ring for soldering. Use a paint brush to apply flux to the ends of the wires. Solder likes to go where the flux is so try to just flux where you want the solder to be.
Cut two small pieces of solder. You should only need one but I always manage to loose the first one. Use your flux paint brush to place the solder on the joint.
Step 8: Solder
Time to fire up your torch!
Start to gently heat your piece from a few inches away. This will allow any flux that hasn't already dried to boil off. This is where I normally loose my first piece of solder. I get a bit impatient.
If the flux is done sizzling you can move the tip of the flame closer. The tip of the blue flame is where the magic happens so aim it under the joint. Pay close attention to your wires. If they get too much direct flame they can start to melt. A bit of a side to side motion helps everything heat evenly.
Hopefully your solder will melt and flow into your joint. Yeah!
You can add a small pre-made bezel cup over the joint if you would like to add a stone. The nice thing about adding a bezel is that it will hide the solder joint.
Step 9: Pickle
Pickle is a solution that will clean oxidation from your metal. I use 1 cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of salt heated in an old crock pot. You can buy commercial pickles but vinegar seems to work just fine.
After it cools a bit pop it in the pickle pot. Let it soak about 10 minutes. Only use copper or plastic utensils to get your jewelry out of the pickle. Anything else will cause a chemical reaction that results in you piece being covered in a thin layer of copper. Avoid that. Rince and dry.
Step 10: Shape and Size
Hopefully your solder worked and you now have a slightly wonky shaped ring. Heating the wire has made it very pliable so we need to stiffen the wire and get it into shape.
Place the ring on a ring stick. Metal ring sticks are best but the plastic ones are reasonable priced at Hobby Lobby or JoAnn Fabrics.
Slide the ring on as far as you can an tap with a hammer. As the ring becomes circular the ring will slide further down the stick. Continue to tap the the ring until it is fully round. The hammer should work to harden the metal so that it doesn't bend to easily.
Check your ring for any excess solder or sharp areas. Use your file to remove and smooth any imperfections. You may need to buff out tool marks with abrasive paper.
Step 11: Polish
To polish my rings I use a Dremel with a felt polishing wheel and some polishing compound such as jeweler's rouge.
Load the wheel by turning the Dremel to its lowest setting and running it on the rouge. The wheel will turn red. I like to leave the rings on the ring stick to polish the out side. Just be sure to anchor them with your thumb or they will spin. Be sure to polish the inside also.
When your ring is polished wash it with warm water and liquid dish soap. An old soft tooth brush will help get any rouge out of the cracks and crevices. Pat dry.
For some extra shine rub with a polishing cloth. You can also add a lacquer to protect your finish. Clear nail polish works ok. I have just purchased a product called Renaissance Wax that I haven't tried yet bit the reviews are good.
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