"Fire leaped from the dragon's jaws. He circled for a while high in the air above them lighting all the lake; the trees by the shores shone like copper and like blood with leaping shadows of dense black at their feet." - J.R.R Tolkien, The Hobbit
While rewatching The Hobbit, I was reminded of a concept I had been wanting to try out for a while - creating a wirework dragon ring. I wanted it to give the feeling like a dragon was just flying and happened to pass by my hand in the process.
Step 1: Sketches
Before starting with wire, when this project was pretty much just a thought, I made a few quick sketches to get a first idea of what it would end up looking like.
Step 2: Prototyping
I made a few wire prototypes to test out how to execute it. A few details were still left to be improvised while making the final version, but the main direction was clear.
Step 3: Materials
- wire/ I used silver plated copper wire of 1 mm and 0,6 mm
- a mandrel
Step 4: Basic Ring Bending
Cut off three pieces of wire. I used 24 cm per piece for an approximate ring size of 6. Straighten them a bit and hold them next to each other while bending them around the mandrel at the right size. Twist the wires around each other as shown in the last two pictures, trying to keep them next to each other as good as possible. Stop bending when all wires sit perpendicular to the ring base.
Step 5: Starting the Wire Design
The most important thing to keep in mind when executing this step is keeping it symmetrical. Separate the wires and try to have two on each side to make the wings, one on top for the head and one on the bottom for the tail. Just leave the top and bottom wires for now and start with the wings.
Bend the top wires of the wings in an upward curve in approximately the same angle. Do the same thing for the bottom wires, but stop bending sooner.
Use a pair of flat nose pliers to add the little "steps" to the bottom wire. Again, try to work symmetrical - bending the first step on both sides first, followed by the other step and the final bend up.
For the top wire of the wing, bend them down at the place you think looks right, I went with a spot slightly further than the second step of the bottom wire.
Step 6: Last Part of the Wing Frame
To strengthen the wings, bend up the bottom wires of the wings to let them follow the upper wire. If it extends further than the bend in the top wire, cut off the excess wire.
Step 7: Heads or Tails
To get the head in the right position, you'll need to make a sharp bend first, before bending the neck and head. Bend the wire in the general shape of a circle and bend it back up to create the nose as shown, ending the wire with a small loop. The tail is made by carefully bending the wire, keeping an eye on what works nice when wearing it.
Step 8: Wirework Time
Cut off a piece of the thinner wire and start wrapping around the double part of the wing. After this first part, start the wirework pattern by coiling around every side and switching sides afterwards. Keep a small piece of the bottom wire next to the first step open.
Step 9: Inner Wire
To be able to create the wirework pattern inside of the ring, bend a piece of the 1 mm wire to fit in the three points shown: the bended middle part in the bend in the top wire; one of the ends in the first step; the other end in the second step.
Step 10: More Wrapping
Make the last few coils on the bottom wire and add the inner wire to your design. Once the first few coils around it are done, just go on with the wirewrapping pattern you used for the first part of the wing. The inner part might still move around a bit during this, so be sure to hold it into place. When you get to the top, interrupt the wirework pattern for a few wraps around both wires.
Step 11: And More Wrapping
Move the wire to the other side of the inner wire and continue the wire wrapping pattern once more. Try to end the pattern on the side of the inner wire, wrapping the wire around both base wires a few times to secure the inner wire. Keep coiling around the bottom wire until you are satisfied with the wing and end the wire.
Step 12: Getting Repetitive
Repeat all the steps needed to complete the first wing on the other wing. This might be a bit trickier, since you'll be wrapping the wire in the opposite direction of what you just did.
Step 13: A Small Design Change
I personally felt like the tail I had was too long, so I cut off the last few centimeter.
Step 14: Wrapping the Tail
Use another piece of the 0,6 mm wire to give the tail a bit more volume. I didn't wrap the tip of the tail to really give it the impression of being thinner than the rest of the tail.