February 28, 2012

Making my own Jump Rings

Sometimes, you're happily working away on a maille weave or putting together a sparkly pair of earrings when you reach out to grab another jump ring and you swipe at empty air...



It happens more often than I care to admit so in those crunch time situation's I've learnt to make my own jump rings. Comes in very handy indeed!
Here's a little photolog of how I do it. Granted, this may not be the most efficient or even the most technical way to do it but it works very well for me and I can finish that maddeningly ring-eating chainmaille piece without having to wait for my next supply batch. :)

For this example I've used:
 20 Gauge enamelled copper wire
Pinch wire cutters
curved nose pliers
an awl with a straight, even diameter (at least in the bottom section)
Bead mat (to stop rings from escaping of my desk)

1. Collect your tools.
I've used copper wire because I love the texture and malleability and the enamel is non-tarnish.
Take care when using coiled wire because it can spring open and turn into a shiny, spinning wheel of pain and scratches.

2. Cut a length of wire (or use the end of the uncut wire for longer lengths or if not sure how much you need) and wrap the end around the base of the awl using your thumb if possible (the less pliers used the less damage to the wire). You can also use other objects like sharpies, pens, or even Berocca tubes for larger rings.

3. Start by wrapping two or three coils around the awl then transfer the grip to your pliers. Hold the pliers and awl in one hand while you use the other to continue wrapping. This helps add more tension as you coil so as to keep the rings tight and evenly shaped.

4. Once you reached your desired amount of coils/rings, use the wire cutters to cut the excess wire .
Using the pliers coil the remaining end around the awl. It'll fight you!
Remove the coil from your awl.

5. Using your cutters carefully start cutting the coil into rings. Make sure you cut in relatively same spot so that the rings are similar in size. I like to angle the pinch cutters slightly so as to have an angled cut. Watch those fingers!

6. Bask in the success that is your handful of shinies.


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