During the period following the Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal, I promised several people I would write a tutorial for the ring I made:
However, I didn’t have any filigree left to do it. I made a trip to Hobby Lobby last week and luckily they have this exact filigree in stock. FYI~Hobby lobby frequently puts the Vintaj on sale, so don’t pay full price. Also, there is almost always a 40% off one item coupon in the weekly flyer. So if you can’t wait until it goes on sale, at least take the coupon with you.
Please excuse the photos and my nasty jewelry making fingers. I don’t have access to my photo editing software right now but wanted to get this finished.
Step 1: Get a tool a couple sizes smaller than the finished ring size if you don’t have a ring mandrel. For example, a marker or some other round object.
Step 2: Gently but firmly start forming the filigree to the ring mandrel in the center. Remember, do this a couple sizes smaller than the finished desired size. The metal has “memory” and will bounce back a little. I started this at size 6, but ended up going to size 5 because I wanted it even smaller. If making the ring too small makes you nervous, remember you can just slide the ring down the mandrel to make it bigger. Not a big deal at all.
Step 3: Holding the center of the filagree onto the mandrel, start forming one side around the mandrel. Push the end down tight to the mandrel. This is not a race. Make sure you move somewhat slowly and deliberately so you don’t get off center or bend it in a funky manner.
Here’s what one side formed to the ring mandrel looks like:
Step 4: Once you get the one side formed to the mandrel, repeat the process on the other side. If you don’t have fat fingers like me, the ends will overlap in the back of the ring.
Here’s the ring formed to the mandrel (notice it’s at size 5)
What the back of the filigree ring looks like at size 5:
Step 5: Lightly tap all over the ring with a plastic mallet. This will do a couple things. First, it will work harden the ring and help shape it. Second, it will flatten out some areas of the filigree that want to stick out. You do not want to whack it. I hold the mandrel between my knees and twist the ring around to expose each area of the ring. If areas of the filigree still want to stick out, take your flatnose pliers and gently squeeze those areas into place.
Notice I have shaped and hammered my ring at size 5. When I let go of the ring, it slides down to between sizes 6.5 and 7.
Step 6: Cut a length of 20 g wire, about 10″-12″ long. I used Vintaj wire to match the filigree. You can use whatever you want, but I would practice with less expensive wire (not sterling or gold filled) the first couple times you try this
Step 7: Select the bead(s) you want to use for your ring and make sure you can fit the 20g wire doubled through the holes. Then you need to eyeball the bead and the filigree and decide the best area of the filigree to thread the wire through to attach your bead.
Step 8: Place your flatnose pliers in the center of the wire. Make a right angle bend in the wire on both sides of the pliers.
Here’s what it will look like with pliers removed:
Step 9: Thread the wires from through the top of the ring from the inside to the outside.
Step 10: Make sure the wire sits flat against the filigree inside the ring. If it sticks out, it will poke into the wearer’s finger. Ouch! You can do this by squeezing gently with flatnose pliers.
Step 11: Cross the wire ends across the top of the ring and make sure they are flat against the filigree. Using a flatnose or needlenose pliers, make a right angle bend up so that the wires are stick straight up from the ring and meet in the center.
Step 12: Thread your bead(s) onto the wires. Pull them out at right angles as close to the bead as possible in opposite directions
Step 13: I wish I could have taken photos of myself doing this step, but it requires 2 hands so I will do my best to describe how to do it. Take the thumb of your dominate hand and place it in the center of your bead (over the hole where the wires are). Using your other hand, start to spiral one of the wires around the hole. When that wire meets the 2nd wire, let go of the 1st wire and start to spiral the 2nd wire. Think of it as a relay race going around a pole. Often when doing this, it takes a couple times around before the spiral really starts to take shape. Continue to spiral until you are happy with the size and shape. The wires should end up opposite each other when finished.
Step 14: This requires some more decisions based on the size and shape of your bead. In the one I did for the Bead Soup Party, it was a roundish bead without a very flat base. In order to stabilize it, I took both wires and wrapped it around the base of the bead a few times. Then I made a spiral with each wire and called it done.
However, for this particular ring and bead combination, the bead is very flat and has petals. I could have done the same thing as the Bead Soup ring, but decided instead to use the wire to lock the flower bead into place by placing it between petals. While it would be fun for the bead to be able to spin, I wanted the extra stability.
So…after all that explanation, here’s how I accomplished this particular method. Eyeball the bead and decide which holes of the filigree you are going to use. Make sure the petals (bumps, etc) meet up where you want to feed the filigree. Thread the wire down through the hole. You will have to manhandle the wire a bit, but try not to mangle it. Remember to use pliers to feed the wire through and not to make any hard bends in the wire.
Step 15: Feed the wire back up through a different hole next to the one you just used. Flatten the wire against the filigree on the inside of the ring or it will poke the wearer.
Step 16: The wire looks a bit rough at this point. Straighten with nylon jaw pliers. Trim the wire to approximately 1″-1.5″ (it doesn’t matter and depends on how big you want your end spirals).
Step 17: Using round nose pliers, start a coil at the end of the trimmed wire. Using needlenose pliers, continue to coil to where you want the coil to lay on the ring.
Optional: Bend coil out from the ring and hammer with chasing hammer. Bend back into place.
Step 18: Repeat with the 2nd wire.
Step 19: Wear your new ring!
This ring is super easy and quick to make….probably 30 minutes or less. The hardest part is deciding which beads you want to use ;o)
Please let me know if you have any questions. I wrote this up pretty quickly and didn’t have anybody look at it before posting. I will do my best to clarify an confusing parts.