Friday, January 7, 2011

How to Make Jump Rings

Jump rings are an important component in many jewelry projects. You can purchase commercial jump rings but making your own is both more economical and allows you to make exactly the size and shape jump ring you need for a particular project. Below is a brief tutorial on how to make your own jump rings. 

Round nose pliers  or 3-Step wire looping pliers
Chain nose or bent nose pliers
Wire rounder or needle file or cup burr and flex shaft
Jewelry saw and blades or wire side cutters or flush cutters
Steel bench block or anvil
Rawhide or plastic mallet

Step 1
Wrap the wire around a mandrel. The first and last wrap will not likely result in a nice jump ring. Add at least two wraps to the number of jump rings you require for your project.

We used a mandrel from our dapping set, but you can use many things (inlcuding a pen or pencil) as a mandrel. The size mandrel determines the size and shape of the jump ring.

Step 2
Remove the coiled wire from the mandrel and cut the coil using a jewelry saw and blades.

If you do not have a jewelry saw and blades, then you can use wire side cutters or flush cutters. Note that a jewelry saw and blades will result in a cleaner cut that will be easier to solder.

Step 3
File the ends of the jump ring smooth using a wire rounder or needle file or cup burr and flex shaft.  

Step 4
Adjust the shape of the jump rings to form a square or an oval, if desired.

Step 5
Place the jump rings on a steel bench block or anvil and hammer the jump rings with a rawhide or plastic mallet to harden the jump rings and prevent them form becoming misshapen. The jump rings may be slightly misshapen when hammering; if needed, adjust the jump rings with chain nose or bent nose pliers.

Note: If you are making a lot of jump rings, consider using a tumbler to harden the jump rings. 

Related Tutorials
How to Use a Jewelry Saw
How to Smooth Sharp Edges on Copper, Brass and Sterling Wire 
Make Earrings from an iTunes Gift Card

Further Reading 
"Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition"; Tim McCreight; 2004.
"Jewelry: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing (Jewelry Crafts)"; Tim McCreight; 1997.  
"Jewelry: Concepts And Technology"; Oppi Untracht; 1982.

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