How to Find Your Ring Size and More: 6 Tips for Easy Metal Jewelry Making

We're all abuzz about the new Easy Metal magazine, just released. The editors and designers have outdone themselves with 30 fresh metalsmithing projects that are accessible enough for anyone to do and stylish enough for everyone to want to do!

In step-by-step tutorials from expert jewelry artists like Kate Richbourg, Tamara Honaman, Abbi Berta, Aisha Formanski, and others, you'll learn a variety of ways to do basic and not-so-basic metalsmithing tasks, along with some great tips and advice, like these six I picked for you.

Raku Radiance faux raku polymer clay & metal pendant by Cynthia Blanton
Raku Radiance faux raku polymer clay & metal pendant by Cynthia Blanto

1. Position your work over the table leg when hammering to get the least bounce from your table and the most power from your hammer strikes.

fold formed Batman necklace by Abbi Berta
fold formed Batman necklace by Abbi Berta

2. Invest in a quality chasing hammer. A hammer that is not plated can be repaired and polished when it gets nicked or dinged. Those dings can transfer to your metal in ways you might not want, so a smooth surface is important.

Spinning spinner ring by Jeanette Blix Ryan and Tiny Bubbles tassel necklace by Tamara Honaman
Spinning spinner ring by Jeanette Blix Ryan and Tiny Bubbles tassel necklace by Tamara Honaman

3. To determine your ring size: Cut a strip of paper about 1/2" wide and 5" long. Wrap the strip around your knuckle, since that's usually the largest part of your finger and the ring needs to fit over it. Mark or pinch the paper strip where the end meets and overlaps the paper so the length of the strip will be the exact circumference of your finger. Remove the strip and measure its length in millimeters. Measure the thickness of the metal you're using to make the ring using a millimeter gauge (usually 1-2mm) and add that to the length. If the ring will be wider than 5mm, add an extra half mm to the length, because wider ring bands need to be slightly larger. Round up the final length to a whole number. This final number is how long your wire or metal needs to be cut to make a properly fit ring. Remember to make straight cuts. I love this method because if you meet a potential customer anywhere, you'll always have a piece of paper around to get their ring size on the fly.

Wired Metal Flower Focal by Melissa Meman
Wired Metal Flower Focal by Melissa Meman

4. To avoid losing texture you've already made on wire or metal sheet when you continue working on the reverse side, place a piece of cardstock or craft foam between the bench block and the backside of the metal before hammering.

metal sheet storage tip by Melissa Cable
metal sheet storage tip by Melissa Cable

5. Store metal sheet in clear sleeves in a three-ring binder. This protects the metal from scratches, keeps what you have visible, allows for easy labeling, and makes your entire metal stash portable if you need to take it with you to another room, to a friend's house for a playdate, or to a class.

stamping tip by Aisha Formanski
 stamping tip by Aisha Formanski

6. When metal stamping words and phrases, use a Sharpie marker to place dots on the metal where your letters will go, to ensure proper spacing and to keep you on track as you go. If you make a mistake with the marker, just remove it and try again until you create spacing you like.

Learn more helpful tips and techniques from a variety of jewelry artists and experts in the new issue of Easy Metal. It has 30 brand-new projects (some with kits!) featuring just about any metalsmithing technique you'd want to try, including fold forming, metal stamping, doming and texturing metal, enameling, fusing and soldering, riveting and other cold connections, sawing and cutting metal, etching, tab settings, wirework, creating patinas and more–even some fun ways to use polymer clay with metal–plus tool and torch information that can help even brand-new beginners start on the right track. Make spinner rings, hoop earrings, bangle bracelets, tassel necklaces, and other stylish jewelry with these 30 tutorials. Instantly download or order Easy Metal for all of this and so much more!

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