Make Riveted Bead Stack Rings to Show Off Your Favorite Gemstone or Glass Beads

I have a hard time resisting beautiful handmade lampwork glass beads, but I don’t use them in jewelry making much, so they never get seen. I’m excited about this project by our friend and guest blogger Laurel Nathanson.

Through the years I’ve collected a few of those rings that allow you to change up which lampwork glass bead you wear on them, but they’re never just the right size for my beads–so again, they never get worn. With this quick and easy project, I can make a different ring that perfectly fits each bead and wear them alone or in stacks to show off my favorites. And they don’t have to be lampwork glass beads–ceramic, clay, gemstone, and any other favorite bead will work!

Make Riveted Wire and Bead Stack Rings
By Laurel Nathanson

I suspect I am not the only one here with a bead obsession, right? I thought so. . . .

As a metalsmith with a passion for beads, I am always looking for cool ways to integrate beads into my metal work. These wire and bead rings are fun, easy, and great for stacking.

Like a traditional rivet, the key to these rings is to have your bead hole and your wire a close fit. Snug is good, but you can get a way with a hair loose, but only a hair.

Materials:

12-gauge sterling silver wire
sterling silver wire for rivets in various gauges (14, 16, 18, to match your bead holes)
beads of your choice (gemstone, lampwork glass, clay, etc.)
soldering set up with hard and medium solder, flux
pickle set up (pot, pickle, copper tongs)
rubber or rawhide mallet
chasing hammer
riveting hammer
ring mandrel
basic metalworking supplies (files, pliers, center punch)
flush cutters or jeweler’s saw
drill or flex shaft with drill bits to match riveting wire

Steps:

1. Using 12-gauge wire, solder shut your band with hard solder. (You can see complete ring/band-making instructions here.)

2. After pickling and making your band round, texture your band with a variety of hammers if you choose. I use the small round end of a chasing hammer.

3. With your band on the mandrel with the seam at south, use your hammer to gently flatten and spread the wire band at north to accommodate adding the wire rivet there.

4. For beads using an 18-gauge wire or smaller: I drill into the band so I can solder the wire into the hole for added strength. Here’s how:

– Use a center punch and hammer to create a starter hole.

– Using a drill bit the same size as your riveting wire, drill through your band.
– Using medium solder, solder your wire into the band. I place the solder on the inside of the ring, as shown. Pickle. Trim the wire from the inside and file flush.
For riveting wire heavier than 18 gauge: Use a third arm and medium solder to solder the wire onto your band. Pickle and clean.
5. Feed your bead onto the wire rivet. Allowing the thickness of 16-gauge sheet to stick out above your bead, cut the wire with the flush side of your cutters. File so it is really flush.

6. Using the rounded end of a chasing hammer, or a riveting hammer, gently tap the end of the wire until a rivet forms. Be careful not to hit your bead.

I make many of these at once, and I work in batches of five. You will love mixing and matching these with each other and with other rings. —Laurel

See another fun ring project by Laurel in the September/October issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine. They’re on the cover! You can get it and dozens of other great projects, tips and techniques, tool reviews and more when you subscribe to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine.

Love Laurel’s bright, playful jewelry style? Check out her other tutorials on Jewelry Making Daily: Polymer Clay and Metalsmithing: Make Bright and Fun Tab-Set Pendants and Colorful Copper: Make Square Rings Using Enamel or Resin and Hardware Store Copper Pipe.

About the designer: Laurel Nathanson is an artist, metalsmith, and high school shop teacher. Her jewelry line, Sugarcoat, combines her roots as a jeweler with her passion for pattern and surface design. She lives in a purple house in Oakland, California, with her beloved Bichons, Bonnie and Bailey. Learn more about Laurel and see her work on her website and Facebook page.

 

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