Wire Ring Making With Eva Sherman: 5 Tips for Making Stylish Wire Rings and More

I love antiquing, junking, estate sale shopping, treasure hunting in stores and in nature. In doing so, I seem to discover an endless supply of things that I think would make a great ring–vintage beads, buttons, coins or tokens, shells, orphan earrings, seed pods, Roman glass, beach glass, and more. What I don't have, however, is the big box of cash it would take to buy enough silver to make all those rings! Not to mention the time to make them all. Fortunately there's a quicker, easier, and more affordable way to make rings with just about any found object: wire.

If you've got some wire, you can make rings! Quick, affordable rings to showcase all those found objects and treasured bits that you think would be just right for jewelry. And even if you don't have the same found-object "problem" I have, you can make stylish rings using wire alone. Our new 13 Rings with Eva Sherman Using Wire Coiling, Wire Bezeling, and Organic Wire Techniques video workshop shows how to make more than a dozen different ring designs using wire alone or wire with crystals or beads and more.

Here are just five of the many handy jewelry-making tips I gathered from just watching parts of Eva's video. Number five is my favorite–who knew?

1. When annealing wire, look for a dull red. You don't want to get to a cherry-red state when annealing, because at that point, the metal is starting to melt. This can quickly lead to ruin if you're not careful, especially when working with silver. If you have trouble seeing the shades of red in the hot metal, dim the lights.

2. Be sure to dry metal jewelry projects-in-progress after quenching or pickling and before using them with your steel tools to prevent rust. Rust on your tools (and on your projects, when it transfers over to them) can be a bigger nuisance than you might think.

3.  Use plastic or wooden tongs when you dip and remove metal in liver of sulfur. Metal tongs can mar the metal and remove the patina where they touch each other; also, in some cases, different metals can react with the liver of sulfur solution and affect your patina.

4. When making rings, keep both hands free by securing your ring mandrel in a ring mandrel clamp. Then you're free to hold the ring in one hand and hammer with the other, or twist wire with both hands, etc. Somehow I've made rings for years without knowing about these little clamps! If you have a mandrel already and are looking to buy a clamp, make sure the mandrel you have will work with the clamp you're considering before you buy.

5. Ever wonder why your metal (copper in particular) has a milky or matte appearance after pickling? I always assumed it was just residue from the pickle that I needed to clean off, but I learned from Eva's video what it actually is and why it won't just wash off. When the hydrochloric acid in pickle cleans or "pulls off" the firescale from the metal, it also pulls the ends of the copper or other metal molecules up into a vertical position. This is the same upright-molecule situation that makes fired metal clay dull when it's fresh from the kiln, before burnishing. To remove the dullness, you have to scrub the metal surface with steel wool or a brass brush to burnish and flatten those molecules back down where they can again reflect light and shine like you expect metal to do. Tumbling also works.

See these tips in action and learn so much more when you order Eva Sherman's wire ring-making compilation DVD, 13 Rings with Eva Sherman Using Wire Coiling, Wire Bezeling, and Organic Wire Techniques. It's like five separate videos in one convenient DVD (or you can order five lesson videos separately in the Jewelry Making Daily Shop). In the DVD, you'll learn how to use a common hardware store drill to create perfect wire coils (for rings or other jewelry projects and designs); how to get comfortable with a torch slowly and easily when you use it for annealing and making balled head pins; how to get the right size in wire rings that have a tendency to grow or shrink during the making process; and so much more.

With 13 ring projects and hours of instruction, you'll finish this video workshop with the ability to whip up all the wire rings you want, anytime an occasion or your stash calls for it!

P.S. Can't get enough wire jewelry making? Check out all the wirework and other fun jewelry-making classes being offered at Bead Fest this year. With jewelry classes in metalsmithing, wire, enameling, beading, metal clay, and so much more, you're going to have a hard time choosing!

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