Jump rings are the most basic part of wire jewelry making, used in everything from link joining, to simple bails, to chainmaille. While jewelry purists will argue that jump rings should be sawn apart, I offer this free tutorial showing how to make a few quick jump rings.
You will need:
- A length of wire, at least 22 gauge
- something round to use as a mandrel to wind the wire around
- two chain-nose pliers, or one bent-nose and one chain-nose pliers
Step 1: Leaving a one-inch tail to hold on to, begin winding your wire around the mandrel. You can wind the wire straight from the spool to minimize waste.
I’m using a step mandrel, and a scrap piece of 20-gauge round copper wire to demonstrate.
Step 1 con’t: Hold the one-inch wire tail between your left thumb and forefinger, and wrap the wire around the mandrel. I’m wrapping around the 3 mm part.
Step 2: Be sure the wraps around the mandrel are as close together as you can make them. When you have the desired number of wraps, cut the wire off.
Slip the coiled wire off the mandrel. Here’s what we have so far.
Step 3: With your cutters, cut each ring, one at a time.
Here’s what we have after cutting – we have two good round jump rings, and two pieces of scrap. Discard the scrap, or throw in your scrap box.
Step 4: Open the jump ring as follows: Using both of your chain-nose pliers (or whatever combination of chain, bent-nose, or flat-nose you have on hand), grasp the ring on either side of the cut. The plier jaws are across both sides of the ring.
Step 5: Tilt the jaws of the pliers in your right hand TOWARD you. The jump ring is now open.
DO NOT open jump rings by spreading the cut ends away from each other! You’ll end up with weak, misshapen rings.
Step 6: Notice how one of your cut ends is flat, and one is pointed? We’re going to trim the pointed one.
Step 6 con’t: Position your cutters so you’ll be leaving a flat end when you trim. Only trim off the point. Now you’ll have cut ends that meet flush when you close the jump ring.
Step 7: Close the jump ring: Grasp the ring, as before, with two pairs of pliers. Move the cut ends back and forth, past each other, moving closer each time.
You should be able to make the ends meet flush in about 3 – 4 passes. Too much back-and-forth movement will make the jump ring brittle and misshapen.