Saturday, July 26, 2008

How to make jump rings

Handmade jump rings and coil of wire ready for cutting.
After posting the step-by-steps for the bee garden bracelet, France asked for a bigger pic of the jump ring mandrel. So here it is:

different sized metal mandrels for the jump ring makerThis jump ring maker is from Beadalon. It makes (from left) 8mm, 7mm, 6mm and 4mm. It's also available in 16mm, 14mm, 12mm and 10mm and there is an oval jump ring maker available too.
I thought I'd add a tutorial on how to make your own jump rings too. It's not a difficult thing to do but sometimes it's helpful to have pictures. The advantage of making your own is being able to choose the gauge of the wire as well as the diameter of the rings and of course, you can choose a colour to match your project!
Materials for making jump rings: flush cutters, jump ring mandrel and 20 gauge wireFirst, gather what you need: wire, flush cutters and the jump ring maker. For making jump rings, you must use flush cutters rather than wire cutters so that you get a flat cut across the wire and not a pointed cut. Choose the mandrel according to the size jump ring you need for your project and screw it into the base.
Jump ring making tool set up with 4mm mandrel
Begin by inserting the end of the wire into the small holeInserting the wire into the slot of the jump ring mandrel
and then bend the tail over so that it's secure.Jump ring mandrel threaded with wire, ready to start the coilNext, place your finger into the larger hole. Hold the mandrel and the wire in the other hand and begin to wrap the wire around the rod beginning close to the clear base. As you wind, keep the coils close together so that your jump rings will be uniform in shape.
Winding the wire around the mandrel to create the jump ring coil
Once you've formed a coil, cut away the roll of wire. Cutting the wire spool away from the jump ring coil on the mandrel with flush cuttersStraighten the tail you placed through the hole in the beginning Removing the beginning wire from the jump ring mandreland slide the coil off the end of the mandrel. Sliding the jump ring coil off the mandrel.
OK, so now you've got a length of tightly coiled wire, how do you turn that into jump rings?

This is where the flush cutters come into their own. They will leave a nice flush cut on one side of every cut you make.

To begin with, trim away the tail from the coil.
Using flush cutters to trim away the excess wire from the end of the jump ring coilCut the rings from the coil one at a time.Cutting the jump rings from the coil using the flush cutters Some of the jump rings cut from the coil and the remaining coil ready for cutting into jump rings.
Notice that one side is flush but the other isn't. Single jump ring. One side is flush cut and the other is jagged.You'll need to trim the opposite side of the ring in the same way so that it too has a nice flush cut. Use a pair of flat pliers to hold the ring or if you prefer hold it between your thumb and index finger.

Holding the jump ring in the jaws of chain nose pliers with the opening of the jump ring to the sidePlace the flat side of the flush cutters against the jagged edge of the jump ring and cut.

Using flush cutters to trim the jagged end of the jump ring so that it is flatIf necessary, nip away any burrs that might be left.After trimming the jump ring with flush cutters, both ends are flat
Trimming both ends flush like this will give you very neat jump rings that butt together really well making the joins much less conspicuous.
I often make a coil much larger than what I need especially when I'm working with gold or silver and I cut off only what I need for the project. The rest I place in ziplock bags for the next time I need jump rings of that size and colour.
Mauve coil and rust coil of waiting to be cut into jump rings.
You can also use a jeweller's hack saw, but you will actually slice away a portion of the jump ring when you cut it and when it's formed into a ring its internal diameter will be slightly smaller than the mandrel you formed it on. So take this into consideration if you need your jump rings to be the exact size of the mandrel.

You might also enjoy this related post:
How to make triangle jump rings

Pin it for Later!
Pinterest Pin tutorial sheet - DIY Jump Rings in any size your want.

'Til next time...

Would you like to comment?

  1. Thank you for the pics! I use different size knitting needles to make my jumprings, I'd love an oval jump ring maker, I think they are the best. I usually use two knitting needles to make those, side by side. Slippery but it works!! I like the "tidying up of the other side" of the jump ring bit! Makes perfect sense, now!

  2. Hi Mylene, just started following your blog and reading through some of your older posts I came across this one. I've just purchased the oval beadalon jump ring maker and I'm having trouble sliding the wire off the mandrel. Any hints or tips? I know this is one of your older posts and I'm not sure sure you'll even get this comment but one can only try.

  3. Hi Davinia
    Nice to meet you here!
    The trick with making oval jump rings is NOT to slide the coil off the mandrel but rather to cut the individual rings whilst the coil is still on the shaft. This will help ensure all your cuts are in the same place.
    Hope that helps you.

  4. hi Mylene, your blog was very helpful, Thanks...can you tell me the name of the flush cutter and where did you buy it.

    1. Hi Lois,
      Thank for stopping by. I use a Beadalon semi flush cutter and bought it in Australia. I paid around AUD$75 but I've seen them for around the $60 mark since. It's certainly not the cheapest one on the market but it's excellent to work with and I think it's worth investing in good tools. Here's a link to the Beadalon website: (3rd one down the page).
      In the US you should be able to pick them up for around half that price.
      Glad you've find my blog helpful.


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