How to Make Your Own Jump Rings

May 6, 2009

How to Make Your Own Jump Rings

More than once this week I’ve run out of a certain bead at the end of a piece. And I don’t mean three-quarters of the way through. I mean I literally need just one or two more beads to finish. It’s a situation that’s not quite worth making an extra trip to the bead store, but surely warrants a full-scale tear through my studio and couch cushions.

I know I’m not alone on this one. It’s frustrating, isn’t it? I usually end up finding a close, but not-quite-right substitute that only I will notice. Or sometimes I just throw in the towel and use the opportunity to add a “spirit bead”—an obviously wrong-colored bead to remind the world that my piece is human-made. Not sure that the world needs that sort of reminder, but I’ll go along with the story if it means I can have a completion experience.

Speaking of spirit beads, I was flipping through Linda Chandler and Christine Ritchey’s Jewelry Studio: Wire Wrapping book this morning. These ladies should put some spirit beads in their pieces because they look like they were forged by magical elfin goldsmiths! Boy, they do beautiful work. I have to admit, I was daunted by the projects until I started looking at the hundreds of photos that show the step-by-step how-tos. When the pieces are broken down into such easy steps, they really aren’t as scary as I thought. They look downright easy, actually. And when I read their introduction about using the book’s directions only as a general guide so I could branch off and do my own thing later, I realized maybe these two really are human. I’d highly recommend this book for anyone looking to make high-quality intricate wire jewelry and learn some great techniques at the same time.

Making your Own Jump Rings

One technique Linda and Christine cover in their book is how to make your own jump rings. This is a great way to start getting comfortable with wire wrapping before you try some of the projects in the book.  It came in handy for me this week as I worked on my next Beadwork “Designer of the Year” piece. I was just 3 jumprings short! What a nice thing to be able to whip up a few using a few simple tools:

1. Hold a length of wire perpendicular against an appropriately sized pencil or dowel, leaving a short tail.



2. Use your fingers or chain-nose pliers to coil the wire tightly around the pencil or dowel for as many revolutions as you need jump rings, plus one or two. Go slowly, ensuring that the wraps touch one another.


 
3. Remove the wire from the pencil or dowel. Flush cut the wire ends, creating a clean coil.


4. Turn the cutters the opposite direction so you can flush cut the first jump ring off the coil, making the cut so it’s even with the first wire end. 

5. Turn the cutters again so it faces the opposite direction. Flush cut the very tip of the wire. This will ensure that your next ring is flush-cut, too.

6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 to remove all the jumprings from the coil.



Pretty easy, huh? The neat thing about making your own jump rings is you aren’t limited by wire gauge or type—you can use any size of round, square, or twisted wire to make truly unique findings.

Do you have a special technique to share that helps avoid an extra trip to the bead store? Please share it on the website.


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Comments

HelenH wrote
on May 6, 2009 1:34 PM
This is great Jean. Now what size wire? 20 gauge? I read you faithfully. Helen
on May 6, 2009 2:20 PM
Helen--that's the beauty of making your own! You can use any type or gauge of wire and any dowel size, depending on your need. The wire I used in the photos is 20-gauge. Good luck! Jean
Kat West wrote
on May 6, 2009 5:36 PM
How To Avoid A Trip To The Bead Store: After being six beads shy of finishing a beaded needle case early on in beading, my primary axiom is ALWAYS buy a minimum of two of whatever it is.(Strands, hanks,vials etc.) Although this is stating the obvious I have found that any time I strayed, Murphy reared his ugly head and I was left turning the air blue, six beads shy of finishing. Kat West
SallyB@40 wrote
on May 6, 2009 6:32 PM
A good item to wrap the wire around is a knitting needle. You can chose the exact size of jump ring you want by the size of the needle. Works perfect for me and it is easy to hold onto.
perennes wrote
on May 7, 2009 5:28 AM
hello from France...in Touraine, the country with many castles... thanks you so much ! it's very simple ! bye !
AndreaM226 wrote
on May 7, 2009 10:16 AM
I love making my own jumprings - using 20ga artistic wire you can make colored jumprings for wire and chain necklaces - the only thing I do differently is to wiggle each jump ring with chain nose pliers back and forth until they meet perfectly and then I whack them with a plastic mallet, hardens them and gives them a finishing touch that makes them easier to work with later - it DOES NOT flatten them for a hammered look, you have to use a different hammer for that. Knitting needles are my favorite mandrel, they come in sizes from 0000 for 3 and 4mm jumprings and and go up - I mark my knitting needles with a little piece of blue tape at the top indicating what size jump ring that particular needle makes. It's really hard for me to come up with a reason NOT to go to the bead shop - I think the only things I've ever done to save a trip to my favorite place is make my own jumprings and if I find that I don't have enough beads for a strung piece I've been know to make it long enough using chain to finish the ends - the chain can make the necklace more comfortable and has often led to a single strand turning into a multi strand with 2 or 3 to one connectors joining it to the chain. It's also a great way to use up the smaller pieces of chain you have left over from other projects.
SmokieS wrote
on May 7, 2009 12:16 PM
I appreciate knowing how to make jump rings, but when reading the description, I was also curious to know what size wire would be appropriate. Some wires are thinner than others and would not be suitable. What size would you recommend?
Kokopelli wrote
on May 8, 2009 1:19 AM
But always consider, that the jump rings end up a little smaller than the chosen dowel because of the flush cutting technique. This is not really important for jump rings at the end of a necklace, but for chainmaille jewelry this can make the difference if a certain chain weave works or not.
robbsl wrote
on May 12, 2009 6:14 AM
For a bracelet that was going to be too short, I just added an S hook, and it looked intentional. I made a few more the same way, since it looked so nice!. I do wire wrapping, but this could be done with a purchased link as well. I agree with Kokopelli Design, there are times that making your own jump rings is not worth it. Chainmaille needs specific gauges and ID to work. Just something to keep in mind!
on Jun 4, 2009 8:19 AM
I learned to make jump rings when i kept running out to the store to buy more to complete a project,but i would really like to know how to make a snape jump rings so someone please help?. Virdena L