I want to share a tip with you that you will save money if you are using lots of jump rings in your work. People who do chain maille work or jewelry will know what I mean. I use a lot of jump rings in my work as part of the setting around the pebble, broken china or piece of sea glass.
I also use them when I make the leather necklace for some of my pendants, both as the top bail of the actual pendant and then to attach the extender chain and also to attach the sterling lobster clasp for these.
I also only use sterling silver in my work and I got tired of paying 10 – 15 cents per jump ring. And then I wanted certain sizes, so it was just easier to learn to make my own. And I’m all about being a DIYer and claiming my work is as handmade as it can be.
- Mandrel (I’ve used a kebab skewer or a knitting needle).
- 22 gauge wire (I use dead soft sterling wire from RioGrande.com)). You can decrease the gauge wire if you need stronger jump rings. The lower the gauge of wire the thicker the wire. It’s kind of weird. (I believe the US measuring gauge system is different from other places).
- Jewelry saw with saw blades
- Flush cutter pliers
- Masking tape.
- Cordless drill or hand drill.
- Position the start of your wire so that it is parallel to your mandrel (knitting needle).
- Adjust your drill bit receptacle so that it grips the piece of wire and the mandrel.
- Press the trigger of the drill but do it slowly, you want the wire to coil in a controlled way and almost look like a tightly wound spring.
- Keep going for as many jump rings as you want to make. Stop when you think you have enough. (You can actually do this by hand, but with a drill is much faster.)
Jump rings on the knitting needle mandrel after coiling it on the drill.
Jump rings ready for cutting with either flush cutters or with jewelry saw.
- Undo the drill bit adjuster and slide the new jump ring coil off the mandrel.
- You now have two choices of how to cut the jump rings. If you are going to need closed jump rings or be needing a really close fit to the jump ring, like for chain maille or for silver smith soldering, you need to saw the jump rings. If you are not needing major strength out of your jump rings or you are using a soft soldering technique, then you can just cut them with sharp flush cutter pliers.
Cutting the jump rings with sharp flush cutters.
- For a perfect flush type of jump ring, you need to wrap the coil of jump rings with masking tape. Do a couple of layers of tape. Then wedge the roll gently into your vice and saw gently with your jewelry saw. As the saw cuts through the jump rings, they tend to get caught on the saw blade and possibly drop off, so you want to catch them before they do this. I don’t know about you, but my work bench is in our garage and I don’t like losing sterling silver teeny things on the concrete floor or under the car!!
Jump rings in coil and wrapped in masking tape ready for sawing with the jewelry saw
Gently cutting and sawing the jump rings in a lightly tensioned vise. Yes, that's my messy work bench in the back ground with china broken and ready for their settings.
Handful of completed jump rings ready for all sorts of jewelry projects.
- One final tip about jump rings, never pull them apart, (like making them an open C shape), always open and close them keeping the O shape as much as you can. It stresses the wire too much and can break and you lose the nice round shape you made around your mandrel.
- Thanks so much for reading this. I hope it was useful info for you and that you will save some $$$’s doing this. I know I have save lots of money making my own jump rings. Feel free to pin this post so that others can benefit from it too..
I have some other jewelry making blogs if you are interested. They are:
- making resin pendants
- making your own ear wires
- torch firing precious metal clay (PMC)