Foundations in Metalsmithing: Statement Earrings

Lesson 16/21 - Making Jump Rings to Connect Your Metal

 

Foundations in Metalsmithing: Statement Earrings

 

Lesson Info

Making Jump Rings to Connect Your Metal

So now we wanna go ahead and make our jump rings to connect our pieces together. And, I know what some of you are thinking, well Megan, can't I just buy jump rings? Yes, you can absolutely just buy jump rings, and if that's what you would prefer to do, that is totally fine, if you're like, I don't wanna make jump rings, that's crazy. Go ahead and buy them. But, I like to make my own jump rings because it means it's less stuff I have to stock, right? So, if you buy jump rings you need to make sure you're ordering them in advance in the right size, whereas if you're making them, you just need to have your coil of wire, and the correct size dowel rod. And pretty much anything that's round can be used as a dowel rod for jump rings. So, I've used thicker gauge wire in my studio, knitting needles are really popular. Pretty much if you can find something round, you can make a jump ring. So this is why I like to make jump rings. So, for this um, for what we're doing here, what I find is 18 gau...

ge wire and about a 3/16th or one h, 1/8th inch dowel rod makes the right size. So I would say 3/16ths, which is a little bit bigger, is good if you've got kind of bigger design elements. If you know you're working a little bit smaller, you could size down to an eighth inch dowel rod. Alright. So what we're gonna do here is I'm just gonna start by cutting off just a little bit of wire and wrapping it around my dowel rod. Now, I am pretty much a just start wrapping kind of person, but as I have learned, I have pretty freakishly strong hands, which is probably from 15 plus years of metalsmithing, um, and so if you're having trouble getting a really tight coil, you could actually drill a hole in the end of your dowel rod, insert your wire in, and start wrapping from there. So if you're struggling to do this step, that's a really good way to do it. The other thing that you can do is if you have access to a vice, or a friend who's willing to hold a pair of pliers, you can have them hold the end, put the end in the vice, or have a friend hold it, and then just roll up to it. So there are a couple of little tricks that you can do. The other thing is, you know, figure out how many jump rings you need for your project, because you're not gonna need to make a lot, like here I am making this ridiculous coil, I don't need to. So, I've got this little coil of wire, and I personally prefer to work on wooden dowel rods, because you can cut into them, right, so we're gonna cut this with our saw frame, and a wooden dowel rod is really easy to cut into. Now, you can cut into the end of a knitting needle, but warning, knitting needles are aluminum, and aluminum is a contaminate, right, so if we're cutting into our knitting needle, that's actually going to potentially contaminate our tools. So if you are using something that you can't cut into, you can cut away from the dowel rod, and I'll show you guys how to do this, but it's really easiest to cut on a dowel rod, which is why I like to just keep a handful in my studio. The other thing is, a lot of times when you buy dowel rods, they're gonna be three feet long, uh, a dowel rod this size, you can just actually cut it with your jeweler's saw. So just cut it down, even thicker ones I'll cut like partway and then I'll just snap 'em. So, you don't wanna work with a three foot dowel rod. Alright. So, we're gonna work on the end of our bench pin here to cut this. And what I've found is the trickiest thing about cutting jump rings is like, trying to hold this thing and keep it from bouncing while you're cutting this little thing here, so what I have discovered is that a little bit of tape... and I will just tape my dowel rod right to my bench pin. And I usually like to stick some, this tape is sticky. I usually like to stick some here, closer to the end. The other thing that you can do, and you just have to be careful, because you don't want it to slide off and fall on your foot, but if you have something heavy, like you can stick your steel block or something here, and this just means that you don't have to use as much energy holding down your jump rings. And now what we're gonna do is just come in here with our saw, and this is where we get to break the vertical rule, right? Because it's, you can't really like, saw vertically, we're gonna cut through both sides, and we only need to cut through one side. But we're gonna go ahead and just come in here and just like with all our other sawing, starting is the hardest, but once you get the hang of it. I'm just cutting through. And then I'll just stop and pull off my jump rings, and then we have these little guys here. Those on our little sheet, and, now I know some of you are thinking can I just cut these with wire cutters, but the problem with wire cutters is that they pinch our ends, and so when we cut them with our saw frame, we get a nice, flush end, that's gonna stay tight and closed. So I'll just keep doing this here. And really you can see with this secured, it's pretty fast, I can cut off a lot of jump rings at one time. And as I mentioned, if you need to for some reason, because you can't cut on whatever it is you've wrapped them around, you can also just sort of like, press it up against your bench pin, and saw them in the air, too. It's clearly more awkward, like, let's be real about this, which is why I like my wooden dowel rods, 'cause then I can just cut into them, and you can see, I've got a nice little groove here in my wooden dowel rod. So, one more thing and we will get back to this when we do our assembly, but, um, the makeup artist this morning was asking me, she was like, I have these jump rings and I could not get them closed tight. So when we're taking our jump rings, you never wanna pull them apart this way, we always wanna twist them open. So, we'll get back to that when we assemble, but I wanna point that out now, while we're talking about jump rings. So always twist them open, never pry them apart.

Class Description

Learn the basics of metalsmithing to make stunning statement earrings (and more!) - no torch required!

Getting started in metalsmithing doesn’t have to be scary. In Foundations in Metalsmithing: Statement Earrings, you’ll learn the basic skills you need to start making metal jewelry, as well as the design principles to create your own unique pair of statement earrings, all with less than $100 in tools! (And, you’ll be able to apply those tools and new-found skills to expand your ideas into a full line of jewelry!)

In this class, jewelry designer and metalsmith Megan Auman will show anyone how to get started making one of a kind metal jewelry.

You will learn how to:

  • Choose the right tools and materials for your metal jewelry projects.
  • Design incredible (and comfortable to wear) statement earrings with balance and movement.
  • Saw and pierce to create any shape from sheet metal.
  • File and finish your metal pieces so they look professional.
  • Create your own ear wires to finish off your unique design.

Whether you’re looking to grow your existing jewelry making knowledge or for a new creative outlet that you can proudly wear (and show off!), you’ll leave this class with your own pair of stunning statement earrings - and the skills and design chops to expand your ideas into a complete line of jewelry!  

Reviews

user 1398976626171314
 

One of the most special things about Megan, is that though she is a creative, she is extremely good at business. Her organized way of thinking and presenting material, and her genuine joy when empowering her students with the tools needed to be successful, is charming and so much fun. Somehow there is such seamlessness and flow to her class structure and explanations, that I can absorb what she says and easily retain it. I really can start a jewelry line just with this class. She is amazing and LOVE her style!!!

user-172aa6
 

I really enjoyed this class! Megan provides a great foundation for using metal sheets to design/make jewelry and using wire to make unique findings. This was a great class for learning the fundamentals and sparking inspiration for new projects

Vernell Bevelander
 

I LOVED this class! Megan is such a detailed teacher. She leaves no stone unturned. So much fun! Can't wait for my next class!