Updated: Aug 29, 2020
This tutorial will walk you through the steps for making your own adjustable ring with our Vine Ring pressing.
The techniques described in this tutorial can also be used for any of the other ring patterns available on the Metal Maven website.
Click here to see all of the other available ring designs.
First, purchase a Sterling Silver Vine Ring Pressing from Metal Maven
For this ring, Metal Maven used an 18-gauge sterling silver pressing.
The 2.5" X 4" sterling silver pressed sheet can be ordered in 20 or 18 gauge on the Metal Maven website.
With this pressing, you can make all sizes of adjustable rings up to a size 10.5 with NO SOLDERING! If you choose to solder your ring, the maximum ring size is a 9.
PREPARING YOUR RING BAND FOR CUTTING WITH A GUILLOTINE SHEAR OR JEWELER'S SAW
Use a fine tip marker to draw a line along the outside border of the ring band you want to cut. This will help you see the edge when lining up the metal in your shear or when using a jeweler's saw.
CUTTING THE RING BAND
Place your marked pressing on your shear and cut at the line you marked along the border of the ring band. If you don't have a Guillotine Shear, use a jeweler's saw to saw along the line.
Here's a close-up of lining up the pressing in your shear.
Next, mark a line along the opposite border of the ring band.
Here's a close-up of the second cutting line along the border of the ring band.
Place your piece of metal on your shear and cut along the outside edge of your black line, or use a jeweler's saw to cut along the line.
MAKING A RING SIZE TEMPLATE
There are lots of gadgets that can be used to size a ring, but Metal Maven has found the method described in the steps below is the best sure fire way to get a ring size right the first time!
Now that your ring band is cut from the pressing, you will need a template for determining the size of your ring.
Place your ring band on the edge of a piece of paper and trace along the side and ends.
Here's a close-up of the template after marking. (The line is straight, it just looks like it's at an angle because of the angle of the photo.)
Here's what your template should look like. It should match the length and width of the ring band.
Add a piece of tape to the end of the paper template on one side of one edge. Wrap the paper comfortably around your finger and secure with the tape.
If you need to make a template in a certain size for a customer, wrap the paper around a step ring mandrel or wooden dowel and secure with tape.
Slide the ring template off of your finger or ring mandrel, and use a fine tip marker to mark along the edge of the overlapped paper.
Uncurl the template and lay it on a flat surface.
With your template laying in this position, mark a second line about 3.5 mm (or 1/8") to the right of your first marked line. Cut the paper at this second line. This is to allow for the open gap on the back side of your ring to allow for adjustment in size if needed.
If you want to center a flower or some other design element on the front of your ring, fold your template in half and mark the center. Then line up the center mark on your template with the design element you want in the center of your ring, and mark a line on the edge of your ring band where you will cut off the unneeded part of the band.
Here's another example of a centered design. In this case you will need to cut off the unneeded parts of the ring band at both ends.
Place your marked ring band on your shear and cut on the marked lines. If you don't have a shear, use your jeweler's saw.
FILING AND SANDING
Your ring band is now ready for the next steps. In order to make the ring comfortable to wear, you need to round the sharp corners and smooth the edges with a file.
After using a flat file to round the corners and edges of the ring band, use 600 grit sandpaper to smooth the edges of the entire ring band and the rounded corners.
TIP: An easy way to sand the sides and ends is to lay a piece of sandpaper on a clean flat surface, hold the ring band on it's side in this position, and slide it back and forth. Tilt the ring band at an angle to do the edges. (It looks like the ring band below is resting on a countertop, but it is actually on a piece of gray sandpaper.)
Next, smooth the edges of the long sides and ends again with 1000 grit sandpaper.
FORMING YOUR RING
Form the ring by wrapping the ring band around a ring mandrel as well as you can using your fingers. Then use a nylon hammer, a urethane hammer, or a rawhide mallet to finish forming the band by tapping lightly on the band to form it to the mandrel. Metal Maven uses a "stepped ring mandrel" for forming these types of rings because each ring size section is a level plane instead of angled like a regular ring mandrel.
Tip: If you don't have a ring mandrel, you can also use a wooden dowel that is close to your ring size.
A Pepe Ring Bender can also be used to form the ring. If you plan to make a lot of rings, the Pepe Ring Bender is a good investment!
THE FORMED RING
ADDING PATINA TO YOUR RING
Oxidize with Gosiba, Liver of Sulphur, or your choice of blackening agent. Metal Maven used Gosiba (See instructions for using Gosiba at the end of this tutorial). She dipped the ring in the Gosiba for about 6 seconds, then rinsed in cool water.
Next use extra fine grit sandpaper to sand the oxidation from the raised areas on the ring. Metal Maven used 2500 grit sandpaper.
TIP: An easy way to do this is to hold the ring in this position and slide it back and forth on the sandpaper, turning the ring a little with each pass. This will remove most of the patina from the high spots. You can also tear a small strip of sandpaper and use it to gently remove the patina in any area you may have missed.
Lay the ring on it’s side and move across the sandpaper in a figure 8 pattern to remove the oxidation from the sides.
Tear off a small piece of fine grit sandpaper and use it to sand the interior of the ring.
FINAL POLISHING WITH A ROTARY TUMBLER
Your ring is now ready to polish with a rotary tumbler. If you don't have a tumbler you can hand polish with a Sunshine Polishing Cloth.
When using a rotary tumbler, fill the tumbler barrel half full with stainless steel shot, add tap water just to the top of the steel shot, add a drop or two of Dawn, then tumble for at least 2 hours.
CONGRATULATIONS, YOUR VINE RING IS FINISHED!
Front view of completed ring.
Rear view of completed ring.
Fine tip marker
Paper for ring size template
Tape (Metal Maven uses painter's tape because it is easy to remove and doesn't leave a sticky residue)
Guillotine Shear (Metal Maven uses a Durston 300 mm shear)
#6 Flat file
STARCKE or other brand of wet/dry sandpaper
Stepped ring mandrel (or Pepe Ring Bender, or wooden dowel)
Rotary Tumbler with stainless steel shot (or Sunshine Polishing Cloth)
Dawn dishwashing liquid
Gosiba, Liver of Sulphur, or your choice of blackening agent
DIRECTIONS FOR USING GOSIBA:
Pour a small amount in a small plastic container that comes with a lid that seals well. It is not necessary to heat the Gosiba, the direction say to use it at room temperature. Dip your piece in the Gosiba for about 6 seconds and then rinse with cold water. Metal Maven uses a 6” piece of thin stainless steel binding wire folded in half to thread through the loops of earrings and pendants so she can hold onto the ends of the wire while dipping her pieces in the Gosiba. When finished, close the small plastic container with the tight fitting lid - you can re-use Gosiba many times if you store it in a sealed container!