Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.

Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

These simple adjustable stacking rings can be worn one at a time – or one on every finger – or as a whole stack of rings.

Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

A simple patina created by a boiled egg provides fabulously rustic color on the finished pieces.

Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

You’ll get an even more rustic look if you hammer-texture a couple of the rings and scatter them throughout the stack:

Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

We’ll use half-round wire for this project.

The flat side of the wire fits smoothly against your finger, while the domed side makes a nicely rounded shape for a ring (shown below before the patina procedure):

Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Supplies:

  • 12 gauge half-round, half-hard copper wire.
    You can find this shape and gauge of wire in a variety of Etsy shops, and also at many online jewelry wire suppliers.

    How Much Wire Do You Need?

    Measure around the base of your ring-wearing finger to find the size your stacking rings should be. Then multiply that measurement by the number of rings you want to make.

    Example:
    If the circumference of the base of your finger measures 60mm and you want to make 5 stacking rings, you’ll multiply:
    60mm x 5 = 300mm of wire needed.

  • Wire cutter – use a cutter that’s designed to work with the heavier gauge of wire you’re using for this project, so you don’t ruin your regular cutter. I used a Memory Wire cutter.
  • Jeweler’s file – for smoothing and rounding the cut ends of your wire.
  • Small piece of #0000 steel wool – for final smoothing of the wire ends.
  • Ring mandrel – for shaping your rings. (If you don’t have a ring mandrel, use another cylindrical object that’s about the same circumference as your finger).
  • Jeweler’s steel block, plus a rawhide, nylon, rubber, or plastic hammer for shaping your rings around the mandrel.
  • (Optional): Metal texturing tools. I used the ball end of a chasing hammer for a round-dented texture, and the sharp end of a goldsmith hammer for a straight-line texture.

For the Rustic Patina:

  • 1 freshly boiled egg, still hot.
  • 1 ziplock sandwich bag.

How to Make
Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings:

Measure and mark your wire for as many rings as you plan to make.

Cutting multiples of the same length is quicker and easier when you’ve marked all of your cutting lines on the wire at once (I’m measuring for 62mm rings):

Measuring wire for Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now use your wire cutter to snip off each length of wire, right where you drew the marks:

Cutting wire for Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

If you’re making five stacking rings, you should have a pile of wire pieces like this:

Cut wires for Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use your jewelry file to smooth each end and corner of every piece of wire you just cut, so the finished rings will be smooth and comfortable:

Filing wire ends for Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Follow up by using a small piece of #0000 steel wool to do a final smoothing of the ends and length of the wire:

Smoothing wire with steel wool for Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now your smoothed wires should look something like this:

Wire pieces to turn into rings for Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Using your jeweler’s steel block and rawhide, nylon, rubber, or plastic hammer, place one of your wires, flat side down, on the block, so that the domed side of the wire is facing up.

Hammer the entire length of each wire to work harden it, making it sturdier:

Hammer-hardening wire for Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

If you want to texture the domed side of any of your rings, you can use the sharp end of a goldsmith hammer to make small straight lines:

Hammer-texturing wire for Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Or use the ball end of a chasing hammer to make a more rounded hammered texture:

Creating hammered texture for Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now it’s time to shape your rings around the mandrel, one at a time.

Lay one of your wires across the mandrel, with your thumb on top of the center of the wire.

Ideally your wire should be lying across the mandrel mark that’s one ring size smaller than the size you want for the finished ring.

Since this finished ring will be size 10, I’m starting it out on size 9 to get a nice tight curve in the ring:

Shaping ring on the mandrel - Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use the fingers of your other hand to wrap the wire ends as tightly around the mandrel as you can, so that the ends are at the bottom of the mandrel:

Shaping ring on the mandrel - Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now slide the ring down to your desired size on the mandrel (size 10 for the ring I’m making), and use your nylon, plastic, or rubber hammer to thoroughly pound every part of your ring so that it hugs the mandrel closely – exactly on the mark for your desired size:

Shaping ring on the mandrel - Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Slide your ring off the mandrel, and it’s finished. It should look something like this:

Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

After finishing a few more of these rings, you’ll have a little pile of them that’s something like this:

Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

You can wear your copper rings all nice and shiny as they are now . . . or you can give them a lovely, simple patina.

How to Give Your Rings a Rustic Patina Color:

If you want to turn your shiny copper rings into rustic rings that look like this:

After patina process - Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

. . . you can follow the instructions in my simple tutorial, How to Oxidize Sterling Silver and Copper with Boiled Eggs.

I used one hot, crushed, freshly boiled egg in a ziplock sandwich bag to patina seven of these rings.

The patina developed fully on the metal within 20 minutes, but yours may take a longer or shorter time.

Be sure to keep an eye on your rings so you’ll see when they get the coloration you want.

Your finished adjustable stacking rings may look something like this:

Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Want to Learn How to Design
Your Own Wire Jewelry?

Design and Make Artistic Jewelry Components Class In my Design and Make Artistic Jewelry Components video class, you’ll learn how to get great ideas for wire jewelry designs – and then follow my easy system for turning those ideas into successful pieces of jewelry.

By the end of this online video class, you’ll be designing and making your own artistic earwires, clasps, connectors, and pendant bails.

You’ll also learn my tips for making wire jewelry more easily, with more professional looking results.

 

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Comments

  1. Fabulous tutorial! I love the rustic rings all stacked up. The textures are great too.

  2. Thank you, Zoraida! It’s amazing what a bit of texture and patina can do for plain rings.

  3. I am so glad to see this tutorial. I found a roll of this half round brass wire the other day, forgotten in a drawer. I am going to teach my grandsons to make these rings. I’m sure I’ll have to help with some steps but this is a great project for them, not too hard, not too easy. Thanks so much!

  4. That’s wonderful, Lee! I bet they’ll love making these rings – especially the hammering part. 🙂 It’s a good project for young jewelry artists, because there’s not much of any way to mess up the rings.

  5. Love love love all of your tutorials! You are so gifted! 🙂 I have made a few things but aspire to make more, especially these rings. Thanks for having this great place for us to come and learn.
    Cheers!

  6. Again, absolutely awesome tutorial Rena! Thank you so much.

    …. I’ve gotta go find that half round copper wire and get busy!!!!

    🙂

  7. Barbara says:

    What a terrific tutorial! The stackable rings have a funky Bohemian look! Thank you Rena for yet another inspired and incredibly instructive tutorial. I can’t wait to use the boiled egg patina technique!

  8. Thank you for the lovely feedback on this project! 🙂

  9. Sue Shade says:

    What a great tutorial! I never thought about using eggs for patina. I love the simplicity of the rings and the fact this whole process is so organic.

  10. These are fantastic. I love how the style is unisex too!

  11. Wow, I love this so much that I think I’m going to have to invest in all that stuff just so I can make dozens of these gorgeous rings. Thankyou! Mimi xxx

  12. Those are really cool! I had no idea that egg would do that to metal. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  13. These are so beautiful. I love simple jewelry that has a big impact!

  14. Just happen to have some of this copper wire. Think I’ll try this today! Love all of your toots Rena and see some of the fabulous work other people are creating gets me energized and ready to try new ideas! Thank you.

  15. wow who knew it was so easy to make these?! thanks for sharing!

  16. Wow, I love these! My husband makes jewelry, but these seem like something even I could make.

  17. I love the patina and textured effect on these rings 🙂

  18. Jann Olson says:

    Such a creative idea. I love the rustic look!
    hugs,
    Jann

  19. Lovin’ these rings! Thanks for all the pictures, it makes the guide so much easier to follow.

    Trish

  20. Awesome work, Rena! Pinned to my jewelry board also.

  21. Thank you so much, Linda! 🙂

  22. I’m starting to dabble in jewelry making myself, so I appreciate such a thorough and step-by-step tutorial! The rings turned out so cool and beautiful!

  23. Awesome tutorial! Looks like it might be a bit difficult for me to do, but I love seeing your process.

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