Rustic Adjustable Stacking Rings (Tutorial)
by Rena Klingenberg. © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved
These simple adjustable stacking rings can be worn one at a time – or one on every finger – or as a whole stack of rings.
A simple patina created by a boiled egg provides fabulously rustic color on the finished pieces.
You’ll get an even more rustic look if you hammer-texture a couple of the rings and scatter them throughout the stack:
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):
- 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.
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):
Now use your wire cutter to snip off each length of wire, right where you drew the marks:
If you’re making five stacking rings, you should have a pile of wire pieces like this:
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:
Follow up by using a small piece of #0000 steel wool to do a final smoothing of the ends and length of the wire:
Now your smoothed wires should look something like this:
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:
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:
Or use the ball end of a chasing hammer to make a more rounded hammered texture:
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:
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:
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:
Slide your ring off the mandrel, and it’s finished. It should look something like this:
After finishing a few more of these rings, you’ll have a little pile of them that’s something like this:
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:
. . . 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: