June 19, 2014

{HOW TO} Make This: Stamped Cylindrical Ring

One of my favorite things about the Beaducation Blog is that it is a more thorough platform to show people how to make fun projects! This week we look at some of our free online classes and create a finished piece that is a mash-up of three different classes. This project uses the techniques from Riveted Rock Band, Introduction to Soldering, and Mandala Stamping. All of these classes are free, online, and fantastic!

We created this ring for our DIY Project section. Check out the actual DIY Project for the full list of tools and materials used to make this ring, then come on back to view all the step by step photos for the portions we did that are outside the class instructions.

We start out with a few inches (approximately 2"-3") of 12 gauge fine silver wire, a couple of inches (2"-3") of sterling silver flat wire, two 19mm sterling silver circle blanks (we used 18 gauge, but any gauge can work --  note that thicker gauges will be easier to solder to the ring, as they distort less when stamped), and a size 7 sterling silver ring blank. 

As you can see in the image below, the 19mm circle blank fits the circumference of the size 7 ring blank very well.  

Line everything up to double check that the fit is correct and to make sure things are going in the right direction.  Then take the two circle blanks and punch a center hole into each one.  It helps to mark the center of the blank, and we have found there are a couple ways to make this easier.  One way is to use our Charts section on our site; there is a chart devoted completely to finding the center of a circle.  The other way is with a Center Locater Tool.  Once you have marked the center point, go ahead and punch a hole.  We used a pair of Power Punch Pliers and created a hole withe the 3/32" punch bit, that's the smallest in the set.  above on the right you can see the two blanks, each with a hole punched in the center.

With the same 3/32" Power Punch bit, punch a hole at one end of the flat wire. Once all of the holes are punched (2 circle blanks and one flat wire), go ahead and start stamping away!

We used a variety of design stamps.  The ring photographed at the top has a star motif.  We used six different star design stamps along with some other stamps like the letter "v" from our 3.2mm Block Set and a 4.5mm parenthesis stamp and peppered them in to add to the pattern.  We also used a letter set to stamp a message onto the flat wire, so ultimately when the ring is finished, there will be a hidden sentiment inside the ring band.

Above you can see our stamped circle blanks and flat wire. The flat wire has two sides that can be visible, so we went ahead and stamped both sides. The one that is intended to be on the outside is repetitively stamped with stars and the other side has "My lucky star, Ruby" stamped on it.

To stamp the ring blank, we used a ring mandrel and a sand bag for the base.  These two items create the perfect surface to stamp a ring.  As you can see below, the ring kept its shape beautifully and the stars stand out well even before getting oxidized. If you haven't tried stamping on a ring before, check out our free online video class to learn this technique!

Now is the time to create a large head pin.  This handmade head pin will eventually become a large, homemade rivet!  Our free class, Riveted Rock Band, will show you the steps to create this balled wire head pin. If you aren't familiar with this technique, check out the class and then come back to complete the additional steps for this project.  

Coming back to the stamped circle blanks and stamped ring blank, we are now ready to solder our pieces together. We want our circle blanks as flat as possible, so it would be a good idea to hit them with a plastic mallet to take out any warping that could have occured during the stamping process.  

Then, with the help of our free Introduction to Soldering video, prep the pieces and get soldering!  We soldered all three of the pieces together at once using Silver Solder Paste in Soft.  If you are more comfortable soldering the pieces in two stages, make sure to use two different solder pastes (we recommend Soft and Medium) so the second sodering step does not undo the first.  

Above, you can see the various stages involved to create our cylinder bead.  The top left shows the bead set up for soldering. The top right shows the piece right after soldering. After soldering, we placed our bead into a Little Dipper Pickle Pot with a Citric Acid pickle. This works magic on the bead. When you take it out of the pickle pot, it will look bright and clean without any fire scale. The two lower images show the bead after it has been oxidized and polished. At this point, the bead is complete and ready to be assembled into a ring.

If there is anything that did not turn out quite right, now is the time to fix it. For instance, sometimes during the soldering process, a blank can shift or solder can flow to a place that is not ideal. If these things happen you can take a file and clean up the edges or any part of the bead.  Steel Wool is also a great tool for cleaning up blemishes and creating a nice brushed look.

Here are the fabricated components we have worked on that will come together for the ring:

Take the large balled headpin and threat it through the bead. Mindfully make sure the correct side is showing face-up, with the ball on top.  Then thread it through the stamped flat wire. Again, the outer band should be face-up. The top picture shows the ring as it will be seen when it is being worn and the lower portion shows the stamping that will show on the inside of the band.  

The next step in the process is covered in the online class Riveted Rock Band with Kriss Silva. She will detail how to rivet the ring together and form the ring band. Below is the completed piece! We love how the patterned stars look on our homemade bead! 

Here is an alternative version of this design, which was stamped entirely with a letter set. There are so many options to personalize this ring! 

We hope these step-by-step photos help to visualize how to make this beautiful ring. As always, and feel free to contact us with any questions. Also, we love to see your work, so don't hesitate to email us images of your finished pieces. 

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