Making Jump Rings

An Essential Technique



Making jump rings detailed instructions - this is a wire jewelry making technique that you need to know and it is explained in detail on this page.


Jump rings are those little rings that we use everywhere. They are basic to wire jewelry and even to jewelry making as a whole. They are often the "glue" between components and other times they are the main feature like in chain maille jewelry.

The jump rings can be made in different sizes and can be made of different diameters of wire. What the jump ring looks like is important to your design. However, you always need to use a ring that is strong enough for the job.

When making jump rings you need to consider the strength of the ring. The strength is made up out of the hardness, diameter and size of the wire.

Making Jump Rings Example Bracelet

This bracelet is a sample of jump rings used as links.
It consists of s-links and jump rings (the round rings).


Different Methods
Like with coiling and other basic techniques, there are different methods to make jump rings. The final product is the same. Some methods are more useful when you need only a few jump rings and others are useful when you need tons of the same kind of ring.

The basics of all the methods consist of making a coil and cutting the coil into rings.

Start with a Perfect Coil
You need to start with a perfect coil to make a perfect jump ring. You can make the coil with your round nose pliers, by hand on a mandrel, or by using a wire winder. 

There are specialized tools to do coiling and to cut the coil into rings.

On this page I will explain the method that you can do with basic tools.


Tools

You need the following tools for making jump rings...
  • wire cutters
  • round nose pliers
  • flat nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • wire
  • needle files (optional)

There are three main steps in making jump rings.
  1. Make a coil
  2. Cut the jump rings apart
  3. Close the rings



Instructions... Here We Go


1. Make a Coil

You can use your round nose pliers to make a coil or you can use any other method to make a coil. Have a look at this wire coiling page to learn to make a coil with a mandrel.

Making Jump Rings - Where to start.Start by gripping the wire between the prongs of a round nose pliers. Leave a short piece of wire sticking out at the back of the wire. Put the thumb of your left (non-dominant) hand on the wire where it comes out between the prongs. Start rotating your right (dominant) hand away from your body while guiding the wire to bend with your left (non-dominant) thumb.

Rotate and bend as far as you can. That is about a half turn. Never hurt or strain yourself in the process. Re-grip in the same way as you have started. Turn and bend again.

Making Jump Rings - Where to start.Keep doing your bending at the same position (same diameter) on the prongs of the pliers. 

You should start forming a coil. As the coil forms it needs to move up the prong of the round nose pliers. If you form the coil to the wrong side you will soon get stuck anyway.


Tip:
Mark the prongs of the round nose pliers with a guideline. This will guide you to make the turns of the coil all the same size.


2. Cut the Jump Rings

Cut the extra lengths of wire at both ends of the coil off. Now you have just the coiled piece.

Tip:
Pull the coil slightly apart to make it easier to cut the rings. Use your chain nose pliers in your right (dominant) hand and hold the coil with your other hand and pull a little to separate the rings. You will find that you nick the next jump ring if you don't pull the coil slightly apart.

Next, you blunt cut the one end of the wire coil. Turn your cutters in your hand around and at exactly a full circle cut the coil again. This will form a ring with two blunt ends.

Now you have a jump ring, except that it is open.

Cutting the next ring from the coil:
Turn the cutters around in your hand again. Snip of a small piece of wire to form a flat end (blunt cut) for the start of the next jump ring. Continue as you did for your first jump ring. Cut as many jump rings as you need or until you get to the last full circle of wire.


3. Close the Jump Ring

You need to check that the ends of the ring are clean and smooth before you continue. Use your needle files to clean the ends of the ring if needed.

Use your flat nose pliers and chain nose pliers to close the jump ring.


Instructions... here we go again...

Right Handed's... (Left handed's instructions for opening jump rings.)

Making Jump Rings - Closing the Jump Ring
  1. hold the chain nose pliers in your right hand, and
  2. hold the flat nose pliers in your left hand,
  3. use the flat nose pliers to steady the left side of the jump ring,
  4. use the chain nose pliers to close the other end,
  5. this is more a twist movement than a pull movement.
Making Jump Rings - Closing the Jump Ring


Tip
  • Chain nose pliers and flat nose pliers aren't the only pliers that will work for opening and closing a jump ring. Any combination of two gripping pliers will do.

  • Work harden the rings to make them stronger. Do this with the same technique that you have used to close the jump ring. Twist the ring open to the one side and then open to the other side. Do this a few times before finally closing the ring. Some people refer to this as a rocking movement.


Jump Ring Videos

Go to the Jewelry Making Videos page to watch the making Jump Rings and Closing and Opening Jump Rings videos.



Alternative Wires

Making jump rings with twisted wire is an interesting alternative. There are three twisted wire jump rings in the picture below. They have been soldered closed.

Making Jump Rings Example Pendant



Wrapping It Up

Making jump rings is an essential technique in wire jewelry making, but also in many other jewelry making areas. It’s also one of those techniques that will become second nature when you use it often.





Return to the top of this Making Jump Rings page.

Return to Techniques To Make Wire Jewelry main page.

Return to Wire to Jewelry home.