The Bead Doctor tells you all there is to know (more or less) about the jump ring. This useful little finding comes in all sorts of finishes and sizes and is indispensable in the bead jeweller’s stash.Read on to learn more about the beader’s best friend.
Beader\\\\\\\'s best friend
Jump rings can be bought off the shelf or made from scratch. Both have their advantages.
Shop bought jump rings can be bought in same size packs and are ready to use. The beauty of homemade jump rings is that you're not limited by wire guage or finish. Making your own is also a very handy 'know how' if you are a couple of jump rings short for a project.
Don\\\\\\\'t lose your beads when doing the limbo!
The most important factor with jump rings is knowing how to open and close them. If opened the wrong way they are difficult to close and won't fit together.
Opened the right way and they should close again perfectly, ensuring your beads don't go cascading to the floor whilst you're practising the limbo!
How NOT to open a jump ring!
A very common mistake with opening jump rings is to pull them apart. However, this will make it very difficult to close and harder to get a neat finish.
How to open a jump ring
Hold one side of the ring with a pair of flat or round nosed pliers and the other side with another pair of pliers or your fingers. To open the jump ring, move one side towards you and one side away.
To close, use the same technique, gripping each side with a pair of pliers and moving one side towards you and one side away. The jump ring should slot together neatly.
Making jump rings
To make several jump rings at once, take a cylindrical dowel, such as a pencil, of the same diameter that you wish to make the jump rings. Wind the wire round the dowel in a tight coil. Work straight from the reel of wire without cutting.
When you have made the coil, line up the cut end with the coil above. Use cutters to snip through for a perfect jump ring. Continue along the whole coil in this way.
Hammering jump rings
This makes a great decorative finish. Place a jump ring on a steel block. Starting opposite the jump ring join, gently tap around with your hammer, until it is slightly flattened all over.
To avoid distortion, close the jump ring by gently moving one wire just past the other. This ensures that the wire wants to spring back onto the cut join and close on itself.
Why limit yourself to using jump rings as basic connectors when you can make an entire range of stunning jewellery? All it takes is a few basic techniques to create items that'll have people 'oohing' and 'aahing' over your talent!
Our medieval design looks fabulous against plain black which shows up the detail to it's fullest.
Our chainmaille triangle design is a real statement piece, perfect for a night out somewhere special.
You can find links to this project, the medieval project and more below.
That pretty much covers most of the basics to get you started on jump ring jewellery but if you have any more questions on jump rings or other beady dilemmas, please post it in the comments box and I will get back to you.