Handcrafted Jewelry: Making a Sweetheart Ring | Chris V | Skillshare

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Handcrafted Jewelry: Making a Sweetheart Ring

teacher avatar Chris V, Artist, Designer, Maker

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Project Tools


    • 3.

      Project Materials


    • 4.

      Shaping the bottom of the ring


    • 5.

      Shaping the top of the ring


    • 6.

      Finishing the ring Part 1


    • 7.

      Finishing the ring Part 2


    • 8.



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About This Class

This class will feature making a heart-shaped wire ring, called the Sweetheart Ring. Because rings are the best sellers on my hand crafted jewelry website, I thought it would be fun to teach a class on creating one. The Sweetheart Ring seemed like a fun choice of ring styles and will be fun any time of the year.  I look forward to share with you how I make jewelry from an artist's perspective, as I do a step by step demonstration and share my techniques and philosophy.  

Meet Your Teacher

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Chris V

Artist, Designer, Maker


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Chris V. :-)

I'm Chris V., a watercolor artist, designer, online instructor, and desert dweller living on the outskirts of Las Vegas, Nevada. I'm the creative behind OctopusConnection.com, the online wonderland, where I've brought together my watercolo... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hi, I'm Chris and I'm an artist, designer and maker. Creating beautiful things just makes me happy. And it's been that way ever since I can remember. I started out sketching and painting, but quickly found out that I love to try new things. So I have sculpted lodge. I love to fish, a fashion design, embroidery and just a lot of other things. To me, it's about pushing my limits is an artist, and one day it hit me that I could not find any jewelry on the mass market that fit my style. So I thought, Why not? Let's give that a go and I was really inspired. Teoh start with wire and there was just this instinct connection. It's been almost a decade now. I've been devoted to creating a series of unique collections of jewelry, but hand crafted from an artist perspective. When people started to notice my designs early on, I created a website called C designing jewelry dot com. Thankfully, I found Big Cartel, which allows me to create a professional looking Web presence without having to be a techie . Because I am so not a techie. There are just lots of color and customizing options that are easy to access. It's just literally become a new canvas for me. I never thought I'd see the day that I would say that building and maintaining a website could be fun for me. But this is fun. After lots of collections and custom pieces and an artist co op opportunity, I was invited to be a featured artists of the cosmopolitan Las Vegas. For a year, I designed a pop up store to represent my unique brand, see design jewelry, and I started to gain a larger following. It was just amazing experience. I've been asked lots of times to describe my process. It's a bit unconventional, so I thought I'd be really fun to do a step by step of a ring, which are my biggest sellers. So I'll be walking you through crafting one of my wire designs, Sweetheart Ring. Whether you want to make it for yourself or it's a gift for someone else, I'll show you how to make one. Using some basic tools and materials you might even have laying around the house. I encourage you to approach this project from your own point of view and vision. You can select your own materials or you can take my recommendation in the materials section of the course. I'd recommend even doing this project more than once. If you'd like to play around with different materials, it's never gonna look the same way twice. This project is for beginners or experience jewelry makers. So I look forward to inviting you into my studio as we craft this project together. 2. Project Tools: Okay, so just want to take a moment to talk about. The tools you'll need for this project are pretty basic. Uh, my most widely used tool is this round said around knows players. Uh, I use it to grab. I used to curve. I use it to shape and pull. It's just really a great all around tool for this. Um, you can get at any hardware store. Any art supply store or craft store can get it online. So super accessible. I got this in a kit with these suppliers. Um, this one is, uh, cutter. So essentially, that's how I cut off the wire when I am satisfied with my length. Um uh, for each project. So cutters and this one is more of a clamping pliers. Um, I use it when I need some extra strength to smash or to pull or whatever be the case. Um, you just have to be careful with ease serrated sections on both sides that they don't damage the wire. Sometimes I have to grab deep, but then sometimes there's not enough space to do that. So I have to do it at the end, in which case I'll take a piece of just a scrap fabric and put it, um, on these sections before I grab. So just a word of warning on that And this is a ring. Sizer. Um, if you don't have one, you could still do this project, but you can get one online or it across supplier jewelry supply store. It shows you, um, all the sizing from smallest to largest, and it's super simple, but we're going to do this according to the size of your actual finger. So you you can get one of these, but you don't need one of these for the project, um, and then also a random, rounded shape that you have laying around your home or if you want to pick something up, that's fine. But this is just a paint brush. I had ah laying around, and it has a lot of different. A rounded sizes on it causes tapered. Ah, but you might have it. Your kitchen utensil, hair brush. I dont know just something that has a tapered into it that you can use, and that's perfectly fine, but I use it to shape my ring. Sizer doesn't have a completely rounded, um, shape to it. You can see it's kind of flat on both sides. So this is great when I need something perfectly round. Additionally, regarding your tapered round tool for shaping it doesn't actually have to be tapered. If you can't find anything, just find something that's round. I literally just grabbed two things off to different areas of my home of the thimble. Um, rather a spool of thread. Ah, chapstick. Um, they're both completely two different sizes, which is good. Um, this is a little large for a finger. This could be closer, but it might even be a little small, so it might just help you find that in between. 3. Project Materials: So I want to talk to you about materials for this project. Um, it's going to be a wire ring. So we're going to go over different types of wire and benefits and pitfalls and so forth and so on. Um, all of these wires are wears. I use a lot. So I definitely have had some trials and some joys with these different types of wire. This is my favorite. This is an aluminum wire, um, that I use in many, many of my designs because it's lightweight. Um, the lightweight aspect is what got me into jewelry. So, uh, it's kind of near and dear to me. Ah, it's very easy to bend, um, very easy to manipulate, But it has to be anchored well, or it's not gonna hold its shape. So that's the tricky part of of working with this this aluminum, it's a 12 gauge or, um, that's how they measure thickness. And wire is gauges, so you can see the thickness of this. Um, compared to the thickness of this silver wire, which is an anodized steel, this one is an 18 gauge. It's quite a bit skinnier, but because it is steel and this is aluminum. This thinner steel actually holds its shape. Better you can see it's much more springy or hard to to bend, whereas this aluminum it's super easy to bend. Eso the different types of wire are gonna have a different shape holding properties if you will, uh, copper. Super fun to work with great color on it and so forth. Um, by the way, all of these wires come in all kinds of crazy fun colors. But you have to coat them because if they're not already coded, those finishes can scratch off. So we're going to make a classic design, and that's why I'm sticking with classic colors to show you again. This is an 18 gauge copper. This copper here is a 12 gauge so much stronger this one's actually really hard to bend. So I don't use this for small, intricate designs because it's just too hard to manipulate. Ah, where is Theeighties? Engage is much easier for the copper, and then this is a brass in a 14 gauge. So this is somewhere in the middle. Um, and it's a lot again, a lot easier to bend in the 12 gauge, but not so multiple is the 16 or 18 gauge Ah, for this project, I'm going to be working with the anad I steal in the 18 gauge because it's easy to show you how it works. Now, if you have some wire laying around the house, you are welcome to use it. I basically used whatever I had laying around to start my projects just because it was I was such a in an experimental stage. I didn't want to go out and get something super expensive. Ah, but if you want to go out and get this, it's super accessible. I got it from a hardware store. Anodized Steel, an 18 gauge. That's what you're looking for, super accessible again, any hardware store. I'm sure you can get something like this at a jewelry supply store as well. But it's more of a hardware item, and I love to work with I materials that are not necessarily used for jewelry because I'm approaching jewelry as an artist, not as a jewelry maker, per se er, as a wire worker per se or a metal smith. It's completely and totally art, experimental and its artistic license to the course, so I would like to extend that to you. Use your imagination, Um, picture hanging wire. It doesn't hold its shape very well, but it again, it's great to experiment and have fun with this wire will definitely hold its shape for this project. So, um, that's what I'll be showing you how to do this in. So the last thing you're gonna need is a surface toe work on. Uh, I worked pretty much anywhere. Where there's a table. I have little portable tables that I've purchased that have little foam in it, that I can sit on my lap, And I could just put my tools, my materials on it and just go to town. So I'm on the go all the time, and I'm working all over the place. But of course, my studio is my favorite place to work. And I've got a piece of posterboard and I put on top of the cable surface just so I don't scratch it because, you know, I'm working with wire and tools and can scratchy a nice surface. So that's just something you might want to think about in case you decide you want to use a beat for this project. I want to go over some options with you. So I've got a few beads here just to show you. Um, I'm in love with glass beads and porcelain beads, and I use wood as well. But there's lots of other options. There are acrylic beads are just other stone beads made of stone crystals, all kinds of options that are really beautiful. These are my favorites that just wanted to go over with a couple of things. First of all, when you're making your project, make sure that you are picking a B that's not too large or too heavy, and that's going to actually take your ring sort of topsy turvy on you. So, um, definitely make sure it's the right size. Also, the whole it has. The wire has to fit inside the whole, Um, if the hole is too small, obviously your wire will not get through if it's too large. But this one's quite a bit larger and a little clunky if it's too, if the hole is too large and your bead will kind of jiggle, um, and wiggle and stuff. So if it even fits on the ring, so just make sure you were working with in proportion of what you're using. The good news is the wire for this project that were using is very thin, so it doesn't accommodate a lot of different bead options if you're not using a be totally disregard and it's going to be stunning with her without. 4. Shaping the bottom of the ring : So we're going to start out with making the base of our ring. Gonna take your wire and kind of pull a little bit of length off of it and get your rounding shape. Make sure you get one that is bigger than the size of your finger that you're gonna be putting the ring on. And so I'm going to go down towards the lower part of my taper and put your shape on top of your wire. Leave about three inches on the end here and maybe almost a little bit more than that. About 3.5 inches and then start bending your wire taught against your shape like this. Just push your thumb against it while you hold everything else down with your other hand and curve it in the shape of your rounded shape. Okay, now we're going to do the opposite side, and we're gonna hold down this side while we pull the other side over the rounded shape. Pull it as tight as you can see. Get as good of a circle is possible. That's it. And you've got your first circle we're going to actually be doing to, so turn it upside down so that the part you just worked on is on the bottom, put your cheaper and through again are your rounded shape and do the same thing. I would leave this end alone. We need that length to finish the ring at the and so I wouldn't do anymore with that. So hold that down while you're pulling your wire over, I'm doing it the correct way. You don't want it to criss cross over, so I'm going to be keeping it. You don't want this wire to cross over this where you want to lay flat right next to it. So I'm going, Teoh, go this way. Keeping the wire taught Flip the end upward to keep it spinning so you can He's going all the way around the circle. Keep going, taught against your round shape. Okay? And now we have two full revolutions, and that is gonna be the base of your ring. 5. Shaping the top of the ring: So now we're ready. Just start the top of our ring. We're going to do that by grabbing the base in your forefinger and with your forefinger and thumb to stabilize it. We're going to start creating a heart shape on the top. So this is where the fun starts I like to measure about. I'm gonna make the it a bit mind about inch tall. So, um, with your summon forefinger at the top of the ring where these two pieces of wire are going in the opposite directions, we're going to bend the longer piece that goes into the role of wire against the shorter piece, use it as leverage and make about a 45 degree. It's not perfect, but about a 45 degree angle. Your bend in your wire. We're gonna measure about 1/2 an inch down and with your tool with your round those players about 1/2 an inch, I'm gonna bend. Keep it toward the end to keep the bend small and sharp. Gonna bend the wire upward back the other way and stuff about there. So you have a slight. It's a pretty sharp angle, but it's not flat against these two wires on flood against one another. Zillow Space left so we can maneuver now with your finger or your thumb. Whichever is more comfortable for you. Use your fake. This is gonna be a larger curve. So about 1/2 an inch out the other direction start creating a larger curve. And that's gonna be one side of our heart stuff about like that. So it's about, uh, about 3/8 of an inch across I'm gonna bend it back this way to make a little more room for the other side. We're gonna go all the way back down to our sharp bend at the lot. This is gonna be the bottom of the heart. And this is gonna be the top now with the pliers. Okay. Going to grab the previous vend? Plus, we're going to grab the new wire together. I'm gonna do that so that we keep the new wire. We're gonna create the same type of bend again, springing all the way around the players and back up the other side. Now we're going to create be other side of the heart again with your finger. Create the same about the same size not going to be exact. That's part of the charm. Same size, larger bend in the wire and back down again. Now you can see we have a heart shape. Now it's a matter of filling it in. So it has that sort of wire wrapped Look to it again. I'm going to use my pliers to bring back around up. I'm gonna pull it a little tighter, though, so that the new bend is inside to bring this out so you can see better. The new wire is just inside where our original bend waas and again with my finger a little bit tighter this time I'm going to bend the wire to just fit just inside. You see, it just fits just inside the previous bend. Now, instead of wrapping it around a circle, I'm going to kind of bend it the opposite way just inside what we previously did on the bottom and again with why, um, create the larger band a little bit smaller than the last time. So now you can see you kind of have a smaller heart inside the larger heart. I'm gonna go one more time is to fill in a little bit more on because I can't quite bend steel enough. I'm gonna use these this clamping tool to grab and just give this a little squeeze. So it's just is possible. And it fits inside again inside our previous band and its smaller Yet. So now you have sort of three paperclip shaped bends on this left side and get back the other way smaller than keep any a shorter distance each time you go. So it's starting to fill in the heart space and again, short of the needed the previous time I'm gonna take the clamps again down where they're not going to, um, damage the wire with that serrated grabbing area grip area down below words flat. I'm going to take and smash that band, so it's nice, and then it fits inside this space of the heart. Here. It's not exact. See, it kind of sticks up a little bit further, but that's OK. It's part of the charm. The next video is going to show you how to strengthen and reinforce this piece, but now we now have the shape of the top of the heart. Please feel free to upload your progress on the photo gallery. Be happy to answer any questions for you or come back with any feedback you need 6. Finishing the ring Part 1: So now we're going to finish our ring, and if you're going to be adding a bead and that's totally optional, this would be the time to do it. What we're going to do first is cut off the length off of this role. Now we don't need any of this. Now we've it's done. It's job. We're not gonna Evie, adding any more to the body of the ring. So I'm going to take about the same length we've got off the other side just about. I want to say to 2.5 inches and apply your cutters toward the bottom. If you do it towards the top, you can ruin them. But it tends to pull the bottom part of the players out when you put all the pressure of the top, so your players will last a lot longer. If you grab them toward the bottom of the blades, keep your fingers clear and give it a good squeeze. All right, so get rid of all of that stuff. Now, Um, this is the perfect time to add your bead. I would do it to the top of the ring, so it's it's visible front and center, and we're going to take the bead and put it onto the wire. Place it around the middle. It doesn't have to be in the middle, but it looks really nice. Um, there it can look really nice to the side. I've done it both ways. Well, I'm gonna put my mind fits nicely right in the middle. So I'm going, Teoh, leave it there again. If you don't want to be, just disregard this and will continue on with anchoring the ring. Going to take the ring, check their wire rather and wrap it around the the back of I'm gonna go down the side and wrap it around the back. I kind of just pulling it around. And I would go in a bit of a diagonal, so you add strength. If you go just around the side, then the whole top part of the ring will kind of be without reinforcement. So we're going to do the same thing. Come back around this side down the middle of your V. So now you have this wire wrapping around the ring and we literally holding it together now to give this part strength, make sure you have this pulled down far enough that it's not gonna slip off the top. Sure, you're pulling it really tight. If you need to use your pliers, you could do that. I'm gonna bend it down so that I don't mess with shape of the heart. It's nicely shaved, so we want to make sure it stays that way. If you pull it down into the V and notice, I'm grabbing the bottom and grabbing the top. So it's all sort of reinforces staying together. So don't pull the shapes apart but pulled down into the V and that will help hold see how. It's just sort of grabbing now. And it hasn't messed with our shape. It's kind of add a little character, and now I'm going to come back up around the top since we don't have anything going around the top part yet. Um, be careful. You don't poke yourself on the end of the wire again. If you need to use your pliers and that's a little safer for you, that's fine. Um, now we're going to take the end and we're going Teoh, find a spot in the top of the ring. There's plenty of the open spaces. Uhm, I'm going to go right inside here, and I'm going to literally roll the end underneath so it catches onto this piece here, so if you notice I'm gonna grab it, I'm gonna roll it down and I have to jostle it a little bit. So it gets into that space nicely. Should be a little bit hard, because if it's easy than your rank and pull apart, just keep rolling your your round nose pliers until you have a nice bend. And, uh, the curve is going down inside the ring where you're not going to get poked. You're not gonna poke someone else, and it's kind of holding it together. Now you can see if I try to pull up on it. It's got some resistance. Then we want to take the other end. And now we want to do the final sizing of the ring. So that's going to be in the next video. Don't forget to post your pictures and videos of your progress. We can chat about it if you have questions. There's lots of different ways to do this portion so you might have some issues depending on what? Why're used or what technique you're using and how you bet your heart. And so far it's. Please feel free to ask any questions you guys have. 7. Finishing the ring Part 2: Now, if you're doing this with your A Taper tool, um, you're essentially going to do the same thing. But instead of starting at the other side, you're going to start out with the end that is sticking out, and you're going to give it a A pull in the rounded direction. Do it slowly, but you have this tapered round shape to kind of keep you on track and just pull it down and try it on every few minutes to see how you're doing. That's getting better, but I've got a little bit more to go. Good. It's very close. Almost do this by hand now because it's getting pretty close to this size. They need a little bit more. Say, See, I'm supporting. It's getting close now so I don't have to use a taper. Tulloch's much just going Teoh. Keep corkscrewing it with my thumb and my other two fingers that is about dead on tiniest bit more Now, if you are making this for someone else, you'll have gotten a ring Sizer and, um, I'm a size five. It's about right there on the ring. Sizer. The way you measure this is just drop it down and you could see it falls right on the six. That's just a little too big for me yet. I'm just gonna keep spinning this around. Don't worry. If the circles aren't exactly symmetrical or in exactly the same gives it a little character that way, that is much, much better. Still a little bit large. Spend more time. See how we're doing on the ring. Sizer about 5.5. Now get there. Okay, that's gonna pull that out So doesn't keep getting in my way. Should be getting really close to satisfy. Okay, now you see it, Lance. Right on the five. That's exactly where I want it. Yep. Sometimes it could be different sizes on one side of the ring to the other. As long as it's your correct size on one of the sides, it has to be the smaller of the two. And that will fit your recipient. That is perfect. Okay, so I would normally wear it this way. Okay. I'm happy with the sizing. Now when we anchor this other side, you're gonna be really careful, cause if you pull it too tight, guess what? This is going to get smaller so very gently we're going to give this. This is a little tricky. You were going to bend this up into the ring because if you notice this side of the ring can kind of go up and down, we want to anchor this down. And to do that, I've got to get this and up into the center of the ring just gently so you don't mess with your circle too much. But as I pull this up, it's gonna pull the circle back into position. Just get that through, try it on one more last time or put it to your ring Sizer. It's still got the right spot. Now, um, in order to anchor it, I'm going to pull are actually just kind of push it so that this is straight. It's not sticking out funny. And then I'm going to create a curry. This curve is going to be what holes that wire and keeps it from wiggling. They actually want it. Push that ring down a little bit further, something they're going to use my round nose pliers this point. Get that ring top all the way down on top of the ring bottom. Hold it together with your forefinger and thumb and give it a curvy twist in that direction . And that pulled it right down. See, it's now down on top of the ring bottom. Try the ring on again. Make sure it's not getting too small for me. So far, so good. All right, now we're going. Teoh, continue to twist this wire underneath because we just don't. Now, I I am going. Teoh, cut this off a little bit because I'm going to take this portion here and anchored up into the bottom of the ring. And that's just too long. Um, so I'm going Teoh very carefully. Pull that away. I want to cut it about right here. You want to be sure you don't cut anything else on the rings? You want to pull it away foreign? If you don't damage, get it for enough down. You don't damage your pliers or spring them. Hold the end. That's to be cut off. Be careful not to cut or poke yourself. Give it a tough little squeeze. There we go. Okay, Now we've got this at a manageable length where I can grab the end and give it a We're gonna give it a rolling twist right into the bottom of the ring in one of the spaces there where I cannot poke myself or anyone else. Here we go. Okay, that is our completed project. Guys, please post your photos. Ask questions. I cannot wait to see what you guys are going to come up with. 8. Closing: I really enjoyed having you along as we crafted the sweetheart ring. Wishing you many compliments is you were give this piece. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have. And I cannot wait to see what you've done with.