A Simple Wire Ring




About: I'm an artist and jeweler who enjoys making things and sharing ideas.
An easy to create and inexpensive wire ring!

I posted this a few years ago on a jewelry forum and people seemed to enjoy it, so I thought it would make a great instructable. I sold a lot of these when I started making jewelry - I called them "Bellybutton Rings" and it was one of my very first designs.

I usually made them out of 20 and 18 gauge soft wire (half-hard is too brittle and the "bellybutton" isn't as tight because the wire springs out a little).

  • You'll need a ring mandrel (or suitable equivalent), a flat-nosed jewelry pliers, a wire cutter, a small metal file, and a length of wire (the example is made with 14 gauge soft sterling silver).

Step 1: Initial Wrap

Wrap some wire around a ring mandrel twice so the ends shoot out in opposite directions.

  • Before I had a ring mandrel I used socket bits from a ratchet set - being metal they worked pretty well and it was easy to hold the ends of the bit while twisting wire to make the bellybutton. I tried a wooden dowel too but it would get all hacked over time.

Step 2: Creating the Swirl

This is the only real tricky part because the tightness of the center dictates how smooth the "bellybutton" looks. The best way I've found to get a tight center is to use your thumb and forefinger in a twisting motion - almost in the same way you use a screwdriver only you're making a little twirl of wire where the screwdriver usually is. It also helps to have the wires wrapped around the mandrel in a direction that allows you turn the imaginary screwdriver clockwise (or counter-clockwise for left-handers). You'll figure out what I mean the first time you wrap one the other way - it's clumsy...

Step 3: Completing the Swirl

Then you just wrap a nice smooth arc around the initial center - sometimes it helps to press down on the center with the thumb of one hand and wrap the wire with the other hand (between your thumb and the mandrel). The nice thing about soft wire is it's pretty easy to get a nice smooth arc once you've done it a few times - you get the feel of how the wire will bend.

  • You can make your swirl a little wider by going around the ring again if you like - I like two wraps because it matches the double-wire band.

Step 4: Adjusting the Ring

The ring will most likely appear crooked at this point - I've found that a good way to even it out is to slide the tip of my flat-nosed pliers under the "bellybutton" while the ring is on the mandrel nice and snug. The pressure will straighten out the ring a bit - you should do this on the opposite side as well.

  • Watch your fingers! If your plier slips you will get gouged unless you position your hands out of the way - it may also help to hold your thumb over the tip of your pliers and the "bellybutton" while you apply pressure.

Step 5: Removing Excess Wire

Now you can cut the excess wire off - you want to leave a little bit that extends past the center of the "bellybutton" as you'll need some to curl under. You should also file the ends at this point - remember to file away from the ring rather than towards it or you run the risk of slipping and cutting into your lovely ring.

  • Both cutting and filing are best done off the mandrel - I just put it there for easy display.

Step 6: Tucking in the Ends

Finish off your ring by tucking under the filed ends - you can use the flat-nosed pliers like you did in step 4 to do this. You can also use your pliers to tighten the "bellybutton" by lightly squeezing any arcs that need it - be careful not to scratch up the wire though... (and don't forget to mind your fingers around that pliers - especially with thicker wire because it will take more pressure to straighten the ring and curl under your wire ends)

The two wire loops of your ring may be slightly misaligned when you first take it off the mandrel - to fix this just pull slightly out on the appropriate sides of the two loops using your fingernails until the wires line up.

Well that's it - this is a great little ring and I couldn't make 'em fast enough back when I was actively selling in stores and art/craft shows. Please tweak and embellish the design at will and I don't mind if you sell what you make, just please don't sell the instructions as they've always been free.

Hope you like the instructable!

  • You can also start your ring with only one wrap around the mandrel rather than two. I like two because it's more interesting and it allows slightly more room for the wire ends as they curl under the "bellybutton." You can also pull them out and flatten your completed ring to make a bracelet by linking them together. You should use a minimum wire size of 18 gauge for the bracelet though - the 20 is a little too yankable.

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125 Discussions


4 years ago on Introduction

Oh wow !! I saw this and just had to try making one myself. I can't believe how easy it was to make. Mine was made from 2mm Aluminium wire as it was all I had at the time. My daughter couldn't believe I actually made it but I assured her I really did. :-) Of course she had to make one for herself too.
Now to get some silver wire and make another one.

Thank you so much for an amazing tutorial.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I bet it looks cool with 2mm aluminum as it'd be so chunky - I haven't made one of these in a while but I may have to try that.

* I'm glad you're having fun with it!


4 years ago on Step 6

This is REALLY cute and LOOKS easy enough for my first try at ring making...if it turns out good, I might even try to add a gem stone or something in the middle to a few of them just to make them a little different from each other for my first craft show. THANKS!!

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Step 6

I'm glad you like the tutorial Bobbie!

I've made a few with beads on them in the past so it looked a bit like little planets orbiting around the center. I also made one that had tube beads on each of the outer "sides" but that was a little difficult to get aligned right and I was afraid it would snag.

Have fun with it, and good luck at your craft show!



Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I bought my ring mandrel from Walmart for $5, I think you can get them at Michaels for about $10 :-)


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

You can use a ring mandrel, but they're expensive.

I'd suggest placing a ring that's the size you want around a socket (from a socket set), then use that same socket to make the new ring.

If you don't have a socket set, try finding something else around the house (preferably metal) that is the size you want.

Good luck!

Nice to see! It can be easily done by anyone with any special practice.



4 years ago

Aaawwwweeressssoooommmmeeee!!!! I made it too big, though . . . TAT Is there any way to make the ring fit into your thumb when its too big???

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago

The only think I can think of is to wrap a thin wire around and around the band several times - start underneath the spiral and wrap around the double-wire band until you get to the other side of the spiral.

The only problem would be what to do with the loose ends of your wrapping wire, but you could probably just twist them together underneath the swirl. Make sure the twisted ends of the wire are tucked in somewhere so they don't poke you when you wear the ring.

If you do something like that please post a photo - I bet it'd look cool.



Reply 5 years ago

I used a tube of chapstick and wrapped it loosely


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Anything that's shaped like a bar and is the right size will work - I even used pencil once to make links in a bracelet. Metal items work best (like socket bits from a socket set), but wooden dowels will work reasonably well unless you're making tons of rings with a thicker wire. If you don't want to buy a mandrel just go to the local hardware store and see what they have - copper tubing would be a good choice as they have a few different sizes. You don't even have to buy the tube - just the connecting components ("elbows" or "T's"). :)

silver daddyo

5 years ago on Step 5

Hi there all.Never,in all my sixty-six years on this planet,have I seen anything so simple that looked so elegant.Well done!!

1 reply

7 years ago on Introduction

Made the ring in silver colored 16 gauge aluminum wire and it really came out well! Again, thanks for the great tutorial! I'm getting ready to make some more for my daughters and granddaughters!

silver ring.jpg