How To Make Sterling Silver Raindrop Rings

Watch our video tutorial or follow our easy step by step written instructions to learn how to create a stack of Sterling Silver Raindrop Rings using a micro butane torch and a few other basic metalsmithing supplies.  This is a great beginner metals project for anyone wanting to start playing with fire!  Please take all of the necessary safety precautions while operating a micro torch and handling hot metal!

What you'll need:

 just grab a kit!

raindrop%20rings_edited.jpg

Materials List:

  • 24" 21 ga. Sterling Silver Round Wire

  • Micro Butane Torch

  • 3 buffing/polishing pads

  • Fireproof work surface

  • Ring Mandrel

  • Chasing/Ball Peen Hammer

  • Wire Cutter, pliers

  • Tape Measure

Directions:

  1. Fill microtorch with butane. (These are general directions for filling a microtorch based on the one sold at www.beadplace.net)

    1. Be sure gas is turned all the way off (switch is all the way to the minus sign, away from the plus sign)

    2. Remove the base from the torch and set it aside.

    3. Turn torch upside down and make sure nozzle is pointing away from you.

    4. Take the butane and remove the cap

    5. Align the nozzle on the butane with the nozzle on the bottom of the torch.

    6. Press down and listen until you hear it begin to spit and take way the butane.

    7. Holding the nozzle on the torch away from you and anyone else in the room, turn the torch right side up and replace the base back on the bottom. Next step is to test the flame,

    8. Turn the gas switch back to halfway on thee torch, between the plus nd minus sign.

    9. Take off the safety, by turning or switching it down.

    10. Make sure the butane and everything flammable is out of the way

    11. Ignite the torch and check the flame. Also, engage the hold button so that you don’t have to continue to hold the gas button the entire time.

    12. Turn the gas sign all the way up to the plus sign, it needs to be at least midway between the plus and minus for this project.

    13. The amount of oxygen getting to the flame is adjustable, a tight flame is desired as opposed to bushy flame.  Adjust flame as need to make it tight and concentrated for use.

    14. When set up as required the torch can be turned off.

  2. Determine the size ring to be made. Take the desired ring size minus 2 to get the working ring size. (Example: desired ring size 6, minus 2 equals working ring size 4)

  3. Taking a tape measure and the ring mandrel, measure the mandrel at the working ring size (In this example, ring size 4) 

  4. Take the number of inches for the working ring size plus 1 additional inch.  The additional inch will be for the silver ball on the ring, the measured part will be for the band.  (Example: Working ring size 4 is 2 inches plus 1 inch is 3 inches)

  5. Cut the wire for the ring in the amount of inches determined in the previous step.

  6. Take the cut wire and place it against the ring mandrel against the working ring size and Wrap the wire as evenly as possible against the mandrel bringing it up and folding the ends across evenly at the correct ring size.  

  7. Hold the wire so that it is anchored at the correct working ring size. Make sure the crossed wires are fairly uniform and there is about a half inch on each side.

  8. Twist the ends of the wire together like a bread tie where they cross right at the working ring size. This needs to be tight and snug, although it still needs to be able to remove the wire from the mandrel. 

  9.  Twist the wire all the way up to the ends, making sure there is no daylight between the twists and keep as straight as possible. 

  10. Take the wire ring off the mandrel. Check to see that the ring  lies flat and evenly.  The band should be even and if not, take the pliers and flatten.

  11. Place the ring on the flameproof surface. Following the safety rules, make sure the area is ready for metal smithing and prepare to light the microtorch.

  12. Light the torch and bring the flame to the end of the twisted wire. Using the inner blue flame, the metal should get soft and a ball should start to form.  Slowly move the torch along the  twisted wire stem where the ball forms fusing the wire.

  13. Remove the heat as soon as the ball reaches the band of the ring where it joins.

  14. Turn the flame off on the microtorch.

  15. With a pliers or other appropriate tool immediately pick up the newly formed ring and quench in the prepared water.

  16. It is immediately ready to remove from the water and can be picked up by hand and placed on the paper towel.

  17. Dry thoroughly. 

  18. Place the ring back on the ring mandrel for hammering.

  19. Using the chasing hammer end of the hammer(not the ball peen side) begin to hammer the ring all around. Do not hammer the drop just created, but all the rest of the band.  

  20. The hammering will start to harden the metal and loosen, enabling the ability to move the ring down to the the desired size.  

  21. Flip the ring over on the mandrel and continue to hammer.  The ring should continue to get lower on the the mandrel. Make sure you do not go past your desired size. 

  22. Continue hammering carefully until the desired size is reached.  Stop hammering,

  23. In order to remove the firescale, leave the ring on the mandrel so that the ring shape is maintained.

  24. Remove the firescale as  desired using the tool(s) of choice, possibly starting with a brush.  Check the ring for sharp points or possible pithing on the ball where a file can be used to smooth this and remove the sharp points. Steel wool can also be used for removing firescale.

  25. To shine the ring a buffing pad can be used buffing in a circular motion.

Project Design by Abbi Berta.  Written Project Instructions Transcribed by Terri Velasco.