Daily Wire Tip June 6: Ring Sizing

By on June 6, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
June 06, 2010


I am still learning and am having trouble sizing the rings properly.  They always come out larger than what I am attempting to create.  I have purchased a few of the cd’s to try to learn the proper way to do this, but have not found it on my cds.  I have the metal ring sizer.  Can you tell me what I am doing wrong?  I have tried with several sizes of wire and they are always too large.  May I also ask you to suggest a proper cd to show me how to do it?  I was able to follow the visual presentation you used to have on your site showing how to make the little ring with the bead.  That is what inspired me to think I could make jewelry.  I would appreciate any advice you may be able to give.


Although I cannot comment regarding the past on-site ring video by the previous owner, I believe that I can help you with your sizing challenge.

Make sure that the ring sizer you are using matches the ring mandrel you are working on.
If it is not, then while making a ring, be sure to use the corrected location on the mandrel that matches the size your customer needs, or that you wish to make. (Unfortunately not all mandrels are the same, nor are ring sizers, although usually the metal sizers are correct, so it may be the mandrel.)

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar

    Jane Elizabeth

    June 6, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Cindys question about the proper sizing of rings can be answered by following the series on ring making DVD’s or in Cougars’ book “Wirework”. When I first started out with rings I didn’t realize mandrels are NOT created equal… Now when making a ring I have the customer try on my ring sizer (which is currently plastic). Making note of the size I then slip the sizer onto my mandrel and note the size listed on the mandrel. Follow the directions in Chapter Two of the book, page 21 proper ring sizing. Note that emphasis is placed on making the ring one full size larger than what is desired to allow for the room taken up by the half round half hard shank wrap. Frequently rechecking the ring size as you work helps you to keep the piece correctly sized.
    Keep practicing Cindy! I too found it harder to make smaller sizes when I first started out. It continues to get easier with every piece I make! I nearly always make one or two samples of a new pattern in either copper, brass or bronze as they are less expensive.
    Twistedly yours,
    Jane Elizabeth

  2. avatar


    June 6, 2010 at 7:48 am

    I was told to make my ring on the size ABOVE what I wanted it to be, while working on my mandrel. So if you wanted it to be a size 5, you’d make it on the size 6 spot.. then when you take it off the mandrel to tighten the bands and finish it off, it’ll be the proper size.

    I don’t know well this actually works, however, since I’m still waiting on my mandrel to arrive.. I’ve just been making pinky rings for practice on a ratchet handle that’s the perfect size lol

  3. avatar

    Colleen Weikel

    June 6, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I always use the size on the ring mandrel that is the next smallest size to the ring size I need when starting to make my rings. Somehow, it always turns out the right size.

  4. avatar


    June 6, 2010 at 10:58 am

    To make sure your rings are the correct size and not too large, it may help to keep checking while making to make sure you are not letting the wire slip down any on the mandrel.

  5. avatar

    Gloria Squires

    June 6, 2010 at 11:33 am

    First of all…make sure the size the customer wants is actually the size he/she really is. We all have a tendency to want to be a size smaller than we are [wink]. When making rings for customers I found that if the size is slightly smaller than I want, I can place the ring back on the metal ring mandrel and with my rawhide mallet, “coax” it to a larger size. This will only work if it needs to be a half to one size larger. The wire will break if you force it too much (experience talking…lol). Good luck and good twisting!

  6. avatar

    Pam Glendinning

    June 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Dale is right, watch the mandrel! And using the ring sizer together with your mandrel will make your life much easier, just as Jane said. I got a bracelet mandrel that has helped quite a lot too. Keep practicing! Using wire opens up so many doors when you are making jewelry! You can make your own clasps all the time, make pendants whenever you need them, and so on. With a little practice, wire is great, and you will learn to buy “ready made” findings less and less, as you get better at it.

  7. avatar


    June 6, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I use a ring sizer to measure the customer’s finger. Then I put it onto my ring mandrel to determine exactly where it falls. I make the ring one-half to one size smaller than the finished size I want. This allows for some little slippage that occurs during working, even though I recheck it on the mandrel several times during work. The result is a perfect fit. if it is in fact a little on the snug side, I can put it on the mandrel and tap it a bit with a rawhide hammer to slightly enlarge it to a perfect fit. This is easier than having a ring too large and then having to wrap the shank, which the customer may not want.
    I have also done this with the little one-bead rings, when a customer finds a one-of-a-kind one in the tray that is a tad too tight. . . I can enlarge it and complete the sale :))

  8. avatar

    Rose Bovan

    June 7, 2010 at 8:23 am

    I agree with Skye, I make my ring one size smaller to give allowance to get the exact size, because when you start out you are going to be pushing and tightening, and hitting with tools. So you’d want to give that allowance for all of that, so when you are finished and place the ring back and forth on the madrel you’ll see it gets down to the right size.

    Be Blessed
    and Stay Bent

    • avatar


      June 7, 2010 at 11:42 am

      Folks, after reading and posting all of these comments, I do have to say thanks to Jane Elizabeth. I have been formulating and making a variety of ring designs for many years and I DO share all of my techniques, formulations and little known tips, in my book and on every ring DVD I have made with Wire-Sculpture. The easist way to learn how to properly size rings, would be to follow the stepped out directions in any of these options, as there is no ONE way to make EVERY ring design to size.

  9. avatar


    June 7, 2010 at 10:29 am

    I rarely wrap the ring shank (though I am thinking about it!). When wrapping, make any ring SMALLER than the size you want, as it is far easier to make any ring bigger; even half hard wire will stretch a bit.
    If you get frustrated, start making simple earrings. Find a book on earring tutorials, and make sure they have a step by step guide. This way you can learn the ways of wire without sinking so much money in rings while you are learning. And, for gosh sakes, use copper to learn on! Copper is way cheaper than silver, and it is beginning to be popular.

  10. avatar


    June 12, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Great advice from all. Thanks everyone!