Monday, April 19, 2010

Making Wedding Rings

On Sunday, Daniel and I had a wedding-band-making-adventure! Yes, that's right - we made our own wedding bands.

Despite my jewelry making hobby, I'm not much of one for big sparkly rings. I tried picturing myself looking at rings from a chain store and nothing I could imagine was very interesting (and that would not be a cool enough story for us-"Remember that time when we went to the mall and pointed at those bands in the bargain box from the back of the store and then paid way too much for them?")

I investigated online for more unique sources for rings. I found several Etsy artists and ethical diamond sellers that proved a little more interesting, but it still didn't feel like "us". Then, I found a business that exclusively offers 'make your own wedding band' workshops! Fun! They're only on the east and west coasts? Not fun.

Then, I found out about a local metalsmith with a studio in the Paseo Arts District. Her name is Sheridan Scott; Please check out her location if you can - in fact, there's an Arts festival/show in the Paseo in May. Her website, A Jeweler's Art, shows just a little of what she offers in the gallery. She does one-on-one sessions in her studio for metalsmithing, PMC (metal clay, I TOTALLY will do this class once I have some free time), polymer clay work, and more.

(she also has a super cute little helper named Valentine. She's an old chocolate lab and reminds me of my old family dog. She can't see very well, but she's so sweet. Awww.)

Step 1: consult over the style of ring.

My engagement ring is a tiny bird on a thin, hammered, round band. It was also a half size too large, so I had been wearing it on my right hand. We had initially talked about making a nested band for the birdie to rest in (get it? nested?), but I quickly decided that I was too green to finish something like that properly. So, we both decided to make simple textured sterling silver bands. Sheridan would also be able to resize the birdie ring so I could wear it stacked with the band I was about to make.

Step 2: cut the silver into 2 strips

Daniel made the first cut, and then I cut that piece in two. I gotta say, the toughest part of the process is getting used to the jeweler's saw. I took a jewelry making class in high school, and the difficulty of using the saw came back to me pretty quick.

Step 3: anneal the metal

We got to use a propane/O2 mix torch several times. Awesome. There is so much chemistry involved in metal smithing. I think more schools should incorporate hands-on projects like this to supplement chemistry class. I know I would have been a lot more interested in molecular structure and how chemicals interact if I had to consider it while pushing metals around, but I digress.

Step 4: hammer the metal

I was cheesy and suggested we texturize each other's rings. Aw, love and hammers. Daniel gave mine a 'tree bark' look (to match with birdie). I was experimenting with the hammer on a test piece of metal, making a cross hatch pattern. Daniel said it looked like the giant crystals from Superman's Fortress of Solitude. You bet I used that pattern on his ring - Superman, Superawesome.

Step 5: bending and trimming

Slowly, the hammered and jagged metal strip became a ring.

Step 6: soldering

Eep! Solder. I as not a successful solder-er in highschool. This time it turned out alright!

Step 7: filing, grinding, and trimming

Had to clean up and shape the sides of the bands at this point. My cutting became a
little better by this point. I had to cut mine in half to make it narrower. Daniel did a lot of filing while I saw saw saw'ed.

Step 8: polishing

We used a big ol' polishing machine to buff the sides and underside. An ultrasonic
jewelry cleaner got the bits we missed. Sheridan gave them a matte finish on the outside with some baking soda, and they were complete!


I highly recommed any interested parties do this sort of thing. It was great, fun,
educational, and something Daniel and I will talk about for years. To finish up the afternoon, we had an early dinner at The Hideaway. Our first date was at a Hideaway in Tulsa, so it seemed only appropriate!


  1. How cute! I have made a ring before and it was really complicated so I think it's so neat that y'all did this together!