DIY Jewelry with Stacey: Are You Ready to Rhumba?

About this time last year I started thinking about a Christmas present for my dad’s girlfriend, my dad’s lady friend, my dad’s close friend who happens to be a woman, Francine.

I knew I wanted to make her a pair of earrings, but I just couldn’t settle on a style.  So off to the internet I went to look for inspiration.

I soon stumbled across a website that highlighted jump ring jewelry.  If you’re unfamiliar with the term “jump ring,” it’s just a little ring used in making jewelry.

“Rhumba Earrings”

I had used them before to connect jewelry wire to clasps, but never thought of making an entire piece out of them.

I was starting to get excited looking at the pictures.  I decided to try my hand at the Rhumba Earrings; the techniques were easy enough and I already had some of the materials on hand.  I could make a nice pair of earrings in no time at all.  It was so easy, in fact, that I made several pair for other friends and family.


Materials

2 pair of flat nose jewelry pliers

2 silver plated ear wires

10 6mm, 18 or 20 gauge, silver plated jump rings

18 8mm, 18 or 20 gauge, silver plated jump rings

18 seed beads, in your favorite color

 

Now, if you already know a little about jump rings you can skip this part.  If not, please know that it’s very important to learn how to open and close jump rings.  If you don’t do it right, they will get all distorted and look bad.

With a pair of pliers in each hand, grip the jump ring on each side, with the split facing up.  Pull your right hand forward and push your left hand back.  You’ll want to make a slight twisting motion, sort of like you’re wringing out a towel.  (I am right handed.  If you are left handed you may want to reverse this action:  right hand back, left hand forward.)

Knowing how to properly open and close a jump ring is key for any chain maille jewelry project.

 

To close up the ring, reverse the action.  You may want to put a little tension on the pliers, pushing them slightly towards each other, so the ends of the rings close together tightly.  Go ahead and practice a little bit.  I’ll wait….

Ready?

Step 1 ~ Open All the Rings

Start by opening all the rings.

Yes, all the rings.

This saves time by not having to pick up and put down the pliers so many times later on.

 

Step 2 ~ Assemble 6mm Rings

Attach one 6mm ring to one of the ear wires and close it.

Repeat.

Continue attaching one 6mm ring to another until you have a chain of 5 rings hanging from the ear wire.

 

Step 3 ~ Add Color

Slide a seed bead onto each of the 8mm rings. If you’re careful they won’t all fall off before you can attach them to the smaller rings.***

All seed beads are not created equal, so you may need to dig through your pile to find the ones with the largest holes.  The smaller ones will not fit on the jump-rings.

***This is where a bead mat comes in handy, if you happen to have one.  It keeps the beads from rolling around on your work surface and if you drop a ring it usually stays put instead of bouncing off the table onto the carpet only to be found when you’re vacuuming.  A folded up washcloth works in a pinch; but rings can sometimes get caught in the loops of the towel threads.

 

Step 4 ~ Attach 8mm Rings

Starting at the fifth (bottom) 6mm ring, attach one 8mm ring and close it.

Move up to the fourth 6mm ring and attach an 8mm ring on the right side and close; add another on the left side and close it.

Keep moving up the chain until you reach the top.

(It is easier to start at the bottom and work up.  Since the rings hang down, they can get in your way if you start at the top.)

 

Step 5 ~ Make the Second Earring

One earring down, one to go!  Just follow the steps until you have a matching set.

 

Additional Rhumba Options

Now that you know the basic construction of the earrings, you can customize them to fit your style.

Try experimenting with different colors, sizes and numbers of rings.

Use different colors, types, sizes and numbers of beads.

Add unique ear wires.

You can even run the top jump ring through a simple chain instead of an ear wire to make a great pendant necklace.

Just be careful….  Once you start you won’t want to stop!

 

Stacey Bayliff, chain maille enthusiast and “Jack of all Crafts”

Stacey is a self-proclaimed “Jack-of-all-Crafts.”

Although an English as a Second Language teacher by profession, she has been cross-stitching, rubber stamping and making jewelry since she was a teenager.  Her most recent obsession is chain maille jewelry.

She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and three children, where she enjoys reading, letterboxing, genealogy and watching reality tv.

A variety of Stacey’s jewelry creations can be found at her Etsy Shop. Magpie Fair.

Comments

  1. Gabrielle says:

    Oh lovely! Such a great quick and easy project! Looking forward to more posts.

  2. I’d seen other turtorials for Rhumba earrings online, but they were missing something….specifically the size of jumprings, or even a ratio between the two sizes of jumprings to try…they just said “large” or “small” jumprings. That tells me nothing, no clue as to where to even begin. Your site has the most comprehensive and easy to follow instructions, the best step-by-step photographs, and that very important clue as to size of jumprings to try. Now THAT is what sparked my imagination, and the photos of alternative materials and has galvanized me to try this project today. I know now they can be customized per holiday, per birthstone color, for a person’s favorite color(s), tiny charms instead of beads, a large dangle on the end perhaps…and…and…and!!!

    KUDOS to you! THANK YOU! My mind runs amok with possibilities!

  3. Agreed! And little blog is so very happy to host Stacey Bayiff and her wonderfully comprehensive DIY jewelry tutorials!

Trackbacks

  1. […] (If you aren’t sure of the proper way to open a jump ring, there is a tutorial in my “Ready to Rhumba” […]

  2. […] at opening and closing jump rings, but if not take a look back at the instructions given in the “Are You Ready to RHUMBA?” post. After you complete this project you should be able to open and close them in your […]

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