Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Just Do It: The Wine Cork Ring Tutorial

You may have noticed that we've hit the ground running in Kansas. Whatever they say about tornadoes and cornfields and cowtipping for fun is just hogwash. These folks know how to keep a family busy. Last weekend, we attended a morning at the ranch on Friday and then a festival for new-comers on Saturday. I haven't had much time to work on my personal jewelry so I've been relying on a few staples to keep me accessorized...a koa wood beaded necklace from our vacation in Hawaii, a couple of Alex and Ani bangles and this wine cork ring I made last year. The "T" stands for Talon Vineyard, which is tucked away on Tates Creek Road in Lexington. Talon makes some of my favorite wines and the staff has always been warm and welcoming, whether we are there for a tasting or just want to enjoy a bottle of Bluegrass Blush on a picnic blanket in the vineyard. I chose this cork because the "T" makes it unique and it's a piece of Kentucky that travels with me all over the world.

To make your own wine cork ring, you will need the following supplies:
1. A 22mm wine cork. Believe it or not, size does matter and they aren't all the same. Champagne corks are too big and some red wine corks are too small (you may notice that the red wine cork in the above picture is slightly smaller than the white wine one. I pulled it out of my bag-o-corks to make a red wine cork ring but it's too small and leaves a lot of space between the cork and the ring. I'm looking into ways to fill that space but for now, it just looks weird).

2. A non-serrated knife for a clean cut.

3. The ring base, which can be purchased at Hobby Lobby:

Go to the jewelry supply aisle and look for the section with the green tags that say My Jewelry Shop. Make sure you purchase the ring bezel that has a 22 millimeter center. The actual ring is adjustable. As you can see here, they are normally $1.99 but if you buy them when My Jewelry Shop is 50% off, then this entire project will only cost you about $3.00, plus the cost of the wine which you were going to drink anyway.

4. E-6000 glue. This is specific craft glue that lasts fooorrrrreeeevvvveeeerrrr. I've used Super Glue for some jewelry projects before but repeated exposure to water and a variety of temperatures seem to weaken the bonding power of Super Glue. Since this is a ring and I wash my hands no less than 65 times a day, I needed something that could withstand repeated exposure to water. Interestingly, the water doesn't effect the cork, other than to give it a lovely aged crackle. E-6000 can be purchased at any craft store and at Hobby Lobby, it's in the same aisle as the jewelry supplies.

Putting your ring together:
1.Place your whole cork inside the ring to make sure it will fill the bezel enough. This was about the moment when I figured out that the diameter of my red wine cork wasn't wide enough. Dang. I will have to drink another bottle and hope that cork is bigger.

2. Use a pencil (or pen...we tend to hide the pencils in this house because Magic Eraser is awesome on pen, but we've had mixed results with toddler pencil art on the walls) to mark where you are going to cut with your knife. I usually just make a mark right at the top of the ring bezel.
 See the pencil mark? Right....THERE...(where's a pointy finger emoji when you really need one?)

3. Set the ring to the side and use the knife to slice off the end of the cork right above your pencil mark. This may be a good time to mention that the part you've just cut will be the bottom of the ring so make sure that the end of the cork you want to show on your ring is facing down into the bezel when you measure and mark. 
4. Spread the E-6000 inside the bezel (mostly on the flat bottom, not so much around the sides). I didn't get a picture of this part because E-6000 is a lot runnier than Super Glue and God only gave me 2 hands. A picture at this point would definitely have required 3.

5. Before you put the cork into its final spot, put the ring on whichever finger will wear it most. I tend to wear this ring on my right ring finger, so I turn the T a little more counter-clockwise than I would if I was going to wear it on my middle finger. This is more important when you are centering a letter or geometric pattern and you want it to sit straight on your hand while you're wearing it. It doesn't mean you can't switch fingers, it will just sit a hair crooked if you do.
6. Remove the ring and set it upright to dry. I use a ring mandrel, but I know not everyone has one of those so a Sharpie pen also works....or anything that is roughly the same size as your fingers. It takes about 12 hours to fully cure so make sure it's up and out of grabby-finger-reach.
Part of my fun in drinking a bottle of wine now is checking out the cork to see if it has any special markings. I found one in a bottle of 2006 white with the date stamped on the cork. That happens to be the year we got married so that's my next project!

A word about the ring bases: they are silver plated and not even sterling silver plated. If you have a nickel allergy, you would be better off searching Etsy for a 22mm bezel ring in sterling silver. They make them. They're out there. Order one of those to keep your hand from swelling up and falling off. I'm all for sacrificing for beauty but there are limits. If you don't have any metal sensitivities, this is a great ring base. I've been wearing my wine cork ring for about a year now and aside from the cork falling out (which is fully attributed to Super Glue + water + time), the ring base itself hasn't tarnished or worn much. It still looks pretty great, which is not always the case with base metals.

So, get thee to the liquor store. You have accessories to create!

1 comment:

  1. These are so fun! I bet you can sell them if you can find a way to custom stamp them on your own!


That's it, let it all out....