Make you own rings - and join the obsession!
If you live anywhere in Europe, you might think "what on earth is she talking about? We have had this system of making rings for YEARS, and we're already over it..."
Yes, I "discovered" this way of making ring tops that screw on a metal band several years ago (maybe 3 or 4) in France, and I was as thrilled about it then as I am now. Only in the meantime, I kind of forgot about it, for a number of reasons:
I discovered the necessary tools (mandrels, disks and hex-nuts) at a US supplier, only, EACH mandrel with one size disk costs $ 32. And since these are so much fun to make, one mandrel will not make you happy.
Then, in order to SELL the ring tops, you either had to buy a bunch of rings in different sizes (the average price of the matching rings - mostly in stainless steel - was $ 20). On top of that, I did't really like those stainless steel rings, they were very narrow and would turn on your finger, once you managed to get them over the knuckle. So, the idea of selling the rings was too complex, and I just gave up. The same was probably true for other beadmakers - there was a short "surge" in popularity - some artists (like Leah Fairbanks) incorporated ring top making in their classes...but that eventually petered out as well. It was just too expensive to really become "main-stream".
What is different now? My friend Tom Driesch (inventor of our beloved Beadhoppers...) took the "matter" into his hand and applied his creative genius to the problem. NOW you can purchase a mandrel with disk for $ 13 (or less if you buy the pro-kit...) and on top, Tom solved the problem of the unattractive-uncomfortable ring in multiple sizes - by designing a truely elegant, attractive and comfortable adjustable ring.
(click here to read more and see patterned rings...)
"Adjustable ring" usually means "cheap, cheezy and pinching your finger" - but Tom turned it into a "ring-dream come true". I am sure I am not the only person who was relatively large knuckles - now I can slip the ring over the knuckle, squeez it a little to tighten it - and my gigantic ring top doesn't move around.
At this point, the rings are silver-plated - which would give me a pause under normal circumstances, but this is one of the things I love about dealing with Tom: He only offers the highest quality. His plating process is multiple times thicker than the "ordinary" plating (made in Germany), and before I even considered introducing these rings to you, I wore one for 6 weeks, never taking it off, through showers and hottubs and garden dirt and and .... there is not a smidgen of wear on this ring. I am totally in love.
The exiting part in my eyes is that you can now SELL your ring-tops with the ring - and you don't have to contemplate how many sizes to order. If you want to buy just one ring to check it out, it's $ 9.90 - but there are a variety of bundle or wholesale options that bring the price down considerably.
(Geee, I have to remember to keep this short, it's like I"m introducing the presidental nominee....)
I could gush on and on - but the best thing is really to hop over to the Beadhoppers website and start exploring!
There is not only the fantastic merchandise (and many other cool things) for sale, but also a lot of FREE information.
I am not sure whether this video on making ring tops is easy to find (note to Tom: put this in plain sight), but here is the link. It's a very informative youtube video in a charming Belgian accent.
One comment to the video: the lady makes the ring-top without the help of any tools. Me, I don't have time to spend 15 minutes on just making the base of the design. So, I created a special ring-top-shaper (aka Cabochon shaper). You can also use it to shape regular beads, very cool tool!
The Cabochon shaper: 1 inch wide (measured without the handle), 5 1/4 inch long, 5 indentations of different width and depth, $ 60 (this is a limited edition tool, I have 10!)
A few more comments before you check out the Beadhoppers website: there is an incredible FREE tutorial on making Anemone implosion rings. Even if you have no desire to make rings, you will love this beautifully made tutorial. The link to the downloadable file is on the bottom of each ring-related page.
Something else I've had my hands in: Tom used to offer a "Ring Kit Pro" with 3 mandrel-disk sets, plus 6 rings.
From my own experience I know that 3 mandrels is not enough, once you've caught the ring-bug. So, he put together a larger kit with 5 mandrels and 10 rings and a bunch of hex-nuts. (the image doesn't match the actual content yet...) NOW we're talking! It sounds like it costs a lot ($ 169), but if you think about it - you can make 10 ringtops with rings, if you only sell each for $ 35 (which is a reasonable price), you already come out ahead....
So, I hope you are curious enough to give this a try, making ringtops is INSANELY fun and you won't regret making the investement.
But WAIT - there is more:
For a limited time Tom is offering FREE SHIPPING (for orders over $ 89, European countries are exempt for tax reasons). Just enter the coupon code CORINABEADS at checkout.
I will offer more how-tos and "stuff" in about a week, by then you should have your new toys...