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How to size a non-round ring


Hi Anne,

Years ago, a company use to produce a flexible rubber mandrel.
Unfortunately, they would wear down over time and then the finger
sizes would be off. People complained and the company decided not to
make them anymore. Since then I’ve run into this several times and
have found avery simple fix.

Take your solid mandrel with good markings stamped into it (numbers
and lines for the different sizes going down the mandrel). Next,
take a sheet of plain printer paper and roll it around the mandrel,
make a mark on the paper where the paper overlaps about 1/4". Cut
the excess paper off and roll the paper back around the mandrel and
tape the paper together. With the paper still on the mandrel, take a
pencil and rub it up and down where the markings are stamped on the
mandrel. Voila! You now have a flexible mandrel.

Good Luck,
Brian Joseph


hi brian,

i am a visual learner, so i am dense when it comes to this
explanation. so i’m going to see if i can get a better understanding
by asking some additional questions.

i have a couple round ring mandrels with the size markings on it. are
you saying that if i can make a paper cone, so to speak, slip it over
the round mandrel and somehow transfer the size markings to this cone
shaped paper mandrel, then i’d just slip it through my new non-round
ring shank, then i would know its size? and if yes, that’s wonderful
and useful, but what if i need to know how much metal to cut first? i
can calculate that with a round mandrel, so basically, i’m still
wondering if the shape does not matter–just the amount of metal?

so here is what i was originally querying and perhaps not giving
enough details, and being a visual learner, i should not have
short-cutted my question. i now want to make ring shanks that are
not round. i have mandrels in the shapes i’d like–basicallq
squarish with rounded corners or round on the bottom and flat along
the top, etc. but none of these have any size markings. if i sized
it with the round mandrel–let’s say size 9–and then put it on the
squarish one and reshaped (yes i know it could alter the size a
little, but lets ignore that for now, as i can compensate for that)
would i have the correct size ring?

thanks to everyone that has answered thus far, but being a visual
learner, i have to plead that i didn’t understand the responses.

thanks again.


If someone was going to consistently make rings of a certain shape,
such as square with rounded corners, why not use an inexpensive set
of metal ring sizers and gently shape the round ring of the size you
want the ring to be on the mandel of the shape you want the ring to
be, and then you can use the ring sizer to size a customers finger?

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


Anne- The shape of the ring does not matter. It still takes the same
amount of metal.

Use dividers and a measuring plate to calculate how much metal to
remove for a size or how long a piece to make a shank.

To make a paper mandrel, you wrap a round metal mandrel with a brown
paper bag. Trim the ends flat and roll the ends under just a little
bit to stabilize it. Say 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Then spray with clear
lacquer to stiffen. Next, using ring sizers, mark the sizes on the
paper mandrel with an extra fine point sharpie. Then lacquer again.
We use this every day to size rings that are not round.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer


I’ve found the easiest way to accomplish these types of complicated
tasks is with the use of explosives. Something less than a kilo of
plastic, like C-4 should do the trick. (Forget about black
powder…way too much smoke.) And of course, the proverbial word of
caution - don’t forget to wear those safety goggles.



people -

you size rings? non-round rings too? what a concept! when i am asked
at shows as to the size of my rings - none of which is round - my
answer is "whatever is the length of the silver strip i find first."
two ladies came into my booth at one show, tried on all of the rings
and favored a couple of them. when one lady got hung up on one ring
fitting one finger, her friend pointed out, “honey, if you really
want that ring you’ll FIND a finger it fits!” logic prevailed and
sale was completed.

being enjoyable is more important than being ‘right’.
‘right’ is a state of judgement - ‘enjoyable’ is a state of the heart.


In years past, showing work in various galleries, I could not seem
to make round, easy to size rings. I experimented with lots of
different ring shapes, but unfortunately, most were not easy to size.
In my experience, a potential buyer will want the ring they are
buying to be a specific size for a specific finger, and if they can’t
get the ring in that size, most often the sale is off.

If you are offering the same ring in different sizes, then there
isn’t a problem. The customer can choose the best fitting ring. But
in many cases, the ring they want to buy won’t fit them, and most
galleries will require you (the artist) to size your ring the
customer bought. Hopefully that is easy enough to do, ( or have done
by someone else) because if it isn’t, then you may have to re-make
the ring in the correct size.

I think that it would be great to have customers who would buy a
ring they liked, regardless of size, but I tend to think those
customers are the exception rather than the rule.

Anyone else with experiences with sizing rings for customers want to
weigh in here?

Jay Whaley

Anyone else with experiences with sizing rings for customers want
to weigh in here? 

If someone doesn’t see fitting a ring to a customer’s finger as part
and parcel of the business, then they’re in the wrong business. And
we don’t sell someone a ring and then charge them to make it fit
them. If it should happen that someone picks out a size six and wants
it to be a ten, then that would be different, but it’s never
happened, either. To us it’s obvious…