Introduction: Dragons Eye Ring

About: Jack of all trades, Master of none. I might not get much done, But Damm do I have fun. - Life of an ADHD crafter

Follow this Instructable to get your own impressive looking Dragon eye ring, I made these for a friend of mine who is into everything to do with Dragons, but honestly even without the fantastical element, they make an excellent statement piece of jewelry.

Feel free to play around with this technique, The colours and styles are endless. they don't have to be dragons, i think it would be fun to try and make one to match a pets eyes, but that's for another day.


To make the Ring:

  • Wood Veneer
  • Super Glue
  • Super Glue Activator Spray
  • Toothpicks
  • Tape
  • Sandpaper (100g, 180g, 320g, 600g, 800g)
  • Socket (a ring size larger then the one you want)

To make the Eye:

  • Dremel carving tool with a small carbide carving tip
  • UV Resin
  • UV Light
  • Acrylic paint (in colours of your choice)

Other Tools:

  • Vernier caliper
  • Metal polish
  • Soft rags (Old t-shirts)
  • 90% Alcohol
  • Toothbrush
  • wooden clothes pin (optional)
  • Water
  • Silicon dish (optional)
  • double sided tape
  • small macrame ring or anything a stable to hold the ring up.
  • PPE (dust mask and eye protection)

Step 1: Design

While it can be tempting to just jump into a project, and see where it takes you, sometimes a bit of planning will save you time, and materials.

So what you do first is sketch out a few designs, once you have a design you like, move on to colours, start with the colour of wood you have available, or are planning to use, and match the colour of the eye.

Once you have all your colours, and the style of ring that you want. We can move on to making the ring

Step 2: Prepping the Veneer

Now you need to train the veneer so it doesn't crack when rolling, there are two ways of doing this.

For both of them you need a long strip of the wood veneer, mine in 1/2 thick, i have found it is best to go at least a 1/4 inch thicker then you plan your ring to be, as your going to be sanding the edges straight and will need the leeway.

Sand one end down a bit so it won't crack when rolling

The first way is the more recommended one, place your strip of wood into a pot of warm water for an hour to overnight, (depends on the wood used), when nice and bendy, place the sanded down end against the end of the socket, wrap it around firmly, keeping the ends as even as you can, wrap it up in tape and place in a warm place till fully dry.

The second way is what I use when I'm in a hurry, however you will need heat safe gloves. now you take a soaking wet rag, wrap it around the veneer and place it in the microwave for a minute or two, once its steaming, carefully unwrap the rag (using the gloves), that immediately wrap it around the socket in the same way as stated above, this way while a bit more tricky will also dry much faster. however it will be hot so you will have to take more precautions.

Note: I have seen tutorials on making bentwood rings where they boil the wood, i don't recommend this as i have found that it can very easily bleach your wood, which is a look if you want it, but disappointing if you don't.

Step 3: Dry Fitting the Ring Blank

Once your veneer is dry, you can unwrap the tape and remove it from the socket. i like to stretch it all the way out so its a bit less annoying to work on.

First step is to dry fit it, wrap it back around the socket, once it's as thick as you want your ring to be, cut the end, leaving about 1/3 inch of overlap.

I went with 4 layers, but you can go thicker if you like, we're going to be carving into the ring and you want to have a good sized indent to get as many layers of resin in as possible

Step 4: Gluing the Ring Blank

Now once you have everything the way you want, we can move on to glueing it together,

Now i like to make a small puddle of glue then use a toothpick or cocktail stick to spread it on the ring, this gives you much more control.

Starting at the end you sanded down a bit, glue the ring together, making sure to get glue on every inch of the veneer. go slowly pulling firmly, keeping your ends even. doing this step properly can save you so much hassle later on, so don't rush it.

Once you come to the end, use the toothpick to hold the end down evenly, and give the whole ring a couple sprays of the activator spray.

Let it thoroughly dry for a couple minutes.

Note: It can be tempting to wear gloves, don't, they will cause you more trouble with getting stuck and ripping off leaving bits stuck. So if you can't stand super glue fingers it can help to wrap your fingers in masking tape, but frankly for me the lose of control isn't worth it. It will come off eventually.

Step 5: Shaping the Ring Blank

Here we're going to keep it simple, i just used 100g sandpaper, place it on a flat surface and use circular motions the sand one side of the blank even, be sure to turn the ring itself so your not applying pressure only in one place.

once you have one side the way you want it you can use it to make an even line around the other end, you can use a caliper or a marking tool, but i find it easiest to just put the ring on a flat surface, then prop up a pencil, hold it firmly the rotate the ring to get a nice even line around the ring.

Sand down this side to the line, go slowly, rotating often. once you have both sides flat, you might see tiny crevices, if you do, see the next step, if you don't, just skip it.

Step 6: Fixing Gaps

Don't worry this is an easy problem to solve, just use a kraft knife or the end of the toothpick to clear out the gap, (make it worse if you will),

Make a pile out of the shavings that you made sanding down the edges.

Add a drop of super glue into the crack then immediately push it down onto the dust, pack it down till it stopes picking up dust , repeat for all the gaps, then give it a spray of activateter, and a light sanding, and your good to go.

Step 7: Carving Out the Eye

I just realized how violent this step sounds...

For this step you will need a dremel carving tool, with a carving bit, i assume you could also use a diamond carving tip if that's what you have.

(Also its best if you wear your dust mask and eye protection since it it small precise work and you will probably be holding it close to your face.)

I like giving options for tools you can use, but for this i have no idea what you can use if you didn't have a dremel carving tool, if you have different ideas i would love to hear them.

First I sketch out the shape of the eye in the place that i want it to be.

Than using the dremel I carefully remove the wood layer by layer, i found it best to start in the middle and work my way to the edges, but it might be better for you you to go from the outside in, as always go slowly, you don't want to go to deep, it can help to measure the thickness of the ring then use the end of the caliper to see the amount you have left to go, I recommend leaving at least 0.5mm of wood left,

But you also don't want it to shallow as you need room for the layers.

Once your happy with the shape of the eye we can move on to painting.

Note: once again i don't recommend gloves when working with spinning tools, but I am wearing them since I cut my finger.

Step 8: Prepping for Painting

Here I definitely recommend that you make a few practice eyes first on scrap wood or paper, just follow the next few steps, try out couple of colours, and see how you like them that way your not gong to make as many mistakes on the ring you worked hard to get to this point.

Set up your UV light, i just use a light bulb hung over the edge of a large tin can, which makes for a warm, reflective, dust free environment.

Use the double sided tape to hold your rings on their edge so you have a nice flat working area, i secured them to tiny macramé rings, but small blocks of wood or bottle caps would be fine, you just want it to be able to fit it under your light.

I like to add uv resin to a silicon dish, and apply it with a toothpick but you can use the bottle as well, i just like the control my method gives me.

Set out the colours that your going to be using, you will just need a drop of each. (I used Yellow, Gold, Light red, deep red, and black.)

I am showing how I made a red and gold eye, feel free to use the colours you want, i just recommend you have a metallic colour in the mix as they help it look more 3D.

Step 9: Painting the Base Layer

First a start with the base layer, I use white for this, your not going to see a lot of it so don't worry about it being super solid, i watered down my pain a bit so that it dries faster, which sounds counter productive, but it works. I also added a touch of shading to the corner, but i don't think it added anything in the end, so feel free to skip it.

Here you can use some black to clean up the white edges of the eye, i did it in the next step but it makes more sense to do it now,

Then i used a black brush pen to draw in the pupil of the eye,

Then using a toothpick with the tip removed, i added a drop of the UV resin, spread it out evenly and placed it into the tin with the uv light to cure for 2 minutes, (time may vary, it shouldn't be tacky), don't test with your fingers as this can lead to problems that will need to be solved with acetone, and leave fingerprints and dust in the eye when we want to as clear as possible.

Step 10: Adding the First Layer

I chose to go from the inside out, you can do the same or going from the outside in would also be a valid way of doing it.

i started with the yellow, using a very fine brush, and slightly watered down paint, i painted tiny lines out from the center of the eye. Then i did the same with the gold on top of the yellow. let that dry, and add another drop of UV resin.

Let it cure.

Step 11: Adding the Second Layer

Now i used the light red i watered it down alot and added very light lines overlapping the gold and yellow,

once that was dry a did it again with a couple lines of less watered down paint

Touch up the black, you don't have to go right to the edge as a bit of texture looks cool, but you also want it to be black all the way though.

Add a Layer of resin, and let it cure.

Step 12: Adding the Third Layer

Next you add the deep red, add it the same way as the others in small lines slightly overlapping the former colour.

Touch up the black.

Add a Layer of Resin, and let cure.

Step 13: Last Layer

I mixed some black into the red to get a dark burgundy, then used that in thin lines to add the last layer of deep colour.

I added a couple more gold lines coming out from the center as well.

Touch up the black for the last time, then fill up the eye the rest of the way, you will want to over fill it a bit. so we can sand it down.

let it cure on last time for 3 times what your usual time was, mine was 2 min so it did 6 min to be sure.

Step 14: Shaping the Ring

This part was very hard to do but you just have to trust the process,

First came the 180g sandpaper, Used it to smooth out the entire surface of the ring resin included, get all the edges and don't forget the inside,

And since i don't like really chucky rings I added an angle to the sides so it was a bit thinner in the back, if your doing this remember to go slowly, and measure the sides often to keep them as even as possible.

I also used 320g sandpaper, first dry then wet, then the same thing with the 600g but only on the eye, you don't want your wood smoother, or the finish will have a hard time sticking to it, which was a problem i had to learn the hard way.

Once it is the shape you want it, but still a size or so to large, we can move on to finishing

Step 15: Prep for Finishing, AKA, the Hard Part

I always had a hard time finishing rings with super glue, however, there really is no finish that compares to it when i comes to durability and shine when done right. so i will do my best to make this a fail proof as possible for you.

First clean your workstation, you don't want and dust or debri around

Then clean your ring; since we did some wet sanding your ring will be a bit damp, this can be very bad, as even a bit of damp turns super glue white, so to fix this, use 90% isopropyl alcohol and a soft toothbrush to draw out any remaining moisture and clean out any sawdust that remains on the ring, let the alcohol evaporate entirely

i find that using the back end of a clothes pin to hold my ring is the best when finishing the outside. you can use a dowel or socket to hold it, just be very careful to not glue it onto the holder.

Step 16: Finishing the Outside

Add a drop of the glue onto the ring and use a toothpick to spread it out nice and evenly try to get the edges as well.

Now the trick to using activator spray properly so it doesn't dry to fast and turn white as well. is to wait a couple seconds to let it set a bit then hold it as far away from you as possible and just give a few light taps of the spray in its general direction, let it set a bit more then when its hard, (test with a toothpick not your fingers)

Give the outside one more coat. You will have less time to smooth it out as the spray will still be working , but try to get it as smooth as possible

Step 17: Finishing the Inside

Now take it of the clothes pin, and resign yourself to superglue fingers, as gloves are not really an option, you can get finger savers, but unless you have those you're going to get a bit of super glue on yourself.

Do the same thing that you did for the outside, add a drop of glue and spread it out as evenly as you can, but now be sure to get one of the sides.

activate it the same way as you did the outside,

Then flip the ring and give it a second coat inside getting the other side.

Repeat these two steps till you have about 5-8 layers on both the inside and outside.

If you see a white film on your layer of finish, most of the time you can use the toothbrush and alcohol to remove it.

Note: If you stick yourself to the ring at any point in this process, then carefully detach yourself and use a craft knife to shave off the dull part, don't use sand paper, as you will have to sand it out to 800g for it to be invisible when applying the next coat.

Step 18: Sanding

Once your Ring has a nice layer of finish its time for more sanding.

Use 180g if its very bumpy, but most of the time you should get away with using the 320g, you want to sand till you can't see any bright spots (see picture), be sure to get the sides and inside.

Use the caliper to make sure that it is the right size, and to keep everything even.

once your happy with how it looks and feels, you can move on to wet sanding, first with the 320g, then 600g. then 800g, you can go higher if you like but I've never found it necessary.

if you see deep scratches go back a couple grits, and work your way back up, its a bit frustrating but it will give you that mirror shine.

Step 19: Polishing, AKA. the Best Part

This is the step where all your hard work suddenly becomes worth it.

Use a soft cloth, with some metal, or automotive polish, place it in the palm of your hand and rub the living daylights out of it. You will feel it becoming smooth.

Get all the sides and inside as well .

Now use a new clean cloth and do it again without the polish and watch your ring shine!

Step 20: Optional Step

If you want you can add a drop of more UV-resin on top of the eye and use a toothpick to carfully shape it out into the shape of the eye. Then quickly cure it.

It does make it look a tiny bit more 3D, but frankly I prefer them flat, they look plenty 3D, and UV-resin is not as durable as super glue so it will be easier to damage.

Step 21: Enjoy!

Wearing these rings makes me so happy, they are striking especially in the sunlight. I tried, but the pictures simply don't show the 3D effect well enough, your going to have to try it for yourself.

Step 22: Idea #1

Here is another one I've made, the wood is Mahogany and it goes so well with the green eye.

I used silver, lime green, leaf green, and dark green.

I think that it's the favorite of any one i've made.

Step 23: Idea #2

This one made of wenge wood, its a bit too busy, so i wouldn't recommend it, but i love the gold and purple in the eye

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