Tag Archives: product design

Ringgg: How It’s Made

Make Something Awesome!

[Update: Ringgs will be available on Sundays starting May 5th at the SoWa Open Market in Boston as well as regularly on my etsy site.]

My favorite part of making Ringggs is explaining to people how they’re made and watching as they register the familiar material that they’re holding in their hand. Then we have a conversation about how cool it is to transform something old and discarded into something new and beautiful.

Ringgg - Upcycled Jewelry from Discarded Telephone Wire - by 9000things

It starts with a plentiful and mostly obsolete material: coiled telephone cord. And a lot of it.

Telephone cord is recyclable. However, the amount of copper inside coiled phone cord is so small, it’s barely worth the energy to separate it. And I think this is a better solution anyway!

Ringgg - Upcycled Discarded Telephone Cords - 9000things

I get these cords everywhere! I have friends at recycling centers who will save them for me. I’ve gotten cords from many universities in Boston. Also: thrift shops, yard sales, FreeCycle and, straight up, the trash.

First, I cut the cords into smaller, Ringgg-sized coils. This part is fun because I find endless combinations of bright colors on the inside.

Ringgg - Upcycled Telephone Cords Stripped - 9000things

Most follow the standard: black, red, green and yellow seen above. But some are clear, some striated, some matte. Then there are crazy tropical colors, neutral pastels, 80s neons, sparkly copper… pretty much everything you see on my blog. (check out here and here¬†and my shop here)

The rubber is stripped off of both sides, leaving one coil of sheathing intact in the middle to serve as an adjustable ring band. Wrap the band under one finger…

Ringgg - Upcycled Telephone Cords as Jewelry - 9000things

…Pull and twist the wires and VOILA! You’re ready to wear your Ringgg!

The curliness from the telephone cord is permanently fixed in the Ringgg, making it fun to play with, but durable. It’s like having a tiny interactive sculpture on your finger.

Ringgg - Upcycled Jewelry from Industrial Materials - by 9000things

And that’s how it’s made! Awesome, right?

*Just a note: I’m posting this ‘how it’s made’ as a kind of Open Source technology. Feel free to learn from my ideas, to make a Ringgg for yourself or your friend, and to draw inspiration for your own DIY upcycle projects.

It would be awesome if you don’t steal my original idea and try to sell it. This is my baby, and I’m really proud of it. If you’d like to sell Ringggs, contact me for wholesale or a license agreement. Don’t be that guy.

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Ringgg: The Beginning

Used Telephone Wire: Design Project

In February 2012, I first launched Ringgg on Etsy. This design project has roots in my art school days when I made sculptures from parallel cable wires and other discarded materials from the IT department.

So I had a big bag full of used coiled telephone cords left over that were collecting dust in my closet. Telephone cords can be recycled, but the minute amount of copper that is captured is barely worth the process.

Weeks of cutting rubber and stripping wire and it came to me that the materials were perfectly suited for making repurposed rings. Several iterations later, I had an elegant and simple solution and thus Ringgg was born.

Reused telephone cords become colorful rings - Ringgg by 9000 things

The most surprising thing about these old wires is the large breadth of colors used throughout the history of telephone cordage. Contemporary wires are grey and white. Boring.

But back in the 80s, a creative engineer somewhere decided to go heavy on the neons and by the 90s we have some pretty awesome color combinations including lime green and magenta. The 2000s introduced clear coated copper (so futuristic) and variations on that theme.

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