My obsession with making rings started one day in my messy workshop. I was a bit depressed, unable to walk because of a knee injury. I had just been feeling well enough to step into the chaotic space, when a glint of gold caught my eye. It was a piece of 1.8mm brass rod — leftover from a workshop where i had learned about circuit sculpture. Right next to it was some LED Sequins from Adafruit. I thought it was curious that the gold tone of brass matched the gold tone of the sequin. Then, a lightning of an idea struck my brain, and i was literally giggling as I grabbed my solder and started to work. I wish I was exaggerating. That day, I made my very first glowing circuit sculpture ring.

The original insta post is proof of the giddyness

Ever since then, my intrusive thoughts have been around ring designs. I find the ring form factor to be a fun challenge because of how compact the electronic and ornamental parts must be. This size constraint is great creative fodder, and whenever I come across some new format of LED or some novel brass shape, my first thought is always “oooo pretty 😍”  often followed closely by “can I put that into a ring?”

A collection of my rings on some custom display stands I made!

These set of of rings are in the Casually Glowy 2024 Exhibit, and they are some of my most favorite designs. Let me tell you about a couple of them.

Glowstitch ring

Glowstitch ring insta post

My incredible maker friend Stephanie Piper made these LED strips she calls Glowstitch LEDs. She designed them to be machine sewable onto fabrics, unlike the rest of the existing sewable LEDs on the market which require hand-sewing. It turns out, they can also function well when (carefully) integrated into brass jewelry. I often love deviating from the intended purpose of materials, so this was extra fun.

Tesseract Cube ring

Tesseract cube insta post

I had been experimenting with integrating LEDs into resin infused with mica powder to evenly diffuse light into a 3D shape. At the same time, I had also found out about this incredible project from mixtela’s youtube channel and was obsessed with the tiiiiny battery pack that was used there. These ingredients came together to form the Tesseract Cube ring, which I believe is one of my easiest-to-wear designs, although the battery life is very short at less than an hour. One day I’d like to figure out how to make this better.

Celestial Sphere

Celestial sphere insta post

Sometimes, I get ideas that are so pervasive that I have to bring them to life, even if the process might end up being incredibly frustrating. But hey, no pain no gain, or something like that. This ring was made with a brass tube where I drilled a tiny hole, and pushed the leads of an LED through. Sounds simple, but I can assure you that it was a day filled with swearing and a bit of crying. I didn’t think ahead, so the resin sphere centerpiece had to be cast after the LED was installed within the brass tube, which was its own special hell. Thank goodness that the result was quite worth it.

I have made a TON of other rings over the past few years. Here are a few more that I still enjoy:

I'll definitely keep making more rings to help make the world just a tiny bit more glowy ✨

Bonus: Ring Stands

For this exhibit, I had to figure out how to prevent the toil of having to change out the coin cell batteries on the 27 (!) pieces of jewelry on display often. Some rings with a single LED would likely be fine for an entire day on a 1220 coin cell, but others, like the Glowstitch ring, would need multiple battery changes. So I made some custom 3d printed ring stands with a lasercut base. The base has the ring title engraved on it, and the battery within is a 2032 coin cell that provides an edge-lit glow to the title as well as extended battery power for the ring. I still have 27 coin cell batteries to replace, but hopefully I won't have to do it as often.

Thanks for reading. Subscribe to this blog for more (occasional) content! And if this post inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear from you, I’m @chardane on Instagram. Also, if you see me being casually glowy at Open Sauce 2024 or Teardown 2024, please come say hi!