The original home ‘silversmithing’ set, Workbench London’s ring-making kit is the most addictive craft kit we’ve ever tried
Unusual and exciting concept
Lets you create something completely unique
No cons that we can find!
By Jess Beech
Always dreamt of making your own jewellery? What if we told you your dreams could become a reality, and from the comfort of your own home, too? We’re not sure if you’ve noticed, but this year there’s been a resurgence (or perhaps more a boost) in interest in certain craft-based hobbies. Within that, jewellery making kits have become sought-after products as people look for ways to both focus their attention and express their creativity. Who doesn’t love a new piece of jewellery? And a bespoke item that you’ve made yourself? Even better.
Among the companies operating in this realm is The Workbench, a London-based brand specialising in DIY ring-making kits, workshops and tutorials. Created by two professional jewellery designers (and friends), Kirstie Maclaren and Katie Woodward, the kits help you to create completely bespoke, brilliantly fun jewellery from the comfort of your own home. Simply carve your ring design from one of the two small wax casts included in the set, pop in the post and the clever folk at The Workbench will cast it in sterling silver, polish and return the finished product to you. Not a fan of silver jewellery? You can opt for yellow- or rose- gold plating instead, but this does cost a little more.
Pre-pandemic, Kirstie and Katie held The Workbench workshops, where you could create your ring design under their watchful (and expert) gaze. Events might be on hold for now, but you can still watch online videos and Instagram story highlights for plenty of top tips and guidance.
The Workbench London Specifications
- Starting price point: £115
- Collection size: 3
- Materials: Wax
- Tools included: Yes
VIEW NOW: The Workbench Box
Prices start at £115 for the original kit in sterling silver (rose and yellow gold options cost an extra £35), rising to £150 for the signet-ring kit. Prices for their very cool Wedding Band Carving Kit (what a brilliant idea!) start at £200 for the first instalment, and will vary depending on the size of the ring design and the material you choose.
If you make a mistake or have a mishap, extra wax costs from £5, with complete refill packs being priced from £75.
As you’d expect with a more complicated process, such as the lost-wax cast method used to create these rings, the kit’s contents become more complex. The original The Workbench London Ring Casting Kit includes...
- 2 wax ring casts: you can use one as your practice go, or get both designs cast for an additional £45.
- Paper and pencil: make like a real jeweller by sketching your design ideas first (we definitely recommend this)
- A code to unlock exclusive online ring-making tutorials
- A craft knife
- Two pieces of sandpaper (rough and smooth)
- Thumb protector (aka, a thimble)
- Ring box
- Ring sizer
- Pre-paid envelope for free UK delivery to The Workbench workshop
- A printed ring form for you to specify the size, finish (matte or shiny) and delivery address
Before you begin, use the code included in your set to unlock a series of online videos from Kirstie and Katie. They’ll explain how the ring-making process works, talk you through everything that comes with the kit and guide you through your carving.
In comparison with other jewellery-making kits, this one is expensive; to avoid any waste or mishaps, we’d recommend watching all of the videos and sketching some ideas before starting. We had a good snoop on the brand’s Instagram page before we got to work; it helped to see the range of designs that other customers had come up with before deciding on our own wax-carving plans.
The process will vary depending on the sort of ring you’re making, but to put it very simply, you’ll be using the craft knife as well as a combination of rough and smooth sandpaper to create your design. It’s worth noting here that the craft knife is very sharp, so always wear the included thumb protector when using it to avoid any accidents.
Take your time with the carving process – this is a kit to really luxuriate in and enjoy. You might want to do a little each evening, or complete your ring in one stretched-out sitting.
Once you’re happy with your final design (and have popped it on your finger to check it’s comfortable to wear) package it up and send it off along with the included form – this is used to specify your chosen metal (silver, yellow gold or rose gold vermeil), finish (high polish, matte or frosted) and ring size.
The Workbench London is trying to reduce the amount of plastic it uses, so if you no longer have a need for the ring sizer that’s included in your kit, they ask that return this in the same parcel.
Once received, The Workbench London uses the lost-wax casting process to create your bespoke ring. On average, it should take between 3 and 4 weeks for you to receive your finished one-of-a-kind piece.
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Ease of use
The beauty of this kit is that there’s no set design, so you can make your piece as simple or complex as you like. Some customers have even melted the wax for a gorgeous, unique finish – more details about that can be found on the brand’s Instagram page.
Initially, we found the carving technique a little tricky to master, but practice really does make perfect and by the end we were happy with what we’d achieved. Patience is important too. Because of the nature of the material, it’s best to work in small sections; this can feel a little tedious, but it’s all worth it as you start to see your hard work take shape.
If you’re really struggling with your kit, even with the help of the how-to videos, you can always reach out to the brand for a little extra guidance. They love to see customers’ finished designs too – this process may be individual, but it still retains something of the feeling of a shared experience.
As it involves using a craft knife, this kit is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18.
On a slightly lighter note, The Workbench London usually offers corporate events (can you think of a better team building activity) and even private parties – perfect for a special birthday or occasion. If you’re interested in this service, it’s best to contact them directly to see if it’s feasible with the latest pandemic restrictions.
The Workbench verdict
A brilliant idea skillfully executed, this is the lockdown project we all need. Nothing more to be said.
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