How do you generally shop for rings? Most of us will just pick one that pretty and try it on. (Which probably means you should disinfect new rings before you wear them – even the fancy super expensive ones!) But if you’re shopping online and you may be unclear on ring sizes.
In that case, you might use a string or plastic strip. Some stores have cut-out sizing strips that you can print, snip, and slip around your finger to ensure the right fit. But if you’re a lord or lady of the rings, it may be worth buying a ring sizer for your online window shopping excursions.
But unless your ring is a diamond worth thousands of dollars, you probably don’t want the fuss or expense of taking it to a jeweler for resizing. So we’re going to share tips on how to make a ring smaller. But if it’s an heirloom or has insurance, call the pros! Some will do it for free!
1. Confirm Your Decision
When a ring fits right, you can slip it over your knuckle with some resistance but no pain. The ring may have some give, but it shouldn’t have enough room for a full 360° rotation. But remember, at different times of the day, month or year, the girth of your finger changes.
You may feel bloated during your period, or the ring may feel loose if you skip supper. If your ring starts to slide up and down your finger, wait a few days to see if it’s permanent. It could just be shrinkage after a cold shower, a soothing swim, or a deep-cleaning session with the freezer.
2. Verify Your New Size
Use any of the methods from our intro section to confirm your current size. Typically, rings can only be adjusted a size or two without ruining the jewelry. So if you’re resizing after a baby, drastic weight loss, or slimming surgery, consider buying a new ring rather than resizing.
To be sure of your new size, you could buy a cheap sizing ring. Or you could go to a local jeweler – many are happy to let you try their sizing set. It gets you in the shop and you’ll be browsing their display area so for them, it’s free advertising. They will try to sell you something though.
3. Think About the Metal
If your ring is a cheap trinket from a garage sale or craft fair, it may not be worth the expense of professional resizing. Or any resizing really, since you can just go buy a smaller replacement. And the new ring may end up costing less than resizing, which could go from $20 to hundreds.
So metals can’t be resized, regardless of their cost or carats. These include titanium, tungsten, and stainless steel. Eternity rings and pavé rings can’t be resized because of the gemstones on the shank. And if your ring has a tension setting, there’s no easy way to make it smaller.
4. Dodge the DIY
The internet is full of home-spun tips on how to make a ring smaller. These include padding the inner band of your ring with tape, silicone, super glue, liquid guard, string, or even candle wax. We’ll revisit some of these options in detail, and they work fairly well on low-cost rings.
But if your ring is more expensive, you don’t want to risk damaging it. Some of these quick-fixes could react with the metal and end up discoloring or scratching your ring. Others may reach with your skin, causing allergic responses. And some – like wax – are just messy (and melty!).
5. Use Resizing Beads
Jewelers can easily install removable sizing beads on your ring. These metal beads are welded to the inner band of the ring. Adding two rings to the bottom makes your ring half a size smaller. Add two more beads at the inner top of the ring to lose another half size. And they have other advantages as well. The beads help your ring retain its upright position on your finger.
This shows off any gems or decorative details more clearly. You can add or remove beads as needed, but you can only attach a limited number because you’re impeded by ring circumference. Also, some consumers don’t like how the beads press against their fingers.
6. Put a Spring in its Instep
You can buy a small u-shaped horseshoe spring insert and have that welded to the inner bottom of your ring. This insert is bendy, so it coils around your finger for a snugger fit. This is one of the best suggestions on how to make a ring smaller because the spring – by nature – is elastic. And it can adjust your ring up or down by one size, depending on its structuring and flexibility.
So it will adjust to your finger width as it changes due to hormones, time of day, season, skipped meals on hectic days, or weight fluctuation during puberty, pregnancy, or even menopause. And you can remove your spring insert at any time. Get good quality so it doesn’t stain, chafe, or irritate your finger. Cheap springs can cause injuries and allergic reactions, so vet your selection.
7. Bar the Ring Up
As you puzzle over how to make a ring smaller, you’ll have notice spring-set rings are more comfortable than beaded rings. The comfort levels of a barred ring lie somewhere in between. A horizontal metal bar is laid across the bottom of the ring shank. It could be a straight bar that hooks both sides of the ring, meaning you can raise or lower its level to sift sizes.
Or it could be a u-shaped bar that has a hinge and a latch. You can lift the latch or drop it to reduce or increase your ring diameter by several sizes. And because the bar is curved, it sits snug against your fingers whether the latch is open or closed. If the sizing bar is well made, its sides, seams, and edges will be fine and smooth. It’s unlikely to snag your clothes or cinch your fingers.
8. Paint it Out
Nail polish is a common go-to method for people with metal allergies. You can apply a clear coat on the back of your watch or on any potentially allergenic jewelry. You don’t have to paint the whole thing – just the part that consistently touches your skin. This technique also comes up when you’re Googling how to make a ring smaller. Apply several coats to the inner ring shank.
Use a non-toxic nail varnish and test it elsewhere to be sure it stays subtle and see-through after drying. Nail polish is silky, so it will feel smooth and non-intrusive on your finger, just like the original metal. This option is popular because it’s invisible and doesn’t mess the aesthetics of your ring. Plus, most people have clear nail polish at home. But it will chip and peel with time.
9. Cut and Squeeze
Thickness plays a role in how to make a ring smaller. If it’s too thick or dense, you can’t easily snip it, even with professional jeweler’s tools. Plus, after cutting, you have to squeeze the ring sides together, weld the joint, and possibly reshape the ring, depending on how big a chunk you took out. This method has lots of drawbacks. The new seam may snag clothes or scratch you.
And of course every cut and joint weakens the ring, so you don’t want to resize it too often. So the ring has to be strong enough to withstand the cutting and reattaching process. This only works on sturdy shanks. You want a skilled jeweler to do the cutting and soldering otherwise they may burn your ring, melt it, or leave visible flaws at the seam. Don’t try this one at home.
10. Put it in Plastic Ring Snuggles
Earlier, we showed you how to slip a spring insert to make your ring smaller. These spring inserts can be customized at a jewelry store. But if you’re sure of your ring size, you can pre-order the spring and just slip it into place, no joinery required. An even cheaper version of this quick-fix is to buy a plastic insert. It comes as a coil, tube, or sleeve to slip around your shank.
The plastic sleeve or wedge isn’t attached to the ring, so it can fall out. And being plastic, it’s not as durable as metal inserts. Plastic is less comfortable than metal as well, partly because it doesn’t adjust to your body temperature as intuitively as metal does. It molds well though. And because the most common component is food-grade silicone, it withstands germs effectively.
11. Goo and Glue
Hot glue guns use glue rods to attach beads and other items during crafting. These rods are made from polymers, so when electric current heats up the glue, it melts to form a bonding agent then solidifies, holding your two surfaces together. If you’re wondering how to make a ring smaller with this technique, you shouldn’t apply the glue nozzle directly on the ring shank.
This makes it harder to control the amount and thickness of the layer you’re applying. And if this layer of glue is uneven, it may scratch your fingers or fray your clothes. Melt the glue on a separate surface then use a toothpick to carefully drip it into the shank of your ring. You’ll have to be quick because hot glue dries almost instantly. Smooth it out before it forms an ugly lump.
12. Kitchen Ring Couture
We’re all familiar with silicone sealant for DIY waterproofing. But you can also use food-grade or fish-grade silicone to make your ring smaller. It comes as a quick-drying spray or gel, so you do need to work fast. Use the same technique as hot glue or other kinds of glue. Apply the silicone on a separate surface than dip the bottom of the ring in it, or work it into place.
You want to mold the silicone into a thin, even layer that focuses on the inner back of the ring band. Smooth out the silicone to keep it slim and comfy on your finger. Tube glue works here as well, but double-check that the glue remains see-through after drying. Glue isn’t the best option for metal rings though, because it looks unattractive and can react with some metal alloys.
13. Go Fish!
Fishing line has millions of uses that have nothing to do with fish. Okay, not millions, but it’s a helpful tool when you’re exploring how to make a ring smaller. Wrapping a string, rag, rubber band, or cloth around your ring shank can make it smaller. But these materials are absorbent, so they will soak up sweat, sebum, and other fluids, potentially causing infections and irritation.
Instead, wrap the ring in fishing line, just like you would with string. Fishing line is waterproof, so it’s a healthier option. And its fine texture is less likely to bother your skin. The texture of the looped threads will keep the ring from slipping, and because fishing line is transparent and subtle, the microfilament won’t dramatically shift the aesthetics and contours of your ring.
We’re not including this as part of the regular list because it’s very cheeky. In the direst case, just snip a slim strip off your phone’s protective film and use it to line your ring. Screen protectors are fairly affordable, so you can buy one rather than peeling it off to leave the phone exposed.
These phone films are designed to respond to smartphone touchscreens, so they feel natural and unobtrusive, smooth, and silky against your skin. But just like your smartphone cover, the film can scratch, chip, or peel. And it’s not waterproof, so it could slough off in the shower.
Put Your Ring on Us!
How well does your ring fit right now? Show us a photo or a quick clip in the comments! Or tell us how you got your ring resized, we’d love to hear about it. But if you’re worried about exposing yourself to jewel heists, turn your hand and show us your palms instead … safety first!