Tag Archive | chainmaille

I Dream in Chainmaille

I have been weaving a lot of chainmaille lately.  It had been a few years since I’d played with lovely metal rings and pliers.  I had forgotten how much I love it.

I will share some pictures of my latest projects but first I thought I’d share some of the places I find supplies and inspiration.

Let me preface the rest of this post with 2 important things.

1 – I am not affiliated with these businesses in any way.

2 – I am not being paid.  However, if any of these businesses see my post and would like to send me some rings, I promise to put them to good use – and talk about it later.

Instructions

Chainmail Basket – doesn’t appear to have any tutorials of its own but is essentially a site that curates the tutorials from Maille Artisans. Fantastic charts and links. Really fabulous resource site.

David Chain Jewelry – some free, some paid, interesting variety of tutorials. I was impressed with the free tutorial for making a magnetic clasp.

Dylon Whyte – author of beautiful tutorials and several books for jewelry making. Tutorials can be purchased through his Etsy store.   Some of his patterns are available for free at his Art of Chainmaille website.

Maille Artisans – fantastic site with free tutorials on every weave I could think of a dozens and dozens I can’t. The galleries of finished projects are really inspirational and the forums are a good place to go when you get stuck. The site can be a little overwhelming due to the huge number of tutorials and gallery photos.

Maille of the Dreamseeker –last updated in 2007. Ten tutorials for jewelry, candle holders, dice bags, etc. Plus a site of several chainmaille inlay patterns.

Maillers Worldwide – free tutorials and galleries of finished projects. Not as comprehensive as Maille Artisans and you have to get a free subscription/account to access the tutorials. Active forums are a great place to visit for advice.

Supply Sources

Remember that when buying jump rings from non-chainmaille sources, sizes are usually the outer diameter. For chainmaille, the inner diameter size is the important size. While you can use the wire gauge and outer diameter to find the inner diameter but you need to be aware that this is necessary.

Aluminim Jumprings.com – aluminum, copper, brass, bronze, rubber, silver, silver-filled, etc. – I have not purchased from this company.

Art Beads – not chainmaille but a good place to buy findings and bling, tools, wire, etc.

Bead Sisters – geared toward jewelry. UK based. Large selection of kits, tutorials, tools, and base metal rings. Also have rubber, sterling silver, niobium plus findings, many types of beads, Swarovski crystals, all types of wire and stringing materials, and knitting spools and accessories. Some really nice free tutorials. – I have not purchased from this company.

Blue Buddha Boutique – geared toward jewelry. Large selection of kits, tutorials, tools, and base metal rings. Some really nice free tutorials. I buy from here frequently.

C & T Designs – geared toward jewelry. Kits, tutorials, base metal rings, sterling silver, and argentium silver rings, findings, tools, etc. – I have not purchased from this company.

Chainmail Dude –Seems to be geared toward jewelry and armor. – I have not purchased from this company.

Chainmail Joe– bulk aluminum rings and kits for making wearing chainmaille armor. I have not purchased from this company.

Fire Mountain Gems – not chainmaille but a good place to buy findings and bling, tools, wire, etc.

Metal Designz–Gold filled rings, sterling silver rings, rubber rings, base metal rings. Check out their etched scales; just beautiful. I have not purchased from this company.

Rio Grande – not a chainmaille source but a one stop shop for jump rings, wire, tutorials on making your own jump rings, tools for making your own jump rings, and everything jewelry. Seriously, everything from casting to beading. Geared more toward the professional jeweler but so much fun to browse.

Spiderchain – gold filled, sterling silver, niobium, and base metal rings. I have not purchased from this company.

Sue Ripsch – geared toward jewelry. –gold filled square rings! These are hard to find. Plus other precious metal rings. No base metals. They have kits and tutorials also. I have not purchased from this company.

The Ring Lord – just tons of rings, scales, wire, etc. in many different materials. Tons of tutorials, free and paid. One stop shop for jewelry and other chainmaille projects. Only complaint is that the time between ordering and getting your order is long so plan accordingly.

Weave Got Maille– sterling silver, argentium, gold filled, and stainless rings. Kits, tools, etc. I have not purchased from this company.

Urban Maille – some of the most beautiful rings I’ve ever worked with. Sterling silver, argentium, copper, twisted, square, etc. Nice tutorials, kits, tools. So much information on weaving. This was the first company I purchased from and it spoiled me.

My recent revisiting of chainmaille occurred because a friend asked me to teach her daughter how to make a Byzantine bracelet.  We had fun and my friend asked me to help her pick out some new projects for her daughter.  I visited Blue Buddha Boutique’s site and looked at the project kits.  And that’s where I started again.  Even though I know how to make many weaves, it was easier to get back into it with some pretty kits.

The first chainmaille project I ever tried was a Japanese 12 in 2 bracelet.  Not exactly a beginner weave.  Even with that and with the numerous projects I’ve completed since then, I have never been successful at Dragonscale.  I used some very good online tutorials and could never get it right.  I have to credit two sentences in the tutorial I purchased from Blue Buddha Boutique for my sucessful completion of a dragonscale bracelet.  I’m now working on a mini dragonscale bracelet.  Isn’t it beautiful?

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Making Chainmaille Jewelry

(originally posted 1o/26/2008)

I like to make things myself.  There’s nothing quite so satisfying as sitting back and seeing what I’ve created.

So, I like to cook things from scratch – no one can match my french onion soup or my coconut chicken.  I make a pretty mean Spanish rice.  And my polenta always gets the older folks going.  I made polenta for my mother-in-law’s birthday party once, and a year later, my husband’s aunt was still talking about how good it was every time she saw me! Nothing is as good as when I cook stuff with the vegetables out of my garden.  I wish I could say that I grow my own vegetables, but if I was in charge of growing, nothing would grow.  I managed to kill the cactus I bought for my office.  But I do help weed and plant.

I like to write.  I like to draw and paint.

One of my more recent activities is learning different types of jewelry manufacture.  I would like to become proficient in silversmithing.

But this past weekend, I took my first workshop in chainmaille style jewelry making.  I often make jewelry by myself, by looking at pieces and figuring out ways to achieve that look.  I don’t know the correct terms or the different types of tools that are available.

 

japanese flower pattern

 

Anyway, I learned a pattern of chainmaille jewelry and made a bracelet.  It took almost 4 hours and left me with massive hand cramps, but I’m so proud of it.  It’s certainly not perfect but I’m much better at using flat nosed pliers.  I can’t wait to learn the next pattern, it’s my favorite chainmaille pattern, byzantine.

Here’s what I made!

There are some good sources of chainmaille supplies and instruction online.  I’ve found that chainmaille is probably the cheapest hobby in regards to tools.  All you need are two pairs of chain nose pliers.  However, the cost of consumables, assuming you are going to use sterling silver, is pretty steep.

The kit for this bracelet was $55.  Each of the 6 flowers in this bracelet used 24-3mm 19 gauge sterling silver jumprings and 14-5mm 19 gauge sterling silver jumprings.  It takes 4-5mm rings to attach each flower to the next ring.  And an additional ~ 7 jumprings to attach the toggle clasp.  I’m sure it would have been cheaper if I would have purchased the rings on my own.  Be careful when buying jumprings for chainmaille, some places categorize rings using inner diameter and some by outer diameter.  It seems, from what I have seen so far, that places that use the inner diameter measurement are more geared toward people  making chainmaille or jumpring jewelry.  Companies that use the outer diameter measurement seemed to be geared toward other types of jewelry-making and are selling the jumprings as a finding rather than as the focal point of the jewelry.

Once I have some more money to burn, I definitely want to order some of the kits from Urban Maille.  The jewelry on that site is beautiful.  The lady who teaches the chainmaille classes at the studio I go to, buys the patterns and the kits from Sue Ripsch.

The hardest parts of making chainmaille jewelry are:

  1. Knowing how to properly open and close a jumpring
  2. Knowing how to properly hold the pliers – I’m not joking, it took me forever to make this bracelet because I wasn’t holding onto the pliers properly so I kept dropping them.  Sounds stupid, I know but one has to start somewhere.