How-To: Learn Japanese 12-in-2 Chain-Maille Weave in 6 Steps

Sara Richardson is a
contributing editor for
Jewelry Making Daily.

Photos by Michael Richardson.

Have you been staying true to your New Year's resolutions? I have actually kept at least one of them! I vowed to myself to learn new chain-maille (chain-mail) weaves to expand my jewelry-making repertoire. It's not a hard resolution for me to keep . . . especially since my husband bought me Step by Step Wire Jewelry Contributing Editor Rebeca Mojica's new book Chained for Christmas.

I'm so excited to explore these new designs and to really push myself to expand my current chain-maille skills. I know six chain-maille weaves by heart now: Byzantine, Helm (Parallel), Foxtail (Persian), Beez to Butterflies, Box, and perhaps my favorite, Japanese 12-in-2.

Quick Japanese 12-in-2 Chain Maille Tutorial
I've made several pieces with the Japanese 12-in-2 weave. I love to make pendants, watches, and bracelets using it. It's pretty simple once you know the basic steps. I used fourteen 18-gauge 3/16" (4.8mm) ID bright aluminum rings and twenty-four 20-gauge 1/8" (3.2mm) ID purple anodized aluminum rings for this quick tutorial. (These jump rings are from Blue Buddha Boutique.)


1. Open a large jump ring. Thread 8 closed smaller rings onto the open large ring. Close the large ring. Thread another open large jump ring through the same path. Close the second large ring.

2. Add 4 small open jump rings to the larger rings from Step 1. Close the smaller rings. You should now have a total of 12 smaller rings on the two larger rings.

3. Thread a new large jump ring through two of the small rings from Steps 1 and 2. Before closing, add 4 closed small jump rings. Weave on another open large jump ring, making sure it goes through all 6 small rings in this step. Close the second large jump ring.

4. With another open large jump ring, weave through 2 small rings from the middle (Steps 1 and 2). Also weave through 2 of the small jump rings added in the previous step. Then add 2 more closed small jump rings before closing the large ring. Weave a second large ring through the same path and close.

5. Repeat Step 4 three times. As you go along, you'll see a flower pattern begin to emerge.

6. Weave an open large jump ring through the 6 remaining small rings left hanging: 2 from the middle (Steps 1-2) , 2 from Step 3, and 2 from repeating Step 4 the third time. Close the ring. Weave another open large jump ring through the same path, and close that ring.

That's it, you're done!


Learn More Chain-Maille Weaves With Step by Step Wire Jewelry
I first acquired my love of chain maille when I was an editor for Step by Step Wire Jewelry. And, super news! All five issues from 2008 are being collected on one handy Step by Step Wire Jewelry 2008 CD! The cover project for the Spring 2008 issue, Colorful Foxtail Necklace by Donna Ryan-Kocun, is the first project where I really understood how to weave properly. I had tried other chain-maille weaves before, but never really "got" it. This project illuminated the light bulb above my head.

But there were many other great chain-maille projects in 2008, like Vintage Lace in Rings by Sue Ripsch (Summer Preview 2008), Pararose Chain by Katie Gerner (Summer 2008), and the Cosmic Chain Maille Bracelet by Cheryl Beckage (Fall 2008). Of course, there are many other fantastic, timeless wire jewelry projects in the entire collection. Pre-order yours now!

Wish me luck on learning the new chain-maille weaves! Maybe I'll have some new chain-maille tips to share in the near future on Jewelry Making Daily. Feel free to share your tips in our forums and the comments below.

Other topics you may enjoy:


Blog, Chain Maille Jewelry

12 thoughts on “How-To: Learn Japanese 12-in-2 Chain-Maille Weave in 6 Steps

  1. Actually Sara, this was a little confusing to me. What is the significance of using the open smaller rings instead of just all closed ones? It doesn’t mention opening them anywhere so I was just wondering why. I have a bag of closed ones that I ordered by mistake and I have been wanting to use them for something. This should be a good way to get rid of them. :o)

  2. Hi grammajojo,

    Thanks for your questions. Hope this explanation will help:

    The reason I used closed purple (smaller) rings to begin, and for some of the other steps is just because it’s a shortcut to weave a bit faster. You can certainly open all the jump rings and add them onto the larger jump rings and close them one at a time if you prefer. Make sure you’re using jump rings that have a cut in them, not fully soldered rings.

    If you use the same size rings as I did, the reason I added eight closed purple rings in Step 1 and then added four open rings in Step 2, is because the 12 purple rings at once makes a tight fit, and you may have some trouble trying to close the larger jump rings around all 12 purple rings. By adding eight first and then four, you shouldn’t have a problem closing the larger rings and it’ll be a lot less clumsy!

    A good way to connect them together is to add two smaller (purple) rings onto one “petal” of the flower (the larger bright aluminum jump rings), to one “petal” of another flower. Close the smaller jump rings, and repeat to add more. You can attach one or two more jump rings onto each end on a “petal” and then add a clasp.

    Hope this helps!

    -Sara 🙂

  3. Sara, thanks so much for this great instruction!!!

    that’s one of my favorite techniques… I’ll do 3 to 5 flowers an put it together for a bracelet or earrings…

    Greetings from Germany


  4. I love this pattern and had fun putting it together using jump rings I already had on hand however, my snowflakes are floppy not stiff. I wasn’t able to get 4 big rings through the small rings. My 4mm were too small and the 5mm are too big. I even used different gauges and they are still floppy. Is there a secret I missed? 🙂 I have become a huge fan of chain maille since I bought the December/January issue of Step by Step Wire. I finished my first Dragonscale and it is absolutely amazing I love it. I want to love the Japanese 12-in-2 as much.

  5. Hi Autumn,

    You’re right. Depending on which rings you use, the petals may become a little bit floppy. If you use the sizes I used, you won’t get that as much. Also, if you have a ton of wiggle room, you may be able to mobius the outer petals for strength. The simple explanation for that is to weave the rings inside each other, rather than keeping the rings side by side (if you have the December/January issue, Rebeca Mojica teaches you how to do that for her snowflake pattern when you branch off from the initial 12-in-2 flower). But again, you’ll probably need a lot of wiggle room to pull off something like that.

    It also depends on what kind of metal jump rings you use. The sizes I used here in aluminum may not weave as tightly if you use sterling instead. Your jump ring supplier (places like Urban Maille, The Ring Lord, C&T Designs, those who specialize in making chain maille) may be able to help you find the perfect size for what you’re looking for. (I use Blue Buddha Boutique, and they’re very helpful and respond promptly to any questions you may have!)

    Hope this helps!
    -Sara 🙂

  6. Ok so they are going to be a little floppy and not rigid? I guess looking at the them on the cover of Step by Step Stringing I got the idea that they were really rigid. I am going to order some rings from Blue Buddha since I haven’t had much success with the ones that I have gotten locally. Thanks for your help and I try the mobius to see if that gives me the feel I want.

    Keep up the great work.

  7. Where can i get jump rings that do not turn in colorA? after spending hours making something and wearing it a few times only to see it start to turn is heartbreaking. can someone help?

  8. Seashell,

    As long as your rings are the same sizes, the weave should still work, even though the rings are thinner gauges. The weave may turn out to be a little floppier, though.

    If your rings are different sizes, you may have to figure out the Aspect Ratio in order to make them work. You can find an Aspect Ratio tutorial in the Jewelry Making Daily Chain Maille eBook.