Chain Maille Tips and a Free Bracelet Project (or Two!)

27 Apr 2011

 
Jean Campbell also designed this two-tone chain-maille bracelet project and shares the how-to!

Patience is a virtue I do not have. I have a healthy appreciation for good things that take time--things that are hand- and homemade from scratch instead of instant gratification and all that--but when it comes to jewelry-making techniques, there are some I know I will never do because I'm just too dang impatient . . . like chain maille.

I admire those of you who do have the patience for chain maille, so I'm happy to share Jean Campbell's great chain maille tips blog from our sister site, Beading Daily.

While you're there, you'll also want to take a look at another great chain maille blog that features a free Dear to My Heart chain maille bracelet project by Jean Yates. But it's not just any chain-maille bracelet; this chain-maille bracelet design allows you to personalize it for yourself or a loved one and includes great tips to help you do just that--just in time for Mother's Day!

 
So enjoy a visit to Beading Daily and good luck with your chain maille projects! If you're looking for a great resource for more chain-maille jewelry-making projects, subscribe to Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry for more great tips and project ideas in chain maille and other popular wirework techniques.

Do you make chain maille jewelry? Should I give it another try?


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Comments

Carol@497 wrote
on 30 Apr 2011 7:15 AM

Please be advised that the link for Free Project:Dear to My Heart by Jean Yates no longer works.

mojobling wrote
on 30 Apr 2011 11:28 AM

I make chain maille jewelry.  I use it as "brain therapy", I enjoy the challenge of taking a roll of wire and working magic with it.  I had a booth at last year's local renaissance faire and was well received. You should give it another try.   Start with simple weaves like 2+2  or japanese 12 in 2, and work in small projects. Patience CAN be learned, if at first you don't succeed, take a break and try again later.

TammyJones wrote
on 2 May 2011 10:24 AM

Hi Carol, I'm sorry the link wasn't working when you tried. Here's a new link. Thanks for reading JMD!

www.beadingdaily.com/.../3680.aspx

mojobling, I recently found an earring project that I really like, so it might be my foray into chain maille :o)

lbpleitner wrote
on 17 Sep 2011 12:44 PM

where can i get jump rings for chain maille that do not turn in color. after spending hours making something is heart breaking when you wear it a couple of times and see that it is turning. can someone help?

Silverlox wrote
on 1 Oct 2011 12:40 PM

Hi bpleitner,

The reply to your question is to choose metals that either do not turn, or that are easily polished back to the glowing shine you want.

This means to steer clear of anything plated, as all platings wear off sooner or later and plated metals are hard to polish without wearing off the remaining plating.

However, everything comes at a price, meaning there is a trade-off in both dollar cost and general pros and cons. Which metal you decide to use can depend on a lot of factors, not least the cost.

Easily polished metals are of course silver and copper. Both are easy to work with, but silver is expensive and copper need to be polished VERY frequently in order to remain shiny.

When it comes to metals that do not turn dark, or at least not very quickly, these are some alternatives:

1. Argentium silver. Beautiful, like all sterlings, but it comes with a price tag that's even higher than "regular" sterling silver.

2. Stainless steel, preferably a high grade like the so-called "surgical steel". While it's a somewhat darker grey than silver, it's also a lot cheaper than silver, plus it never needs polishing. When it starts to look dull from wearing, simply scrub in with a brush and some washing-up liquid and it will be good as new.  

The downside is that stainless is a hard metal and it takes muscle to work with. It's also a heavy metal, meaning that the items made from it are quite weighty. This is both a pro and a con as "heft" is sometimes wanted, while other times it's just considered heavy.

3. Anodised aluminium is a lot softer than stainless steel. It's very low-cost and easy to work with. The reason I recommend anodised as opposed to "naked" aluminium is that the bare metal will make you black, which is why some refer to it as "dirty" aluminium. It isn't dirt, it's a kind of oxidation. When anodised you won't have this problem. You can either chose between an array of beautiful, brilliant colours or anodised in metal colours like silver, gold, gunmetal, etc. The only problem with aluminium is that it's soft and easily damaged with your pliers. You'd need to use a soft touch, plus it's an advantage to coat your pliers in order not to mar it.

As opposed to stainless, it's very light, which is also both a pro and a con as heft is sometimes wished for, while light can be great in other applications.

4. Nickel Silver, also called German Silver, Alpacca Silver and many other names, but with contains no silver at all. It's only a tiny bit darker in colour than real silver and not quite as hard as stainless, but still hard enough to not easily be marred by pliers. Like stainless and aluminium, it's also very inexpensive. The disadvantage is that many people are allergic or sensitive to nickel and can't wear it. In order to sell it, you'd need to be sure to clearly mark it as containing nickel so allergic people, or someone shopping for them, can steer clear of those items.

Weight-wise it has a nice heft, not light like aluminium, but not quite as heavy as stainless, more like silver or copper.

The biggest disadvantage is the allergy factor.

Regarding shops, there are many online shops specialised in making rings for chainmaille and most of them have these alternatives. Some examples are The Ring Lord (www.theringlord.com)and Chainmaille Jumprings (www.chainmaillejumprings.com). A quick search on Etsy also provides a list of shops catering to anyone wanting rings for chainmaille, both standard and customised metals and sizes.

Hope this helps and that you'll find a metal that fits both your likings and your budget.

TammyJones wrote
on 4 Oct 2011 10:11 AM

Thanks for your question, lbpleitner, and thanks for a great response, Silverlox! I couldn't have said it better.