How To Make Chain Maile Jewelry

April 5th, 2008

I received a few e-mails asking for a tutorial on chain maile jewelry, so I put one together. This tutorial will teach you to make this bracelet. You're entire supply list is here. Convenient, no? If you find using the 4mm and 6mm rings too tight and difficult to work with, go with 6mm and 8mm instead. I think that makes a chain better suited for a necklace than a bracelet (it's a bit wider and thicker) but it is easier to deal with. The first thing you need to know is how to open a jump ring. To open a jump ring, you don't want to pull it outwards. That will distort it. You want to hold it with a pair of round nose pliers on either side of the gap... And twist away from each other. Watch this video to get an idea how it works. [youtube 8qX21oQHe6g] If you have a hard time getting the ends to come together, simply push them together.  Sometimes there is a separation. There are many traditional patterns. This one is called helm maile. It's made by using larger and smaller rings in alternation. Close all of the small rings. This will probably result in needing to pick up at least 75% of them. The common advice is to open all the large rings at this stage. I find that a lot harder to deal with because they get tangled. Do whatever works for you. Open one large ring and thread four small rings onto it. Close the large ring. Open one small ring. Catch in two of the small rings from the prior step, and one end of the clasp and close the small rings. This joins the clasp to the piece on side. This is a diagram of how it should be put together. Open another large ring. Run it right next to the first large ring, going through the smaller rings in the exact same way. This is the setup. Now we get to the section that you're going to repeat over and over. Step 1: Open a large jump ring. Insert it between the two large rings, not hooked into either, and over the two small rings. It's just sitting straddled on the two small rings. Close the ring. This is the trickiest part both to understand and to execute. You can see how it works in the diagram below. The purple rings are the old large ones. The red ring is the new large one. You can tell by the way the lines overlap, what goes in front of what. Step 2: Open a large ring. Thread two small rings onto it. Run it along one side of the dangling large ring and thread it through the two small rings above. Close the ring. Step 3: Open a large ring. Thread it through the two small rings from step 2. Run it along the other side of the dangling large ring from step 1. Thread it through the two small rings above. Close the ring. The diagram below shows how this is constructed. Keep repeating this section until your bracelet is about 8 inches long, or whatever length you prefer. End on step 3. Open a small ring.  Thread it through the two small rings that are dangling down and the other end of the clasp.  Close the small ring. Wear and enjoy your bracelet.

Entry Filed under: Beading

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