I love chain maille designs, but personally, I haven't got the
stamina and patience to count and connect all those jump rings
into intricate patterns and styles! So ... a while ago, I designed
quite a few pieces using my 'cheat' method - if you've seen my
first project book: CREATING WIRE and BEADED JEWELRY
you'll find my Egyptian Classic Set on Page 102!
Well, that was 10 years ago and since then I've created lots of pieces
using a similar technique and every time they are showcased, they
always get a little admiration ... so with Christmas looming over
us and festive crafts in the making, I have created a festive tutorial
that will hopefully inspire you with lots more wirey inspiration!
So ... "are you sitting comfortably? Then, I will begin ..."
1. Working directly from a spool of 0.8mm or 1mm wire
(20-gauge or 18-gauge), use your round nosed pliers to create
a circular loop at the very end.
2. Place your round nosed pliers (same place as before) on the
wire, next to the first loop and wrap the wire around to create
a complete second loop.
3. Repeat again, forming a further loop, keeping them all
running straight in a row.
4. Now that you've got the hang of it, create 2 more loops to
complete the first unit and cut off from the spool.
5. Next, create a row of 4 loops, 2 of 3 and 2 of
2, as shown above. *Optional: you can choose to
gently hammer the links to flatten and work harden
(avoiding the cross-over wires).
6. Now it's time to make some jump rings. If you have
bail making pliers, a Coiling Gizmo or a mandrel to wrap
the wire ... get coiling and snipping!
7. Next, it's time to begin connecting the rows of looped units
to each other with jump rings.
8. Use jump rings to connect all the end links along the
sides - as shown above.
9. Turn the unit over and attach some jump rings at
the top. (Can you see the festive shape we're making now?)
10. Continue adding jump rings within the
looped units to fill the gaps and if desired, you
can suspend the base row with beaded spiral dangles
or any charms, beads or decorations of your choice.
11. If you wish and have the time (and inclination) keep adding
more jump rings - I added some silver to the gold.
12. You can make a little star, or add a bead at the top
and create a loop of chain or ribbon to be able to suspend it
from the Xmas tree ... OR ..., why not create it as a handbag or
key ring charm? It would be a perfect special gift! (For yourself
or someone who you know who would treasure and appreciate
all the effort you put into it!).
AND ... if you wish to decorate your tree (to add a little colour and bling),
well, some small crystals will add a touch of festive
This technique is so versatile, and gives the impression of
chain maille without all the bother. Just design your own
grid system to make earrings, pendants and bracelets!
Here's my Gallery showing some of the pieces that I have created
in the past ...
|Watch-strap in silver (with a few black wire jump rings!)|
|Sterling silver and hematite beads.|
|Different ideas for bracelet styles ...|
|Earrings with blue drops.|
|Gold Earrings with 'dancing' pearls|
|My 'Jubilee' Key Ring|
|A 'Flower' bracelet|
|Simple 'chain-pillar' earrings|
|Bracelet with focal lampwork bead|
|Grey Pearl Necklace|
|'Viking Queen' Necklace|
|Gold 'Sungod' Necklace|
I hear you yawning! That's enough inspiration for one day!
Happy 'Cheat' Chainmailling!