Thursday 17 September 2009

Easy Chain Maille Necklace Tutorial

You'll remember that I recently discovered the Exchange Program over at Totally Tutorials. Dotty, who is the brainchild of the Exchange Program, puts suppliers of crafting materials in touch with crafters (like you and me) who receive free supplies in return for sharing their skills and creating tutorials. There are some wonderful suppliers taking part, so do go and have a look - you might get yourself some goodies to play with.

I've been lucky enough to be asked to complete another tutorial by Jen at WeekendJewelry1 and - lucky me - Jen let me choose my own supplies.

I've been dying to have a go at some chain maille for a while now, but couldn't seem to find any suitable jump rings. I wanted something just a little bit out of the ordinary and, when I saw these beautiful 8mm Twisted Wire Silver Jump Rings, I knew that I'd found the perfect supplies for the project I had in mind.

Jen also has some chunkier 12mm Stainless Steel Flattened Rings which would make a nice Steampunk/Industrial piece and some super cute Pink Anodized Aluminium Jump Rings perfect for a kitsch look.

To make your own necklace, you'll need:

8mm Twisted Wire Silver Jump Rings from WeekendJewelry1
Silver Plated Brass Cable Chain from WeekendJewelry1
100 5mm Silver Plated Plain Jump Rings. You will need exactly 100, so if you're unsure, I would advise you to order more just in case you fudge a few. They also have a tendency to want to fly around the room!!!
Necklace Clasp
- I used a toggle clasp as I find these easiest to fasten.
Jewellery Pliers

If you aren't familiar with using jump rings, please have a look at this Wiki Tutorial on How To Open A Jump Ring before you begin. It's worth it! Now, do yourself a favour and do the tedious bit first - open all of the 5mm Jump Rings. (The Twisted Wire Jump rings don't need to be opened at all.)

Then, line up the 8mm Twisted Wire Jump Rings into a basic design, as in the pictures below.
Image 1
Join the rows of 8mm Twisted Wire Jump Rings, using two 5mm Jump Rings for each join.
Image 2
When each of the rows is complete, begin to join the rows together, following the diagram below. (In the diagram, the silver circles represent the Twisted Wire Jump Rings and the gold lines represent the 5mm Jump Rings.)
Image 3
Image 4

Image 5
As you lift the piece to join the rings together, it's quite easy to become confused about which rings you should be linking - especially if you're a beginner. Use a piece of wire, drinking straw or something similar, and push it through the Twisted Wire Jump Rings that you want to link together. Then lift the wire and add the 5mm Jump Rings. It makes it a lot easier (and I wish I'd thought of this when I started the project!)
Image 6
I chose to use six rows for this project - giving me a triangle of chain maille with six Twisted Wire Jump Rings on each edge, but you can add more rows if you like -just be sure you have enough of both types of jump rings.
Image 7
Next, take your length of Cable Chain and, using your pliers, split the chain to give you two 8" lengths. When combined with the clasps and the chain maille triangle, this will you give a necklace of roughly 18". (If you'd prefer a choker style necklace, reduced the Cable Chain lengths to 7".)

Take one length of the Cable Chain and, using a 5mm Jump Ring attach it to one part of the toggle clasp. Again, using a 5mm Jump Ring, attach the other end of the chain to a corner of the chain maille triangle.
Image 8
Using another 5mm Jump Ring attach the remaining length of Cable Chain to the other part of the toggle clasp. Then attach the other end of the chain to another corner of the chain maille triangle.

Et voila!

I think the design is quite elegant and has the potential to be worn with practically anything, but it could be customised by substituting the style of the jump rings; the size of the chain maille triangle; and the addition of extra components. In fact, Jen sent me some beautiful leaf charms as well and they'll be coming up in a simpler tutorial over the weekend.
Thanks again to Jen at WeekendJewelry1 and Dotty from Totally Tutorials for giving me the chance to have a play around with these lovely supplies. If you have a go, please leave me a link in the comments section below so that I can come and have a peek.


  1. Oooh Clair, that is gorgeous! May just have to dig out my old jewellry making supplies and give that one a go! ;)

  2. really beautiful, and clever too! Love the drawing of the design as well.

  3. What a great tutorial - I'm addicted to the Exchange Program!!!

  4. Thank you for all of the kind comments ladies - they're always appreciated!

  5. An amazingly well-organized and easy-to-follow tute-and the helpful hint re the straw is priceless! I have always wanted to dip into chainmaille and you have given me the impetus to check it out-thanks!

  6. That is a very beautiful necklace, i love it!

  7. That is gorgeous Clair and so much better in real life so to speak x

  8. That is so cool! Beautiful! TFS

  9. could make a cool bikini out of those triangles
    or a thong

  10. Thanks for this! :) Always good to have new options in making jewellery :)

  11. Nicely done! Okay to feature and link to this tutorial in a future post so others can come visit? Thanks!


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