Combine Foxtail Chain Maille with Handmade Ceramic Beads in a Free Chain Maille Project!

Learning how to create new chain maille weaves is something that I've really enjoyed doing since I first started learning how to make chain maille jewelry a few years ago! My latest project is this wonderful foxtail chain necklace by Sara (Graham) Richardson that uses handmade ceramic beads. I decided to use some of the rough-cut chunky gemstone nuggets that I've had in my collection of gemstone beads, and it was so much fun, I'm going to make the next one with some druzy agates that need a little love! Check out this free chain maille project and learn how to make a foxtail chain this week!


Lately, I have had a lot of fun with lightweight anodized aluminum jump rings in my chain maille designs. I also had some Happy Beads tucked away in a container. I found jump rings that matched the beads, made foxtail chains, linked all the beads together with simple loops, and combined them. Make the chains match your beads, or play around with different color combinations.

Materials

  • 20-gauge silver craft wire, 1"
  • 18-gauge 8mm OD anodized aluminum jump rings in one or more colors, approximately 437
  • Ceramic 20mm Happy Beads, 6
  • Hook or toggle clasp of your choice

Tools

  • Round nose pliers
  • Flush cutters
  • 16-gauge mandrel or thin knitting needle
  • Small paperclip or scrap wire (optional, but useful)
Step 1. Cut a 2" length of wire. Slip it through a bead, and make simple loops on each side. Repeat for the other beads. Link by opening one loop on the right side of the bead, and threading on the loop of the next bead. Close the loops.
Step 2. Take six silver rings, and open four of them. Link them together in a two-by-two-by-two pattern. Twist a scrap piece of wire or put a small paperclip on the end to keep your place.
Step 3. Pick up all the rings and flop the top rings down to each side. Thread the thin mandrel through the middle rings now at the top. Slide the mandrel to the left and thread it through one of the jump rings you flopped to the side. Slide the mandrel to the right to catch the other flopped side ring. You should have what looks like a clover.
Step 4. Thread a silver jump ring through the four rings on the mandrel, and close. Thread another jump ring through the same path. Close. Take the chain off the mandrel, and add two more rings to the top of the chain, and close both.
Step 5. Repeat steps 3-4 several more times to form the chain.
Step 6. At any point, switch to the colored rings and back to the silver rings. Repeat steps 3-4 until you make a chain about 5 1/2" long. Repeat steps 2-6 to make an identical chain for the other side of the necklace.
Step 7. On one end of a chain, thread on a single jump ring through two end rings, and attach it to the first loop of the beaded section. Close the ring. Repeat on the other chain.
Step 8. Link two jump rings on the other end of the chain. With the second jump ring, attach one half of the clasp. Close the rings. Repeat on the end of the other chain.

You can learn everything you need to know about getting started with chain maille jewelry, and make some pretty spectacular chain maille projects at the same time, when you work your way through Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop. This fabulous book has comprehensive information about making, opening, closing, and troubleshooting your jump rings; what kinds of tools and other materials you should have for successful chain maille jewelry projects; and best of all, chain maille projects for all skill levels, from beginners on up through more experienced "maillers".

For a limited time during the Back to School Sale, you can save 50% on this essential chain maille resource! (That saves you a lot of money for more jump rings, right?)  Get your copy of Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop and start weaving your way to great chain maille jewelry projects!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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