Chain Maille Jewelry Making: 5 Tips for Preserving Colored Rings, Fixing Floppy Weaves & More
Chain maille jewelry making fans, you’re in luck! We’ve have a special edition magazine just for you, Step-by-Step Chain Maille Jewelry. It’s packed full of all the things you love–including more than 20 chain maille jewelry projects and helpful tips along the way.
ABOVE: Lattice chain maille bracelet by Michelle Brennan
Let’s take a sneak peek at some of the chain maille jewelry making tips from the designers in Step-by-Step Chain Maille Jewelry.
Chain Maille Jewelry Making Tips
1. Is your chain maille weave floppy? Then your rings are too large, which can cause the pattern to get lost, according to chain maille jewelry maker Karen Hung. And if your weave is inflexible, your rings are too small.
2. Colored rings are a great way to coordinate your chain maille designs. Match the rings with any beads or fibers you might use in the same chain maille project. “Colored rings on the market include anodized aluminum, niobium, and titanium, as well as enameled copper and rubber,” says chain maille jewelry artist Sara Richardson.
Tips on Making Your Own Jump Rings
3. If you use wooden dowels as mandrels for making jump rings, each time you use them they compress and will get a bit smaller, which further complicates the task of determining the ring ID for the chain you’re trying to weave,” Karen says. “You can buy steel mandrels made specifically for making jump rings, or you can buy a set of transfer punches (available in both metric an imperial sizes), or use aluminum knitting needles to use as your mandrels.”
Tips on Using and Preserving Colored Jump Rings
4. When working with colored rings, you can coat them with a clear acrylic spray sealant to help preserve the color. But it’s tricky, chain maille expert Rebecca Mojica explains, with advice on how to do it. “Spray a very fine mist into the air, and shake the chain maille into the mist. Continue shaking to keep the rings moving.” This technique keeps the rings moving so you don’t “glue” them together with the acrylic spray. Rebecca recommends repeating the process three to 10 times.
5. Wondering if your colored rings are going to fade and lose their color? “It’s heavily dependent on the quality of the particular lot,” Rebecca advises. She suggests testing anodized aluminum rings for colorfastness by soaking them in water or running them through a tumbler for about 30 minutes. If they keep their color through the test, they’re likely safe to use in your chain maille jewelry making.
More Chain Maille Jewelry Making Help
In addition to more than 20 chain maille jewelry projects, Step-by-Step Chain Maille Jewelry also includes bonus information like the types of colored rings available and how to use them in your chain maille jewelry projects, a feature on understanding aspect ratio and the formulas you need to do so (which is essential to success in making chain maille jewelry), and wire basics in case you need a refresher or are brand-new to wire and chain maille jewelry making. Bonus: You’ll learn fold forming in a project that combines a chain maille bracelet with a fold-formed focal piece (above).
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Enjoy more chain-maille jewelry making with these kits, projects, and resources!