How-To: Learn Japanese 12-in-2 Chain-Maille Weave in 6 Steps

Sara Richardson is a
contributing editor for
Jewelry Making Daily.
Photos by Michael Richardson.

Have you been staying true to your New Year's resolutions? I have actually kept at least one of them! I vowed to myself to learn new chain-maille (chain-mail) weaves to expand my jewelry-making repertoire. It's not a hard resolution for me to keep . . . especially since my husband bought me Step by Step Wire Jewelry Contributing Editor Rebeca Mojica's new book Chained for Christmas.

I'm so excited to explore these new designs and to really push myself to expand my current chain-maille skills. I know six chain-maille weaves by heart now: Byzantine, Helm (Parallel), Foxtail (Persian), Beez to Butterflies, Box, and perhaps my favorite, Japanese 12-in-2.

Quick Japanese 12-in-2 Chain Maille Tutorial
I've made several pieces with the Japanese 12-in-2 weave. I love to make pendants, watches, and bracelets using it. It's pretty simple once you know the basic steps. I used fourteen 18-gauge 3/16" (4.8mm) ID bright aluminum rings and twenty-four 20-gauge 1/8" (3.2mm) ID purple anodized aluminum rings for this quick tutorial. (These jump rings are from Blue Buddha Boutique.)


1. Open a large jump ring. Thread 8 closed smaller rings onto the open large ring. Close the large ring. Thread another open large jump ring through the same path. Close the second large ring.

2. Add 4 small open jump rings to the larger rings from Step 1. Close the smaller rings. You should now have a total of 12 smaller rings on the two larger rings.

3. Thread a new large jump ring through two of the small rings from Steps 1 and 2. Before closing, add 4 closed small jump rings. Weave on another open large jump ring, making sure it goes through all 6 small rings in this step. Close the second large jump ring.

4. With another open large jump ring, weave through 2 small rings from the middle (Steps 1 and 2). Also weave through 2 of the small jump rings added in the previous step. Then add 2 more closed small jump rings before closing the large ring. Weave a second large ring through the same path and close.

5. Repeat Step 4 three times. As you go along, you'll see a flower pattern begin to emerge.

6. Weave an open large jump ring through the 6 remaining small rings left hanging: 2 from the middle (Steps 1-2) , 2 from Step 3, and 2 from repeating Step 4 the third time. Close the ring. Weave another open large jump ring through the same path, and close that ring.

That's it, you're done!


Learn More Chain-Maille Weaves With Step by Step Wire Jewelry
I first acquired my love of chain maille when I was an editor for Step by Step Wire Jewelry. And, super news! All five issues from 2008 are being collected on one handy Step by Step Wire Jewelry 2008 CD! The cover project for the Spring 2008 issue, Colorful Foxtail Necklace by Donna Ryan-Kocun, is the first project where I really understood how to weave properly. I had tried other chain-maille weaves before, but never really "got" it. This project illuminated the light bulb above my head.

But there were many other great chain-maille projects in 2008, like Vintage Lace in Rings by Sue Ripsch (Summer Preview 2008), Pararose Chain by Katie Gerner (Summer 2008), and the Cosmic Chain Maille Bracelet by Cheryl Beckage (Fall 2008). Of course, there are many other fantastic, timeless wire jewelry projects in the entire collection. Pre-order yours now!

Wish me luck on learning the new chain-maille weaves! Maybe I'll have some new chain-maille tips to share in the near future on Jewelry Making Daily. Feel free to share your tips in our forums and the comments below.

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