New Adventures in Chain Maille: Make Sara's Simple Summer Scale Maille Earrings

By Sara Richardson


As a chain maille jewelry artist, I am constantly looking for new and different techniques to incorporate into my work. I wouldn't consider myself an "expert" yet, as I am still learning more difficult, complex weaves. And, being a daughter of two retired teachers (and an extended family of even more teachers), I believe that it's important for me to constantly learn different things. (Dragonscale is on my to-do list, for example).

Lately, a hot trend among maillers is using aluminum scales in their chain maille jewelry. The scales look just like fish scales, curved on the bottom with a large hole on top and a bend in the middle that makes it curve inward like a leaf. One of my maille friends, Amanda Shero Granström from Crafty Cat Jump Rings, recently sent me a kit of her Peacock Feather Scale Earrings. I love how they turned out, and even though they look hefty, they are super lightweight because of the aluminum.

Rebeca Mojica of Blue Buddha Boutique (whom I consider to be my chain maille mentor because I have learned so much of what I know through her projects) has also embraced the scale trend with her Shaggy Scales and Elemental Leaves chain maille projects, which look so fantastic.

So, I decided to buy a pack of scales in attempt create something of my own. I'll confess, it was a little difficult to make something just right, but I do like the way this project turned out. I used rose peach round Swarovski crystals to add a touch of summer.

Simple Summer Scale Maille Earrings


6 large 18g 7/32" (5.6mm) ID bright aluminum jump rings (J18)*
4 medium 18g 5/32" (4.0mm) ID bright aluminum jump rings (F18)*
6 small 18g 1/8" (3.2mm) ID bright aluminum jump rings (D18)*
2  6mm round Crystallized Swarovski Elements crystals
2  7/8 x 9/16 x 0.025" (22.2 x 14.3 x 0.6mm) aluminum scales
2  21g sterling head pins
2 stainless steel ear wires
2 pairs flat-nose pliers
round-nose pliers
flush cutters
Tool Magic coating for pliers (optional)

* The numbers with these materials are Blue Buddha Boutique product numbers.



1.       Wrap the 6mm crystals on the head pins. Trim the excess wire with the cutters.

2.       On a small open jump ring, thread on a scale, and on the front of the scale (the part that bends in the middle), thread on one of the wrapped crystals. Do not close the jump ring yet, and set this aside. Repeat for the other earring.

3.       Close one large jump ring. Close another large jump ring onto the first.

4.       With your fingers, bunch the two rings together. Connect a third jump ring by going through both of the bunched up rings. Close the ring.

5.       On your work surface, orient the rings as shown. This is known as a möbius.

6.       Close two medium rings onto the möbius. Orient the rings as shown; one on top, one on the bottom of the unit.

7.       Connect a small ring to the bottom medium ring. Close the ring.

8.       Taking a scale unit made in Step 2, close the small jump ring on top onto the small ring added in Step 7. Make sure the scale and the crystal lie on top.

9.       Connect a small jump ring to the top medium ring. Before closing, thread on the ear wire, making sure it's facing correctly. Close the jump ring. Repeat Steps 3-9 for the other earring.

This was my first successful foray designing something on my own with scales. Since these turned out so well (after several attempts using different weaves and different sized jump rings), I just may try to do something more complex using scales. After all, I'm still learning!

Happy Summer! —Sara

For more great chain maille jewelry-making projects as well as all kinds of projects using wire, subscribe to Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry magazine.

About the author:
Sara Richardson is a guest blogger for Jewelry Making Daily. Learn more about her on our Authors page and connect with her online via her blog, her Etsy shop, website, or on Facebook and Twitter.

jump rings, scales and ear wires:
Swarovski crystals:
Fire Mountain Gems & Beads 

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