So, you have heard about this chain maille thing and you are keen to give it a go…..but where do you start…what do you need.
The quick easy answer is two pairs of smooth jawed pliers, some jump rings, a set of instructions and some patience!
Pliers are the main tools that are used with chain maille. Jewellery quality pliers, that is smooth jawed pliers, are best as they don’t leave marks or remove the colour from your jump rings. There are 3 main types of pliers: Chain Nosed, Bent Nosed and Flat Nosed.
My personal preference is to use a pair of bent nosed pliers in my non dominant hand with a chain nosed or flat nosed (depending on the weave and material used) in the other.
Pliers are a very personal choice..what works for one may not be perfect for another…you will eventually develop your own preferences but in Aussie Maille we have two different price points in pliers. There is our Beadsmith pliers that come in two sizes the shorter handled pliers and their longer handled wire worker pliers. Then we have our Wubbers range. They come in the Baby Range(shorter handles) and the Classic Range (longer handles). You can see our complete range of tools on our Website.
Chain maille is constructed by weaving small round (generally) metal rings called jump rings. These rings are made mostly from round wire in many metal types, but can be made from Square shaped and Half Round shaped wire.
Jump rings come in many sizes. There are two main measurements you need to take notice of…the gauge of the wire used to make the ring, and the inside diameter of the ring.
Each weave uses a certain combination of these two measurements, also called Aspect Ratio (AR). For a list of some of the ring sizes you need to successfully complete weaves we have a chart in the Librarysection of our website.
Aussie Maille stocks a large range of jump rings in various metals. A nice ring to start mailing with isCopper, it has a lovely feel to it, similar to sterling silver in how it works and the weight behind it. If though you want a more budget friendly ring you can’t go past our Bright Aluminium rings.
Patterns and Kits
Before even purchasing jump rings you need to get yourself a set of instructions for the weave of your choice. There are hundreds of weaves available, not all are suitable for jewellery, nor for beginners….but your choice is sizeable. There are a few weaves though that are considered beginner weaves. I like Double Spiral as a good starting point. The two standard weaves that are considered beginning is Byzantine and European 4in1.
Aussie Maille stocks many instructions in various formats. We have the Spiderchain DVDs…an amazing resource for maillers. If you like your tutorials in booklet format we have two booklets that would be perfect for you. And last but not least there are 50+ PDF Tutorials to be downloaded. So many to choose from.
Next thing to turn your mind to is the rings. You can buy the rings you need based on the pattern you have decided to work with, or you can take an easier path and and invest in a kit. All Aussie Maille kits come with the instructions and the quantity of rings you need to complete a piece along with the findings….all in one easy package. We have many kits and colour options that go hand in hand with our tutorials. To match tutorials I suggested you can find the Double Spiral, Byzantine and European 4in1 kits.
Another thing I would recommend is finding a vibrant sharing community to help you with your journey. There are many out there….I have listed some of my favourite ones here for you.
- Aussie Maille on Facebook
- Chain Maille Group on Facebook
- M.A.I.L (Maille Artisans International League)
- Maillers Worldwide