Introduction: EUROPEAN 6-IN-1 CHAIN MAIL BEGINNER'S GUIDE
A Short About Me:
I went to my first Renaissance Festival in Georgia, USA, last year and fell in love with them. From then on, I have been trying to improve my costumes and create something extraordinary! This was the first thing I found, and decided that I wanted to make a chain mail shirt. They say not to make a shirt as a first chain mailing project, but I did. I went all-out and even made my own jump rings. I didn't make the shirt for nothing, and I wore it to the next Renaissance Festival.
My only regrets is the tool I used to cut the rings. If you want to make your rings and good quality chain mail try to find something that will cut the rings as flush as possible, e.g. jewelry saw.
Step 1: WHY 6-IN-1?
First, I want to make a comparison.
6-in-1 versus 4-in-1 made with the same ring size.
Notice the density difference between the two? For some wire gauges and ring diameters the 4-in-1 just doesn’t give your chain mail project the authenticity and functionality it needs. Would you be impressed with a hauberk that looked like you could almost poke your finger through it? No, not really. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with 4-in-1 and in some projects it looks amazing and it is much easier to make. But if you wanted your chain mail to look much more defensive and resilient, larger rings and a denser weave would be what you are looking for.
Is European 4-in-1 all you know how to make? Then this Instructable is meant for you! It is time for you to progress to the next level.
Step 2: NEEDED FOR THIS INSTRUCTABLE
Ample working space, whether it be the tabletop or the floor, as long as there is enough room to shuffle things around.
- 2 Pairs of Pliers (make sure your pliers have good grip on jump rings and that they are comfortable to use, keeping in mind how many thousands of times you are going to use them)
- Jump Ring Opener/Closer Tool (optional)
- 3 Pans to Separate Jump Rings
- Rings for Your Project (the rings featured in this Instructable are right-handed, mild steel, 12 gauge with a loose inner diameter of 3/8”)
In This Instructable: Term Glossary (only, it’s not in alphabetical order)
Row: The literal row of chain mail links in a straight line
Chain: This term is my reference to a three rowed piece of chain mail
Base Chain: The piece of chain mail you build on for the main portion of your chain mail project
Weave: Why we chain mailers call it “weave” I really don’t know but that is the term for making chain mail
NOTE: I am right-handed so for all the left-handers out there do what is comfortable and actually that goes for everyone. There is no right or wrong way as long as the weaving process is done correctly. Other than that, make it however works for you.
Step 3: STARTING THE "WEAVE"
- Start with 1 open ring and 6 closed rings.
- Put all of the closed rings in the open ring and close the open ring.
- Slide another open ring through the last four rings, add two closed rings and close the open ring. Continue this until you have a base chain long enough for your project.
Step 4: ADDING TO THE BASE CHAIN (METHOD 1)
This is my personal preference when adding to the base chain because it adds 4 rows to your project at once. However, there are other ways to add to your base chain (instructions in later steps). This one requires you to make another chain exactly like your original base chain. Lay them out on a table where the rings on the edges lay in the same direction.
Take an open ring (obviously) and insert it into three rings on each piece and close it using your pliers. Keep going until they're joined.
It is prudent to check your work periodically to make sure everything is as it should be and catch mistakes early.
Step 5: ADDING TO THE BASE CHAIN (METHOD 2)
- Start by placing an open ring thorough the first three rings on the top of your base chain and add three closed rings to it and close.
- Next, insert one open ring through the next three rings on the base chain and through the last two you had just added.
- Add one closed ring to open ring and close. Continue this until you reach the end of your base chain.
Step 6: ADDING TO THE BASE CHIAN (METHOD 3)
If only one row is needed to be added this method is what you’re looking for. It’s as simple as inserting one open ring through three rings and closing the ring. Just make sure you make the row you’re adding look exactly like the middle row of your base chain. However, be prepared to spend a lot of time opening and closing rings as every single one has to be!
What about adding a piece onto the end of your chain mail? I did call this a beginner’s guide so here’s how in the next step!
Step 7: CONNECTING THE ENDS TOGETHER
Match up the ends of the chain mail where it looks like a continuous chain. Using the rings already at the ends of the chain mail join the two pieces together by identifying the center row of the chains and opening the first ring and passing it through the four on the opposite piece. Next, take the second ring in the row and open it, passing it through the two opposite. Pretty simple, huh?
Step 8: HELPFUL TIPS
HEAVY CHAIN MAIL SHIRTS
If you plan to make a sleeveless chain mail shirt consider making the shoulders wide, to give it more surface area to spread and even out the weight.
Also, if you’re really wimpy, shoulder padding might help.
FOR THE GIRLS — CHAIN MAIL SHIRT DRAWSTRING
To evade embarrassing myself, I will simply leave it to your imaginations how wearing something heavy would work out. So, to solve the problem, and to make it more feminine and form-fitting, add a black string into the chain mail under the bust to create a drawstring.
Make sure the string you use is durable (or it will break under tension, like you inhaling) but small enough to not be seen in the chain mail. Find or make a needle (paper clips or chain mailing wire work well) that has an eye the right size for the string you choose and that can be fed easily into the chain mail links. Put on your chain mail shirt and find where the drawstring should be inserted. Keep note of how many rows from the neckline or arm it is and remove your chain mail shirt. Feed the needle into the row of rings, passing through the middle. The place you start is also where you finish so that is where the drawstring ends will be. Tie something bigger than chain mail to the ends of the string so it will not get pulled back through (like those annoying pajama pants that do that when you wash them).
Put it back on and synch it up to a comfortable tightness and tie it off. Goodbye boyish blob, hello girly curves!