Step 1: Materials
24,000 (give or take 2,000) 1/4 inch, 16 gauge galvanized/ungalvanized rings (you can use other sizes/gauges but the number of rings will vary)
2 pliers (one for each hand)
PATIENCE! - putting 24,000 rings together is no small thing...it can take months, even years depending on your speed
Knowledge of how to make 4-1 European chainmail
This instructable teaches the basic principles of how to make chain mail rings and how to connect them using European 4-1:
Step 2: Starting the Front Half
Pic 2: Find the middle ring of the top row of your chain and mark it by attaching a ring to it.. Now, count 11 rings to the left and add a ring. go back to the middle ring and count 11 rings to the right, then add a ring.
Pic 3: Remove the ring that you used to mark the middle.
Pic 4: Now finish off the top row by adding rings to the left and the right of the rings already placed on the strip.
Pic 5: Continue until you have about 20 rows up on both sides. This will create the neck-hole of the shirt. If you don't have enough rows, your head will not be able to fit. Keep in mind that chain mail does not stretch like a cotton t-shirt. You might have to make your neck hole a couple inches bigger than your neck .
( if the instructions are confusing look at the pictures they make more sense)
Step 3: Finishing the Front Half (Part 1)
Step 4: Finishing the Front Half (Part 2)
Step 5: The Back of the Shirt
As for the rest of the back half, complete it exactly the same way you completed the front.
Step 6: Finishing the Shirt! (Part 1)
Part A: Make two pieces of maille that are 3-4 inches wide. They should be as long as the distance from the bottom of the sleeve to the bottom of the shirt. Use these two pieces to connect the front and back halves of the shirt. These pieces should NOT be at all connected to the actual sleeve. Check picture number one for clarity in this step.
Part B: Make 2 different pieces of maille that are as wide as your sleeves are long. These pieces should only be 3-4 inches tall. They should look something like this:
The left to right length is governed by how long you made your sleeves. The up and down length should be the same as the left to right length of the pieces made in part A.
Now connect this piece to the two sides of the bottom of your sleeves. Do not connect this piece to the piece from part A that is already attached to the shirt. The drawing makes a lot more sense so if you are confused look at the picture for part B.
Step 7: Finishing the Shirt! (Part 2)
For clarity, look at Picture A.
Know comes the hardest part. We are going to fill in the line of mail right in the armpit. This sounds like it should be simple but if you think about it, the rings from the piece under the arm are going the opposite direction of the rings that are running down the sleeve. While the drawing will make a lot more sense, I will try to describe how to execute this next step. Take a chain mail ring and connect it to on of the rings on the side of the sleeve. Follow through with the ring and connect it to two of the rings on the other side. Continue this down the line until the armpit is filled in.
Step 8: Now That You're Done...
Dags- In order to make dags, start another row wherever you want to add one. Instead of finishing an entire row, connect 10+ rings and then stop. Instead of continuing the row, and a row under the one you just made, except make it with one less ring. If you started at 10 the second row will have 9 rings, the third will have 8, and so on so forth. A finished dag will look like this:
Inlays: By using other materials such as copper or bronze, you can make shapes on your chain mail shirt. As shown in earlier pictures, my shirt has a cross made out o 14 gauge copper 1/4 rings. You can make whatever symbols/shapes you want but more than likely you will have to make up the designs on your own.
Making a chain mail shirt is quite an amazing feat and I commend everyone that is able to finish one. Thank you for reading my instructable.
Here is a picture of an inlay used on a chain mail shirt.