Scale Mail Arm Bracer





Introduction: Scale Mail Arm Bracer

This project started when I was looking for a gift for a friend's birthday. I didn't have any idea what to offer when I discovered this scale mail full arm bracer.

I immediately though it was a perfect gift! She would love it, but I was not ready to pay 75$ for it. And loosing the enjoyment of making it by myself. Plus, receiving a gift is always more enjoyable when it's handmade no?

Anyways, you can discover more wonderful items made by the same maker on her Etsy shop worldinchainsmaille.

Step 1: Materials

The first step is to find the material needed, so basically scales and rings.

I only found one site where they sold items like I wanted but it was in Canada, so quite far from me (Belgium). Fortunately it was quite cheap and even with shipping rates, it didn't cost me too much.

TheRingLord - Scales

I calculated than I needed 2 bags of scales (~100 pieces/bag) and 1 bag of rings (~1000 rings/bag). You need 2 rings by scale but they are sold in bag so you don't have the choice.

Of course, as I'm quite absent-minded, I bought the wrong size of scales! So I decided to change the main idea and to go from the full-arm brace to a half-arm bracer. And at the same time, to add a fabric under the scales to be easier to attached it with laces once completed.

But I think the design is even better like this so I do not regret it.

Small scales (14mm x 22mm) : 3.90$ x 2
Rings : 4.10$
Tissue : an old jeans
Laces : from old shoes

Since then, I also discovered some other sites :
- (based in the Netherlands). Prices are a little higher but delivery is quicker when living in Europe. And less shipping fees.
- (based in Chicago). Prices are A LOT higher but they have also more different colors.

Step 2: Tools

To open and close the rings you'll need one plier in each hand.

The best are wide nose pliers or chain nose pliers for smaller rings. To avoid marking rings, it's better to use pliers without teeth.

But you can use what you want. As mine had teeth and I didn't want marking rings or scratching scales, I put layers of tape over them. It worked very well.

You will also need an eyelet clamp and some clamps to reinforce the holes for the laces (~10$ in a store).

Step 3: Prepare Your Scales

I found that it's easier to prepare your scales in advance and assemble them bit by bit in place of doing it one by one. So I started by preparing some group of 4 scales. Don't prepare all your scales, you'll need to keep some of them for the sides or to put between 2 groups if you don't have the exact good width.

You can see the template for these groups in the picture. If you prefer a video to learn how to start, this can be easily found on youtube.

Step 4: The Scale Mail

You will need to know the width that you wish. As I didn't have a lot of scales, I preferred not doing it too wide.
I put 8 scales on the width and went for as long as I still had scales.

At the end, I didn't put scales in the corners because they are hold by only one ring and so they are too loose.

Since then, I learned how to do some edging, reinforcing the edges with rings but that's another story.

Step 5: The Supporting Fabric

To do the supporting cloth I needed a fabric strong enough but pleasant to wear. And as I don't have a lot of fabric at home, I just took an old jeans.

I cut a piece in the leg the same length as the scales +2cm for the lining at the top and the bottom. For the width, I took 15cm (a girl's arm is usually between 15 and & 18 cm) +2cm on each side for the lining as well.

Next, I sewed the lining on every sides.
... ... ... Well, ok I asked to somebody to do it for me. I'm very bad with sewing and I don't have any sewing machine.

Following step was to fix the scales on the jeans. It can be done be by sewing the scales or the rings to the fabric. I choose to sew the scales. I was afraid to see the thread slip through the rings if there was a small gap in the closing.

It's better to sew the scales on every side, even the bottom. If you don't sew the bottom, the scales will take a weird shape when you'll hold your arm down.

Step 6: The Fastening System

Put the clamps on each side of the fabric in middle of the lining. I put 4 clamps on each side (3cm between each).

I found that the chain linked to the finger was quite helpful too. If you don't put it, you'll have a big gap when bending your wrist.

I didn't wanted to buy a small chain so I made one with the same rings as before. But the chain was too big so finally I used a small chain from an old necklace.

Step 7: Finished

She was very please with the gift and everybody liked it. It was a full success.

There is only one problem : she was so fond of it that she asked me to build the rest of the armor.
So be very carefull if you do it for some other people than you. Be ready to be stuck with scale mail building for a long time!



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I love it so much

I'm having trouble obtaining scales! Well more so confused desperately, You said the small scales are in bags of 100 but they say they come in a bag of 10, The tiny scales come in a bag of 100, Did the resources change during the time or is there confusion? If you could use screenshots to help us figure out what to get on the site please. This is an amazing project I would love to indulge in and I can't wait to do it as good as you did it <3

1 reply

My bad I found it out, just my luck to find it after complaining, Scroll down the page a bit if you guys are having the same problem. The lower you go the bigger the bags sell. The other types of metal scales are around the bottom of the page.

so how do you reinforce the corners? :p Ive been googling my arse off but can't find anything! :(

1 reply

What size rings did you get? And what size scales?

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On TheRingLord you can find some advice on ring sizes.
For small scales => rings 18g 3/16''
For large scales => rings 16g 5/16''
Large scales were used for the project on Etsy but for mine I used small scales.

I hope I'll be able to post soon the full armor on which I'm currently working.

This looks fantastic, i may encorporate this into a scale mail suit (big project i know, specially for somebody who has not done it before)

Thank you

That's amazing. I've done a bit of chain mail and it takes some patience. Very impressive to say the least.

That's brilliant! I can't wait to see the whole thing all together!

a fool suite would end up being heavy no matter what what you use. cosplay stay with aluminum. functional titanium is lighter then steel and can be torch heated to have amazing rainbow coloration.

1 reply

If you take a look on the site where I bought the scales, you will see they are selling scales and rings in different alloys. Steel, titanium, plastic and even gold! But the prices are very different too. Titanium is beautiful but it's more than 4x the price of aluminum. I first need to win at the lottery.

I love this. reading the comments I have a few suggestions. I work with metal and composits. as for the rings if you want more strength iyou could use steel. some steel wire can be light weight depending on the alloy

This project makes my day, this is just UBERAWESOME! Great build, got to make this in kevlar... ;)

4 replies

I've been thinking about doing some 'ibles that cover natural fiber composites, have you done much of that kind of stuff? Vacuum Bags, etc.?
I need to post an 'ible about the bike seat I made out of cloth in this way.

Natural fiber composites? I've never really been in that direction - set apart some sinew-backing experiments to build a compact bow... Hope you find what you're looking for, and lookin' forward to those I'bles!

Thanks a lot, I would like to see that!
This one is out of aluminum so it's not very sturdy. This is definitely a cosplay and it shouldn't be used as a real armor. The tip of a blade would easily slide under the scales and break some rings.

As protection against zombies this would do the job, they tend to bite severely!

Wow i love it! I've always wanted to try chainmaille but it would take so long and doesn't look very impressive. This, on the other hand, is definitely what a dragon slayer would wear!

Nice !

This could be endless. you should make a whole wedding gown like this : all white and pearly colors wold be beautiful.