I want to make a chain mail shirt for under 15 dollars, whats the best wire to use
Whatever you can get a heck of a lot of for under 15 dollars?Depends in part on why you want to make it. Just for fun and to practice your chain weaving? To have it look good? To have it look _convincing_ to someone who knows what they're looking at? Do you care how heavy it is? (Serious mail weighs quite a bit; if you want it for LARPing you may want to cheat and use aluminum.) Websearch on "sca chainmail" finds several makers and articles (one good starting point: http://lochac.sca.org/lochac/artsci/articles/chainmail.html),. Some of the makers say what they're using (one says 16-gauge galvanized steel, for example). Those may also give you some indication of just how many feet of the stuff you'll need, which will interact with your budget.There are several articles here on Instructables about making mail (or maille; both spellings are accepted). You should probably glance at what they've used.Of course there's always the joke approach: a shirt made out of chain letters. ("Make five copies of this shirt and send it to five other people...").
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you can get a 1/4 of a mile @ lowessearch for electric fencing wire
What kind of wire depends on what you'll be using it for. do you just want to look good? then you can use 18ga. wire in 1/4"id rings, 16ga wire in 5/16 or 3/8 and 14ga around 9/16 are you planning on doing any kind of fighting? then 16 ga will work in 1/4"id and 14 ga in either 5/15 or 3/8. that's assuming your going with butted maille and steel rings. if your willing to rivet or weld you can get away with most anything in 16ga or 18 gauge. just make sure you dont make rings bigger than 9.16 or so, else it doesnt really look right, and in the case of butted rings probably wont hold together too well. for $15 i'm not sure how far you'll get. A 1/4 mile spool of 14 gauge electric fence wire should be enough for a shirt, but it costs me about $25 and thats the cheapest i've been able to find wire for in my part of the world.
I would like to disagree with what Re-design said. Copper and aluminum will work, but only if it is a fairly small piece. I made a bracelet entirely out of copper (about 2 inches wide), and it looks amazing when I polish it. If you want to make something larger, then copper and aluminum will not hold together.
What ever you make it out of it has to be strong enough to retain it's shape. So copper won't do nor aluminum or aluminium if you're English. Did you search this site first? There are many inst. on making chain mail. This one looks good to me.https://www.instructables.com/id/Ye_Olde_Chain_Maille_Rings/Good luck.