Introduction: Chainmail Bag

Hello, my name is Dylan, I am going to be teaching a little bit about chainmail, its uses in medieval ages, modern times, and I'll also be teaching how to make a little something with it. I have been researching chainmail, blacksmithing, and other medieval practices for quite a long time. Today, I am going to be showing how to make a chainmail dice bag, and the steps to make the chainmail itself.

Chainmail back then was used for armor. Its only job was to protect the user from a sword cleaving them in two. Often, it was used on half-plate and full-plate armor to fill in the gaps that the plates made, specifically half-plate. It would often droop down and appear very baggy on the user but this is for when a sword or mace hits it, it loses a lot of its power. Modern uses for chainmail are gloves, scrubbers, wetsuits, and even militaries still use it for slash and stab protection.


To start I am going to show what tools will be needed to make the chainmail. What I have built is a wooden rig to hold a metal bar from which it can spin in, now this isn't exactly necessary but it certainly helps. The next things needed are some bolt cutters to cut the wire, a pair of pliers. I recommend duckbill pliers and some needle-nose pliers. If you don't want to mar the surface of the ring, make sure they don't have teeth. Next, a metal bar with a hole in it to slide the wire through. It is important to know what thickness the bar is. The thickness of the bar is the internal diameter of the rings, so getting a smaller bar makes smaller rings, a bigger makes bigger rings. The rings are 3/8 inch diameter since the bar is also 3/8. The last thing is the wire, the type I am using is an electric fence wire that is 17 gauge thick.

Step 1: Step 1: Base Layer

The first step, open up one ring by grabbing each end with the pliers and TWISTING it back. Do not pull it back into a ‘C’ shape, that will damage its integrity. It should look like a spring when you twist it back. Close up eight rings and put them in the open ring. Close the opened ring and lay it down in such a way that the eight rings are all going the same direction. This is your base row.

Step 2: Step 2: Row 2

Now its time to add the expansions! These are the easy ones, all that has to be done is take eight rings, and put one in between each of the row two rings that were created the previous step. The way expansion rings work is they allow row two to be built on and for the bag to be made into a pouch-like shape instead of a cone.

Open up some more rings, and thread one of the rings through two of the row one rings, close the ring after. This is where it gets a little tricky, take another ring and thread it through one of the row one rings that was just woven into, and the ring next to it that isn't yet connected to a ring. The Row two rings should sort of overlap each other now, sharing a row one ring between them. Do this for six more rings, make sure they are overlapping correctly. I highly suggest using the picture and comparing it, after a couple of rows it gets easier, trust me.

Step 3: Step 3: Row 3

Remember what was done to make row two? This is basically what row three will be, but bigger. Open up 16 more rings and thread each one through two row two rings below it, make sure they overlap each other and that each one is only going into two rings. We’re almost there! Just a couple more steps then the bag is all finished.

Step 4: Step 4: Row 4

Take another 16 rings and add them exactly like row three. After that is done, there will be an expansion row, so take 8 more rings and put it between two of the rings that were just now added. Only hook one of the row three rings. But this is where it changes a little, instead of doing it for each row three ring, skip two rings and add in the next expansion ring, skip two more rings and add in another expansion. This creates an even expansion around the edge. Row four should have 24 rings now.

Step 5: Step 5: Row 5

Since this is where I am going to, 24 is the total that I’m going to be doing. So the next part is to keep adding row upon row of 24 until it starts to take the shape of a bag and starts folding over. This will take 12 more rows of 24 to total it. Please, please, please make sure to close each ring as much as possible, it sucks after getting all the work done, a ring falls out and now there’s a hole in the bag. Good luck finding out where it went and how to get it back in!

Step 6: Step 6: Closing Flaps

The final step, yes! We made it. All that’s left is to add the closing flaps. Take 3 rings and stitch two of them together with one ring, then take another ring, stitch that in through one of the rings you just stitched and put it through the 3rd ring. To finish that off, stitch one ring into two of the rings you just put in. Next, skip one ring, and redo that step and keep going around until finished.

Last thing to do once the closing flaps are finished, run some paracord, leather or whatever you want to run through the top holes. I chose to do purple paracord because that is what I had laying around.

Step 7: Done!

Congratulations! You finished the project. What's next? I would practice some more, and make bigger projects that challenge you.