Introduction: Chainmail and O-ring Keychain

In this Instructable, we are going to show you how to make a keychain out of chainmail and rubber O-rings! A regular all metal chainmail weave isn't very flexible, but our design incorporates silicone O-rings to give it some stretch and make it a more versatile keychain(plus you have color options!)

We used red silicone rings, but you can substitute any color, and even mix and match to make a rainbow chain. Chainmail looks super cool and is very durable, meaning you can be stylish and everlasting at the same time!

Level of difficulty: Medium

Cost: ~$10

Time to make: 30-45 minutes

Step 1: Tools and Materials


  • 2 needle nose pliers to pull the chainmail rings apart.


  • Stainless steel chainmail. We used 16 gauge 1/4" ID, but whatever size you prefer works too. It's also better if they come with a cut already through them so you can pull them apart with pliers.
  • Colored Silicone O-rings. We used 16 gauge 5/16" ID, but feel free to use different sizes and colors to make this project yours.
  • Key ring
  • Keys
  • Carabiner (optional)

Step 2: Measuring and Choosing a Pattern

This step helps you visualize how the weave will start! It's is highly recommended that you lay all the parts out before you start!

you can measure the inside diameter of the chainmail and O-rings and multiply it by the number of each ring you want in your keychain to get an idea of how long the chain will be before you put it together.

You can also lay out your pattern if you want, or just wing it if that's more your style.

Step 3: Opening and Closing the Metal Rings

This is where having two sets of pliers comes in handy. Take a pair of pliers in each hand and grab the chainmail on either side of the split. Twist in opposite directions and the mail should start to separate. Our chainmail was stainless steel, and it wasn't much of a problem to pull them apart, but aluminum would've been easier and sped the process up quite a bit.

If your chainmail didn't come with a split already in them, you're going to have to do it manually with wire cutters or something similar.

Step 4: Starting the Weave

Start with one opened metal ring and loop four O-rings through it. Close the metal ring and loop a newly opened one through two of the O-rings, and then loop two new O-rings through the metal ring and close it. You should have two metal rings and 4 O-rings at this point. This will be the pattern that you will repeat until the desired length is reached.

When looping the O-rings, make sure that they are all flat against the table and oriented in the same direction. The best way to check that they are all oriented the same way is to make sure the metal rings are all slanted in the same direction. It should look like scales a fish cascading.

FOLLOW THE PICTURE TO HELP YOU GUIDE YOU THROUGH! Once you get the pattern, it's going to be very repetitive.

Step 5: Pinch Step

For this step, you are adding a single metal ring to the weave you have.

Once the keychain is at the desired length, bring the 2 silicone O-rings together and 1 metal ring between two outer and two inner O-rings. Once you get it through, close the metal ring carefully.

Do this for the entire length of the chain and on the ends put a metal ring on just one left and right O-ring to finish the keychain.

Step 6: Attaching Your Keys

Get a key ring and loop it through one end ring. The other end ring can be left alone or you can add a small carabiner so it can slip onto your backpack or belt loop!