Introduction: Soda Can (Pop-top) Chain Mail - TabMail Category
Alright so considering I have over 20 weaves I've decided to condense these into 4 separate categories, and just run through the steps in each variant. Note feel free to visit my site: http://poptoppaladin.com/ for HQ instructions and more individualized tutorials. There's also a gallery page and an about page talking about how my Soda Can Chain Mail came about. For reference all my weaves are original and I've only seen 1-2 styles that are close to mine on the internet, and I felt it would be better to show off my work and inspire others to make their own soda can chain mail.
This category is centered around TabMail as it focuses on combining tabs and rings (all the same size until you get to the specialty category which is another tutorial. This differs from TabScale as these weaves are more 'flat' and don't move like regular Scale Mail.
Tabs - A whole lot of them, see each step for Sq Ft. per weave, but note it varies from 300-800 per sq. ft.
Rings - The rings used here are 16 ga 1/4 AR 4.2 (Machine Cut) Bright Aluminum Rings I purchase mine from TheRingLord most weaves you need just about as many rings as you have tabs.
Pliers - Again I use the RingLord's plier set - it's cheap and for over 4 years of use they've been perfect in every way. You can use your own pliers though.
Time - This is harder than the ChainTab as it usually requires more focus - I can do ChainTab blindfolded.
I'll cover a couple different styles here each in it's own "step"
Step 1: Flat TabMail
A simple weave made alongside TabScale Inverse as a combo of the 2 Flat TabScale variants. This is incredibly flexible especially compared to the Reinforced ver, but overall it feels bleak.
Difficulty: 1/5 – This is very easy to do.
Flexibility: 5/5 – It bends any way you want it.
Tabs per sq. ft: ~450
Rings per sq. ft: ~325
1. Lay the tabs out with the second row on top of the 1st and 3rd.
2. Put a ring through the 2nd rows upper and lower half.
3. Continue out width-wise as you wish.
4. Lay a 4th row ontop of the 3rd row’s upper half.
5. Connect with a ring.
6. This is basically the same as 4 but you go underneath.
7. And connect.
8. Continue this out as you wish for swatch size.
Step 2: Flat TabMail Reinforced
This is 5th generation TabMail made shortly after the realization that Banded TabMail wasn’t feasible for large pieces.
Difficulty: 2/5 – This is simple enough, and a good beginner TabMail
Flexibility: 3/5 – It bends horizontally, but vertically not so well.
Tabs per sq. ft: ~900
Rings per sq. ft: ~775
1. Lay the tabs out so that the top of the band has 2 outer tabs facing back-to-back and an inner tab only on the bottom half.
2. Then connect them as shown.
3. Continue it out as wide as your swatch is going to be and make a few bands.
4. Then place the inner tab from band 2 into the outer bands of tab 1.
5. Connect the two bands with a single ring.
6. Then it’s continuing down the bands.
Step 3: Simple Banded Tab
This is the simplest weave using rings and tabs.
Difficulty: 1/5 – There’s a reason I called it Simple
Flexibility: 5/5 – As flexible as it gets, but going up to 4-Tabs simply doesn’t work in this ring size.
Tabs per ft: ~40
Rings per sq. ft: ~30
1. Obtain tabs and rings
2. Connect the tabs with the rings
Step 4: Banded Tab
This was my first foray into TabMail using rings. You can use these for bracelets or belts, or as I do for Banded TabMail.
Difficulty: 3/5 – This isn’t hard to figure out, but is annoying to “thread”
Flexibility: 4/5 – While it can bend around a wrist it’s just able to do so.
Tabs per ft: ~60
Rings per ft: ~40
1. Arrange the tabs as shown below.
2. You basically want a ring in-between the middle of the 3 tabs with in the inner tab flipped vertically.
3. Now you temporailty move the top tab over and place another ring through the bottom tab’s middle. Add another ring as part of the inner layer making sure it faces the correct direction.
4. Slide the top tab over and connect the ring.
5. Then place a ring through another tab to act as the bottom.
6. And finally add another tab to the top and close. Making sure that you keep direction between the 2 layers, I stress this only because it’s easy to get mixed up and a pain to fix later on.
Step 5: Banded TabMail
Since the first generation of TabMail I had only Banded it was natural to expand it into full mail. The issue with this is that the larger it gets the harder it gets to connect the bands.
Difficulty: 5/5 – While yes putting together is simple the more bands you use the harder it gets to thread them through.
Flexibility: 2/5 – It can bend around, and between bands it can fold but after you build it up this become much harder.
Tabs per sq. ft: ~650
Rings per sq. ft: ~350
1. First make yourself some Banded Tab
2. Now through the 2 back-to-back tabs place a ring.
3. Now making sure the outer tabs are facing the same way thread the ring through the single tab in the inner layer and close it.
4. Simply continue this process. While initially this is easy later threading the ring though becomes much more difficult – you may want to invest in strong thin needle-nose to “coax” the ring if making a larger piece.
5. Then finish the band connect the two bands.
Step 6: Finish
This has been a look at the more flat versions of TabMail the scale is a lot more fun to work with, but it is much harder. I'm including some shots here of sample pieces I've made with these.