Chainmaille is fabric that has been woven by linking metals rings. Historically, it was used as armor, but today many people incorporate chainmaille (or chain mail) in their jewelry design and use jump rings to get their projects started. Jump rings are small circles of metal -- such as aluminum, silver, copper, or other precious metals -- that have a split cut into them so they can be twisted open and closed. Though chainmaille jewelry doesn't have to stand up to the rigors of battle, it is still important for jewelry to be structurally sound, so jump rings must be opened and closed properly to reduce strain on the metal and maintain their shape. Follow the instructions below to properly open and close a jump ring and then check out books from the Library to get some chainmaille inspiration!
- Jump Rings
- 2 Flat Nose Pliers
Using a pair of flat nose pliers, grasp one jump ring to one side of the split so that the split is at the top.
Using a second pair of flat nose pliers, grasp the other side of the jump ring so that the pliers are parallel to each other, but not overlapping the split of the jump ring.
Gently twist the pliers away from each other so that the ring opens slightly. Opening too much will distort your jump ring.
To close your jump ring, repeat the opening process, but in reverse!
Using flat nose pliers, grasp one jump ring to one side of the split. Using a second pair of flat nose pliers, grasp the other side of the jump ring.
Gently twist the pliers back towards each other until the ends of the jump ring line up. Be sure not to leave a gap between the ends of the jump ring.
Do not pull or pinch your jump ring to open or close it. That will weaken the metal and distort the shape of the jump ring.
You can find books on how to make your own chainmaille as well as patterns for chainmaille jewelry at your local location of the Kitsap Regional Library! Below are some great titles that you can check out.
Chain Mail & Wire Reimagined by Karen Rakoski
Chained: Create Gorgeous Chain Mail Jewelry One Ring at a Time by Rebeca Mojica