Feb 8, 2014

Chainmaille 101: How to Make Chain Maille Free Tutorial Series

Celtic Stars

Recently a friend asked about the basics of chainmaille. She wanted to know what size rings were most often used, and where to buy supplies. She wanted to create more than earrings, and she wanted to know the needed supplies to make bracelets, necklaces and chains too. So I decided to explore the basics of chainmaille, focusing on a weave at a time, here on my blog, so that chainmaille is as fun for everyone as t is for me! I love it, and yet at one time I believed it "was too hard" to even try. I'm offering free tutorials for the various weaves, as well as resources for tutorials, materials, and tools because it shouldn't be so daunting. Every jewelry designer has a right to create his or her own handcrafted chain. I hope you find the weekly chainmaille information empowering.

In September, Creative Bead Chat's magazine published an interview with me discussing why I love chainmaille, including tutorial links and resources. I'm going to expand on that information, and sharing the basics of maille, in no time at all you'll be creating all the basic weaves and incorporating them into many different designs, just like these below.  

Lapis beads in silver "captures," Helm weave flowers with crystals (Lauren Andersen design), & Japanese diamonds

 From the upper left to the bottom of the picture, there are caged lapis beads, Japanese flowers, Helm or Barrel weave flowers, and Japanese diamonds.

We will learn the weaves one at a time, with resources for materials and several types of free tutorials to fit your learning style. Since chainmaille is an ancient technique, it is in essence, copyright free. Thus, an array of chainmaille tutorials and numerous ways of connecting rings can exist for one weave. I'll be sharing my favorite resources for video, photography, and illustrated tutorials. If a weave seems difficult to you, try a different tutorial. Many times, a different style of teaching makes learning easier, as can trying different processes for putting the rings into the pattern. 

We will learn the basic chainmaille weaves & their variations, creating beautiful jewelry with each: 


                     Helm (or Parallel) and Barrel:



Celtic, European, and Inca Puna:



Next week, we will begin by going over the basic tools needed for chainmaille, and the different types of rings, materials, and wires used in chainmaille. We will cover basic terms and share a resource guide. We will also create our first earrings, shown below :) 


  1. Wow..did you make all these desig ns Rita?! You have found your niche! For sure..gorgeous!

  2. I love chain maille and you definitely inspire me to try more! Great post.

  3. I am sooooo excited about this!!! I want to learn and I feel so stupid looking at it. so I can't wait to get started!!!Thanks you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

  4. These look so cool. I'll be trying to follow along with all the weaves/tutorials. Thanks for posting.

  5. look in to a pair of Tronex Razor flush cutters - they're pricy, but give nice clean narrow kerfs


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