Please enjoy this guest blogger tutorial by my daughter, Sophie. :-)
Sophie's Easy European 4 in 1 Chain Mail Bracelet Tutorial
I first learned chain mail a few years ago in a class at SPLASH, a yearly event held at M.I.T which lasts three days. At SPLASH, M.I.T (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts) students offer hundreds of different classes which they teach to high school students. The class subjects range from integral calculus to chocolate sculpture to cheese tasting. This bracelet uses the most basic chain mail pattern: the European 4 in 1.
1. rings - I used approximately 85 rings (which makes 17 chainlets) size 14 guage, 5/16" inner diameter, in anodized aluminum. If you use smaller rings, you will need more of them to cover the same distance. I bought mine from The Ring Lord. They have a nice variety of metals including steel, aluminum, sterling, gold, brass,bronze, copper, 12 colors of anodized aluminum and also carry rubber rings. The site tells the approximate number of rings in a square foot and the approximate number of rings in a pound for the each of the different sizes. There are other online chainmail supply sources, and jewelry supply and beading suppliers may also carry them.
2. 2 flat-nosed pliers - available at jewelry or beading suppliers.
3. One jewelry clasp set - available at jewelry or beading suppliers.
To open ring: Use the two pliers to grip near the ends of the ring. Turn the pliers in opposite directions, twisting one plier towards you and one away from you, to further separate the ends. DO NOT PULL the ends away from each other; just twist.
To close ring: Just turn the pliers in the opposite directions until the ends of the ring are flush.
1. Open one ring and close four. These five rings will make a chainlet, the "building block" of the bracelet.
2. Thread the four closed rings onto the open ring, then close the openring.
3. Repeat steps 1-2 over and over until you have the amount of chainlets you need for your bracelet.
4. Take one chainlet and lay it out flat exactly as shown. Now we can refer to the center ring, the two top rings, and the two bottom rings.
5. Lay a second chainlet directly under the first. It must be in the EXACT same orientaton; the center ring crosses under the bottom two rings and over the top two.
6. Open a single ring. Thread this ring under the bottom two rings of the top chainlet and over the top two rings of the bottom chainlet. Close the open ring, making sure not to lose any of the rings you just threaded on. Now there should be three center rings, all threaded the same direction.
7. Keep adding chainlets to one end of your link by repeating steps 5-6, making a longer and longer chain. Stop when your bracelet is large enough.
8. Open a ring and thread it through the final center ring on one end of the bracelet. (See photo in Step 9.)
9. Now thread one part of the clasp through the open ring: if the clasp opening is too small, attach the clasp to a split ring, then thread the split ring through the open ring. Close the ring.
10. Open another ring and thread it through the last center ring on the other end of the bracelet. Thread the ring through the other part of the clasp, then close.
Your bracelet is now complete and ready to wear!