Simple Spiral Chain Mail Y

Simple Spiral
Chain Mail
Use square-wire jump
rings to make a 4-in-1
spiral bracelet sparkle.
by Cathy S. Contreras
ou can use round- or square-wire jump
rings in any gauge for this weave, but
do the following quick test to make sure
Twist this chain back into a sharp
spiral before you put it on — the
spiral will lock in place when you
fasten the clasp.
your ring sizes will work. Attach four rings to
one closed ring. Hold the single ring; if the four
rings hang straight down and fit evenly on the
bottom of the first ring, they will work with this
weave. If they fan out to the sides, try a larger
inner diameter (ID) or a thinner-gauge ring. The
tighter the fit, the more dense the weave. Once
you get the pattern going, the bracelet works
up fairly quickly!
© 2012 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced
in any form without permission from the publisher.
Process photos by Tara Anderson.
Sterling silver square-wire jump rings:
20-gauge (0.8 mm), 3.5 mm inside
diameter (ID), quantity varies depending on bracelet length (105 rings will
make a 7½-in./19.1 cm bracelet)
Sterling silver lobster clasp
Chain mail
See Safety Basics at
Metal and tools (Rio Grande,
Learn fundamental techniques
in these bonus tutorials:
Opening and closing
jump rings
Making jump rings
• Jump Ring Sizes and Gauges, www.
• Control the Fit of Your Chain Mail
Weave (May 2011)
• Where to buy: 800.533.6644,
Close one jump ring B
[1], and attach
it to a holding wire — a twist tie, paper
clip, or piece of string. This is optional but
will make it easier for you to hold onto the
chain as you work. Open the remaining
jump rings. Insert a second ring through
the first ring [2], and close it.
To start the spiral, work from left to
right and make sure you add the jump
rings in the correct orientation. Hold the
two rings so that the second ring rests on
top of the first ring at the top and behind
the first ring at the bottom. Make sure
there is a space where the two rings
overlap. Insert a third ring through the first
two rings from behind at the bottom to
the front at the top, and close it [3].
NOTE: Always add the new ring in the
same direction as the previous ring to keep
the spiral going. You will have to retwist
the chain as you are working, and it will
be easy to see if you have added a ring in
the wrong direction.
Add a fourth jump ring in the same
manner, placing it through rings 2 and 3,
and close it.
Add a fifth jump ring through rings
3 and 4, and close it [4].
Continue to add jump rings in the same
manner until you reach your desired
bracelet length.
Add a sterling silver lobster clasp to an
open jump ring, and insert that jump ring
through the last two jump rings in the
bracelet in the same direction as you
added the previous jump rings [5]. Close
the last jump ring.
Remove the holding wire from the
opposite end.
Add a jump ring to the jump ring at
the end of the chain opposite the clasp,
and close it [6].
NOTE: In order for the clasp to hook into
the ring easily, insert the final ring through
only one previous ring instead of two.
The flat surfaces of the square wire jump rings add dimension, texture, and sparkle to any
weave. Occasionally, I’ll add accents of round wire rings in designs when mixing metals —
sterling silver looks great with copper or bronze. To add color and really make the patterns
“pop,” anodized aluminum or niobium jump rings create beautiful contrast.
the twist
A single spiral chain will untwist unless
both ends are fixed to immobile
points. Square-wire rings will keep
the twist a bit better than round, but
it will not be a sharp spiral. When the
spiral unwinds, it becomes a loose
version of another beautiful weave
called “Jens Pind.”
Twist the chain back into a sharp spiral before
you put the bracelet on, and it will stay spiraled
until you take it off. Or, make two or three spiral chains
and twist them together; they will stay twisted after you
attach the clasp.
Both of the bracelets on this page were made with two roundwire jump ring spiral chains twisted together. The smaller is all
sterling silver, and the larger is sterling silver with fuschia anodized
aluminum rings.
working with
jump rings
Aspect ratio (AR) does not apply to jump rings
made from square wire. If you work with
square-wire jump rings for a while, you will
develop a feel for what sizes work with different weaves. If your project calls for round-wire
rings and you wish to use square, first try
square-wire rings that have a 0.5–1 mm larger
inside diameter (ID) than the ID called for in the
project. If that does not work, it will be all trial
and error; a thinner gauge and/or a larger ID
may be the solution.
want to
make your own
jump rings?
If you prefer to make your own square-wire jump rings B ,
you will need 0.5 ozt. (troy ounces) of sterling silver, square,
half-hard wire. Wind your coil on a 3.5 mm mandrel, and use
a jeweler’s saw and a 4/0 blade or a jump ring maker to cut
the rings from the coil. You will have enough rings to make
an 8-in. (20.3 cm) bracelet.
Because of the spring-back in wire,
the inside diameter (ID) will never
be the exact size of the mandrel
on which it was wound. I always
refer to a ring as “wound on a
3.5 mm mandrel,” instead of the
exact ID size.
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