Over the holidays I was perusing Mom's collection of beading magazines and came across the article "Patchwork Principle" in the April 2008 issue of Bead & Button. It featured a bracelet made of patchwork rounds based on the Celtic star pattern designed by Amanda Shero. I loved how different and colorful it was and chose it to be my first chainmaille project. I put this bracelet together before I ever even thought about starting this blog, so this post is a show and tell. If you want to know more about it, you can find the instructions and pre-made kits at the designer's website or by tracking down the magazine.
Collecting my supplies was probably the hardest part of making this bracelet since I knew nothing about chainmaille. I expected to walk into my local craft store and pick up everything I needed, but they didn't carry most of the rings sizes. I ended up ordering from the retailer listed in the article, Blue Buddha Boutique.
- 50 orange 18-gauge 6.4mm ID anodized aluminum rings
- 150 orange 18-gauge 4mm ID anodized aluminum rings
- 100 blue 18-gauge 6.4mm ID anodized aluminum rings
- 50 18-gauge 3.2mm ID aluminum rings
- 50 18-gauge 4mm ID aluminum rings
- 50 18-gauge 4.8mm ID aluminum rings
When my rings arrived and I was ready to get started, I realized I had no idea how to work with the jump rings. Thankfully, I had checked out Chained by Rebeca Mojica(founder of Blue Buddha Boutique) from the library. It had great instructions and illustrations on the tools I needed, opening and closing rings, and lots more. As I was working on my first round, I kept scratching the rings with my pliers. I found this was easily avoided with a plier coating available at my local craft store.
To create the bracelet, you construct 7 rounds. Each round took me less than an hour to put together. Making each round was pretty straightforward: you create the base, add the inside large orange rings, then add the outside large blue rings. After you link them all together, you connect 3 6.4 mm rings with a small 3.2 mm ring. This was where I ran into trouble. I found the 3.2mm rings to be difficult to open and close and very hard to get through the small space they needed to go through. There was a lot of frustration and a little yelling, but I made it through. I added a clasp and chain tomake it adjustable and called it done. In the end, I came out with a decent looking piece. It is by no means perfect and may one day fall apart, but what matters the most is that I discovered chainmaille is fun! Practice makes perfect, right?