Make Your Own Copper Bracelet: Introduction to Beginner's Chain Mail Weaving | Rory Bristol | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Make Your Own Copper Bracelet: Introduction to Beginner's Chain Mail Weaving

teacher avatar Rory Bristol, Maker of Things

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Starting Out

    • 3. Clasps or No Clasps

    • 4. Chain Mail Rings

    • 5. Working Rings

    • 6. Measuring and Preparing

    • 7. Weaving the Bracelet

    • 8. Getting Weird and Organized

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Join Rory for a bottom-to-top look at what makes chain mail work, and learn how to make your own chain mail jewelry, beginning with a copper bracelet. Whether you're avoiding the boutique or just want interesting and unique pieces, you'll learn to use Rory's step-by-step process for designing and weaving your own bracelets with chain mail.

Filled with information, inspiration, and tips for flexing your creativity, the lessons include:

  • A worksheet for measuring and designing your piece
  • Anatomy and classification of rings, materials, tools, and patterns
  • How to use basic rings to make bespoke pieces
  • Choosing design elements such as clasps, jump rings, and even the types and colors of metals
  • Pitfalls and stumbling blocks for novice weavers.

Whether you're looking for a classic or trying something new, you're welcome to learn these classic techniques with modern twists to create stunning and unique pieces. After taking this class, you'll know how to repair your own jewelry, spot poorly executed designs, and improve the quality of your jewelry collection without the expensive boutique experience.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Rory Bristol

Maker of Things


Hello, I'm Rory.

I love making things. Jewelry, accessories, toys, illustrations, anything. I just want to make the world beautiful. 

I teach chain mail courses and am illustrating a soon-to-be-launched comic project called Mordi and Shalo.

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Marie Bristol, and I make things. About five years ago, my wife gave me a handmade bracelet that she made herself. It's a Byzantine style aluminum bracelet, and it's just one my favorite things ever, and it inspired me to learn how to do a new thing. And it turns out training is a real passion of mine because it doesn't require a lot of unique skills. It just requires practice and learning new patterns and getting a little weird with your creativity to make something new. And I think it's a really great way to make jewelry for yourself as a gift, because you could take fairly affordable materials, really a portable materials and make a lot of different kinds of things, and every piece you make is bespoke. It's literally made for who you're making it for, and it can just be as weird or creative or traditional as you want it to be. Change has been around for about 2300 years. It's a while. The Romans originally adopted it from the cults. We don't know exactly how long they had it where the Romans picked it up, but the Romans started using it in armor, just like the kilts did, and that lasted for about 600 years. The problem with chain mail as a protective garment in and of itself is today can stop big , dull things. But it's not really great for stopping sharp things or things that go really fast, like arrows and then later bullets. The Byzantine style is a really classic style, is developed by the Italians in the third century, and it was in vogue. It was really popular for about 1000 years, so into the 13 hundreds, the 14th century. And you can still go to silversmiths and jewelers in Italy and find this is pretty much never gone away. And that's a really big accomplishment in fashion. If you know anything about fashion, you know things have very short shelf lives. It's just unheard of for something last for so long. 1700 years is just way too long for a fashion, for it to not be a great choice. So we're not going to go into the Byzantine style right away. It's an intermediate level. We've we want to focus on core skills with this lesson, so we're going to focus on opening and closing rings, choosing clasps, measuring your repeats, making sure that the bracelet fits who you wanted to fit and looks how you want it to look . So we're taking some classic choices, some classic designs, and we'll mix them up a bunch for this class. We're gonna focus on two and two, which is really straightforward. You only need a couple of skills, very basic skills to make the jewelry with this pattern, and it has a lot of flexibility if you wanted to. Different materials. If you want to add funky rings or just your own style or your own repeats, that's all super easy to customize and make a project that's just your taste. In the next couple of videos will go over the tools you need, and I'll give you some advice for choosing rings. What kind of metals sizes? Things like that will definitely cover the ones that you want for this project, but I'll give you some ideas in case you want to make something a little bit different. If you're excited to just dive right in and go buy tools and go buy materials, I caution you to watch the next couple of videos. First, I want you to be sure you're getting the right tools for what you're trying to do. Let's get started in the next video, going over materials and we'll see what takes out. 2. Starting Out: Okay, We're gonna start our class on the basic train mill bracelet with a two and two pattern. Here, we've got a bracelet with the two and two pattern. It uses a copper finish, lobster clasp on one in and on the other, and we have a single copper ring. This gives the bracelet a uniform look all the way around, and no one can see your class. We're going to need a few different things to get started. First, we have a felt Matt. This maroon felt Matt is the kind of thing you would buy for a poker table or game surface . I use it because it has a non slip surface on the bottom and a soft surface on top, which prevents rings from rolling away. Or if I drop tools or anything, I'm not going to damage the surface of the table. Next, I use thes Pittsburgh brand pliers. These players feature ah, spring response in the handle, which allows the players to just open back up on their own every time you like off the handle. And then the problems of the pliers don't have any teeth. They're smooth and round this curved edge here allows us to put the tools quite close together, and when it closes, it closes entirely flat. This is important because you want it even pressure Put on your rings when we have two pairs of pliers. We can put these snugly up against each other because they're at the angle that I mentioned before. Here you can see the opening and closing motion one might make. 3. Clasps or No Clasps: we'll put those away. Okay? Next we're gonna look at different clasps, which will use the first class is a bar and ring method. The bar here just goes through the ring training all and then the ring holds the bar in place. This is not the most secure system, so I tend to avoid this one. But it is popular because it's easy to close decks. We have lobster clasps these class. You're probably familiar with their an industry standard. They have a spring inside and a little lever toe. Open it up. Here we have a gunmetal finish, a brass finish and a copper finish. Next, let's look a classless bracelets. I'm not gonna teach these patterns today because they're slightly more complicated, but these don't require any kind of class mechanism whatsoever. First, we have these rubber ring bracelets thes use half rubber rings, half aluminum rings, and they slide onto your hand just like this when you put one of these rings on, it goes around your hand and cinches up around your rest on its own. This allows you to wear a form fitted bracelet without having to close a bracelet that's too tight. Ah, and again, it just comes off really easily. This bracelet is a double helix bracelet. It keeps its shape because it's closed all the way around. It's one solid piece. There's no beginning and no end and obviously no clasp. You slide it on by rolling it over your hand, which is made possible by the double helix pattern, and you can see it's more loose than the rubber bracelet would be. But it's tight enough that it will stay on your hand until you roll it off again like this . So that's her class plus bracelets. 4. Chain Mail Rings: the next thing we'll need to look at are going to be rings. These are 1/4 inch, 16 gauge aluminum rings. These are the basic kind of rings that we use for making chain mail. This is a classic example of what's called for in one chain mail mash. This is what you'd use to make armor, coy ifs and various pieces of protective clothing. We have aluminum, copper, brass, steel, iron and then colored with anodized aluminum. We have the purple, blue, green, sea foam yellow or in white black. Here we have three different silver colored rings. Thes rings look the same, but they are made of different metals, which means they'll have different levels of difficulty and finish on the right. We haven't aluminum ring. It'll be the easiest to work with. And we have an iron ring, which is a little bit more difficult to work with. But it's still find is still easy to work with, and then the steel is the most difficult to work with because steel is quite stiff. Next, we'll look at jump rings. Thes extra small brings air used for connecting elements but are smaller so as to not draw attention of themselves. Use him at the end of bracelets for clasps, putting class on, giving a bracelet or a necklace that chain to connect to. 5. Working Rings: Now I want to point out something here. You might see my hands twitch like this whenever I'm working with chain mail. This is because of a central trimmer, not because the work is difficult. It does not keep me from working on chain mail jewelry. It just means that sometimes I have to take a little bit of a break Or I might drop things at unexpected times does not impair my ability to work with chain mail or my ability to make beautiful work. So I've got my players here, you know, grab a ring here. This is a copper ring, 1/4 inch, 16 gauge. When you look at it, you'll see that there's a little split here. Wires typically wound around a rod and then cut open, which makes this cut shape. That's why it's not close to flat because it, you know, goes in tears toe open and close. Thes. We put the pliers on either side of that ring so we can manipulate that. Seem here, have got it open just enough that my players can go through this gap here. That's about how open we want. When we have an open ring, you know when we close this, we push it slightly together. It's gonna be a really gentle motion like this. So we turn it impress in at the same time. Look at this here. I'm gonna apologize in advance if this ends up off the screen a lot. But here you can see I've pushed it together a little bit as I turned it, and it's this nice round finish. Now it is optional for you to use a bit of flux and a torch to wealthy shot. This is absolutely not necessary for making jewellery because no one's going to be looking that closely at your seems, and you're not going to be pulling on it a lot. You can see this is nice and close. It makes a nice round ring when you're done and it's close to. That's one ring. Here I have a steel ring. Steel rings are more difficult to work with because they're harder to turn, which makes them also harder to press in. So while we use the same motions to close them, it takes more strength, and you'll have to take more breaks if you're working with steel at least into your hands. are stronger and more used to the motion. I'm just gonna jump over here and show you an aluminum ring that I'm going toe workout. If you open and close a ring too far, we'll start getting some misshapen rings. Here. You can see this edge is no longer round, and it's going to be harder and harder to close this. If we work this back and forth a couple of times, you'll see it will really start to lose its shape. Here. You see, I've got it closed like a would normally closer bring. But the ring is not flat anymore, and it's completely lost its round. So here you can see some shape. This might be easier if I set it down, so here you can see that it's lost its flatness. It's got a bowl shape to it. I can actually put the pliers under either side without rocking it, because it has lost so much of its flatness from this. Now, if a ring gets to this condition, I know I'm going to throw it away to make sure that I throw it away and I don't accidentally pick it back up. I twisted around to 180 degrees and that will brink almost every rain you work with. No, this would break even if I hadn't worked this back and forth. 180 degrees is too far for most metals. I do break thes when they've lost their shape, though, so that I don't accidentally use them in another project. 6. Measuring and Preparing: No, we'll talk about sizing. It's important to make your bracelet the crack size so your bracelet isn't too loose or too tight. You're going to measure it, putting it around my wrist. Just a quick little slide here. What I do is it. But one end on my rest inside the other one around and you could see more arrested just under seven inches. If you don't know the measurement of your wrist, you can print out the worksheet, which will include a actual scale ruler. So when you print it out, it will be the crack size that you can use to measure your own wrist, and it will also have some guidelines and how many links you'll need in this size to make a bracelet of the link was looking at. Now I'm gonna show you what this looks like from the clasp to the last ring. It looks like we've got exactly the correct size, were just under seven inches, but it really put it around the rest. It does not close, and this is just terrible. So we have to not measure the clasp itself. It will give us a false ling, and partly we have to make it a little bit longer because the rings themselves will make a bracelet that is bigger around wouldn't stretched around arrest. So we have to make sure to measure this to the correct distance so you can see this false link that we get from the clasp. We're just gonna pull that off to the end and you can see that I still need to add some more links to make this the full distance. Now, once we know how many rings we need, we need a pile of rings and I'm going to just take a moment here and split them into two piles. This makes things easier later, because we work in two stages of putting chain mail together. Fast forward to having me sorted. Put some to the right there that I'm going to work with, and these to the left. I'm just going to put them off the mats. I have a clean, open area and I don't get the count's mixed up. You start by opening the first ring here, and we're not opening it all the way because we are immediately going to be closing it solid. I want to start make closing these rings, you can see I opened it up and they move it a little closer to me face to see it how it goes. So I'm sorry if these go off screen. It's difficult for me to hold it directly under the camera while I close it. But we have one perfectly close link. Let's do that again. Now open up. You can see that I don't open this up of super large distance large enough that I could slip another ring through there if I wanted, and then a press it together to close it. Remember, I'm turning. I'm pressing a backwards from how I opened it, but I'm also pressing the ends closer to each other to close the rings. That it's is close to a perfect circle. It's possible sometimes you work it back and forth like this and you get these nice, smooth that just like that. Now I want to show you what happens if you place the pliers off from how I know Believe it suggested. If you leave lots of extra room at the bottom and grab these kind of willy nilly here, you can see that it's not going to be symmetrical. We'll put the length of the buyers on either side toe, open it and close it again so that most of the ring is covered with the pliers. Sometimes you'll see I hold him within one ring at a time. Zito hold a ring in one hand while the other hand is doing the moving. - So we want to make sure we put our players in the correct position. If we put them too far down or asymmetrically, they're not going to open the ring and a flat manner. Instead, they're going to warp. We don't want that warping like we showed you earlier. So we want to put the players on either side the full length of them, over the rings to keep the rings as flat as possible. So I'm gonna fast forward this closing a little bit just so you don't have to watch through this entire section of me closing rings. You can pause this if you like. Teoh, will you close your rings or you can finish watching the class and then come back and work on yours. And by the way, this is a great art for doing while you're watching television. I'm watching TV right now. I have headphones in, so it doesn't show up on the audio for you. I often watch a movie or television when they do this. Usually nothing to action. Film me. I don't want to have to be watching exactly what's going on all the time. So Hallmark Christmas movies, reruns. Things like that are really good to watch while I work on chain mail, and that's because I don't have to be looking at the links all the time. I can pick up links and put them into the players about looking most of the timeless and practice, and then you just look what I'm actually closing the ring to make sure everything closes flat. Okay, so that's closing all of our pre closed rings with a scooped this off to the side here, and I'll bring in all these other rings. It's good, good, good. And these were going toe open, and I'm gonna leave them open. The reason I'm opening these like this is because it's easier to connect the rings altogether when some of them are already closed and some of them are already open. So I'm not individually opening and closing each one as they assemble the bracelet. This is pretty basic. I know you can see that. I turn the links in the same direction every time to open them. Getting a little bit of a look just to make sure I've open them enough. But be careful. Don't open them too much if you need to try putting another ring through the gap. As long as you compare. Bring through the gap. You're good again. I'm just gonna fast forward through this. You don't need to watch all of these. Individual brings open and close. - Okay ? There is a last ring here. Get this opened up. We'll start putting together our bracelet. 7. Weaving the Bracelet: we're gonna start picking up one open ring and we're going to feed onto this foreclosed rings. There's 23 four. We're just gonna close these just like other ones, being a little bit more careful because we have other rings on their now, this will take a little bit of practice. They were going to feed another ring through all four of those previously closed brings being careful to not put it through the last thing we put on and we close that one and we'll have our first length of chain. Make sure this is closed well, and then you can see we have three pieces of change. So put another one on here, and that means we already have two. So at another two to the ring, just close it up like that. There we are. Sometimes you need a nudge. It just a little bit to make everything smooth, just like to look at this and make sure everything's in place. I'm going to be another open ring. Put it through those 1st 2 again and then to the new, to being careful to not put it through the one we just closed. Sometimes it's difficult to get the rings and just the right way. But with a little bit of practice, this won't be too much trouble for you. We're just gonna repeat this pattern, but another open ring on. But to closed things onto the open ring closed the open ring that's closed, and it's like to feel it to make sure that everything is smooth. We'll put another ring through the initial to and through the two new ones. We just added again, being careful to not put it through. The last thing we close closed that and now our chains a little bit longer. So we're just going to keep doing this sometimes. To me, it feels a bit like making those paper rings that you did in school. But that's probably just me. - And again, I'm just gonna fast board through some of this. I'm watching television while I do this. It doesn't affect the quality of what I'm working on. And again, when I'm doing this, I'm either enjoying music or Iran. You know, there's nothing that says I have toe sit here in silence while I work on these. Okay, so we're getting towards the end here, and I wanted to let you know that this took about 15 minutes and away fast forwarded through a lot of that. So I just wanted to let you know how long this took in actual time. Also, as you get closer to the end, the weight of the ring does start to drag on it a little bit. So I do sometimes have to take breaks. I don't think I did this one adult, but don't be surprised if your hands get tired by the time you're at this point, okay? There's our last link. Gonna measure this real quick and see how long the chain is that I made. I didn't count these rings in advance and just grabbed a pile of thumb. So it looks like I've made this a little too long. Okay, so now I'm gonna take a single ring. I only feed it through the last two links, and I'm going to close it. This will be the ring that I put the clasp onto there. That's nice. And then we could see the length here comparing between the original bracelet and the new one. Just looking at these last two rings, make sure everything's even each end of the bracelet, you should take extra care with to make sure that they look nice and that the rings air well closed because you don't want them to come open with your clasp on them, for example. So here I'm taking a jump ring and opening it will slide the lobster class bond that will hang loosely. I'm gonna put this on that last ring we put on before. Now there are different ways to do this. I don't mind doing it with the jumping, closing around the larger ring. But if it's easier for you, you can close the jump ring with the clasp on it and then put that onto the last ring of the bracelet instead of closing the jumping around the larger bring. So here we've got the full length that we're going to just measure it, remembering to leave off the jump, bringing class. But the end. We've got almost eight inches here. This is too much. But one of the nice things about train male, unlike weaving or knitting, that's extremely easy to remove a bit of the length without damaging the pieces. So here you can see how long they are side by side. I'm just gonna take a little bit of this off. I was counting up a couple of links and I'm opening it up right here. It's so easy. That is, that just took the 1st 1 off. Now there's only one ring holding those other four brings together. We'll take that one out too. Here we go. And they have taken up some of the length and I'm gonna take off one ring at the end, so that will have a single ring at the end. Honey, put this evidence doubler again, and you can see that we are right at where we want to be. Readjust that seven inches with the last chain. We're not counting the jumping at the end or the beginning. 8. Getting Weird and Organized: Okay, so now we're gonna look at ways to change Things happen, make bracelets or unique. The first place that I'm going to show you is an alternate one into bracelet, which relies on the same principles except instead of doing to into, we're going to use varying sizes of brings in one direction and then jump rings only in the other direction. This makes for more flat bracelet, and it's completely in the wheelhouse that we've established. You don't have to learn any new skills to make this bracelet. Another option is to make it to into in an anodized aluminum color. This pink is really pretty shines well in the light. This bracelet, in particular, uses a bar and loop, but the bar and loop. You do have to include a couple of extra chains here on the end for the bar, but that's just to allow the bar to go through the loop more conveniently. Here, I'll show you how these to go through. You can see the sexual links go through, but then, when the bars released, it holds itself in place. Another way to put a variation on the two and two is to actually do a three in three. This is more difficulty. You have to get some practice in under your belt because there's a lot less room to work with. Under the links here, I just do red and silver and blue and silver and alternating patterns. So I do to read and then to blue and then alternating. Of course, it's got a silver class with silver ring of the end that makes a nice, subtle closure. And here's what the favorites is Christmas sort of it. It's a Christmas tree. It uses oversized rings for the tree itself, and it's connected with jump rings. And then inside each of the jump rings here is an extra element is the square cut wires, which are just a different style. I've got them in various colors by putting them in here. They make our ornaments for the tree. I want to show you some of my organization tricks. First, I'm not advertising any particular brand, but in a bag of chain links that you order online, you can see various information that's important. When you order rings, you order them by a rough count. By weight, the rings be approximately 500 in this case here you can see it. It's an 18 gauge, 1/4 inch metallic finish ring that's with the P I. R. 18 14 Metallic means just above that. You can see it says plated steals who know what the metal is. We know that the finish is gonna be metallic rather than Matt. We know it's steel. We know that it is a 00 for eight inch wire, which is a name 18 gauge in its 1/4 inch across. No, this information isn't printed on every bags, and you should get a run of bags where the information is only in one bag. So I've just made a habit of taking some of the bags and labeling them myself. Here's an example of a bag labeled myself. You can see if this is says s ex for saw cut BZ for bronze 16. 14 means of the 16 gauge 1/4 inch, and I spell that out a little bit more next to that just because this was one of the earlier ones that I received. You can also put this information on stickers or labels with a label maker, and then you could put them in bends like these. This is a bobbin case from a craft store. You see, I've got seal rings, iron rings, three different kinds is your darker and lighter different colors of iron rings. Okay, so first we have bronze. This is a jump rings which have a little bit of extra mixed up in This happens sometimes the brings my great. So you've got some brass here. Sorry. So we got the browns here and the next we have the brass and the brass has a couple of different colors. And then we've got the copper accord. Of course, we've got a couple of darker rings and their medals were pretty easy to fish out and see what they are. And thats me, organizer. So now I just want to invite you to make your own bracelet. Let me know what you make sure. Pictures, please. If you need any advice, please ask the project section of happy dick if critiques if you need it or, uh, just pointing the direction of the tools that you might need. Thanks for you mentioned. Look forward to another class