Chain Maille can be used to make traditional armor, or as a decorative medium for more practical things


Cost Time Difficulty Age Group
5-50$US days-weeks med 16+


  • You are going to want a nice pair of wire cutters. Cutting thick steel wire can be hard and tiring, the larger the better.
  • Wire: The thicker the wire the stronger the rings, and the smaller the ring diameter the stronger the chain maille. So you can use thiner wire for smaller rings and you will need thicker wire for larger rings
  • Metal rod: The metal rod is used to make the rings by wrapping the wire around it. So the diameter of the rod defines the size of your rings. You can use a wood dowel if a metal rod is unavailable, however it is harder to slide the coil off the dowel.
Making the rings
  1. Use your vice grips to clamp the end of the wire onto the top of the rod.
  2. Wrap the wire around the rod to make a long coil. Keep the loops tight so all the rings are the same size.
  3. Once you are finished wrapping the coil, remove the vice grips and slide the coil off the rod.
  4. Pull each end of the coil to stretch it out. This will make it easier to cut and cause you ring to be open enough to link. Allow the loops so be separated by about 2mm. Keep the loops evenly spaced so the ring sizes are the same.
  5. Use your wire cutters to cut the coil and make your rings. Cut down the center of the coil in strait line. This can be very tiring, bigger sharper wire cutters help.
  6. Now you have your rings. Depending on your project you may need thousands of rings and will have to repeat these steps many times.
Connecting the rings to make the chain maille.
  1. First you must choose a weave pattern. The are many different types of weaves, and the more complex the longer it takes and more rings it requires. It is recommended that you start out with the European 4-in-1 weave.
    For more patterns see: Guide to chain maille weaves
  2. The basic European 4-in-1 weave is shown below.
    Simple layout of a European 4-in-1 Weave
    Continued layout of a European 4-in-1 Weave
  3. Use your 2 pliers to hold and bend the rings into place, leaving no gap in the ring
  4. Continue with the pattern

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