Life Pendant Tutorial

Life Pendant Tutorial
By Victoria Sol

lifependants

This is a fairly simple pendant to make. The only real challenge is that you need to make two mobius units – in different directions! If you haven’t done this before, never fear. I will explain as best I can and if you’re finding it tricky, you can contact me in a comment on my blog and I’ll try my best to help further.

Now. You’re going to need the following ring sizes, or close enough (the pendant is relatively forgiving like that):

2.4mm WD, 27.5mm ID (AR 11.5) – 1 ring
1.6mm WD, 11.2mm ID (AR 7.1) – 10 rings
1.2mm WD, 8.5mm ID (AR 7.2) – 4 rings
1mm WD, 4mm ID (AR 4) – 20 rings

You can buy kits in my Etsy shop which contain enough rings for two pendants. The Bright Aluminium rings in the kits are supplied by Zili, whom I can highly recommend if you want to buy the rings in bulk instead.

Now for the actual instructions:

1. Create two mobius units, facing in different directions. Use the 1.6mm WD rings for this, with 5 rings in each mobius unit. If you’ve never made a mobius unit before, it’s a construct where every ring passes through every other ring. You make it by first closing one ring, then passing another ring through it, making sure to go from the bottom upwards and then lean it to the right. Let the two rings now work as one ring as you pass the next one upwards through both, and lean that one to the right as well. Continue following this pattern until you have a five ring mobius unit. It should look really neat, like in the picture. After you’ve made the first one, make the second one in the same way except lean every ring to the left instead.

life2

If you’re having trouble making mobius units, have a look at the M.A.I.L. website for further instructions: http://www.mailleartisans.org/articles/articledisplay.php?key=244

2. Close the big (2.4mm WD) ring. This will be the outer frame.

life5

3. Connect one mobius unit to the frame, one ring at a time, using the smallest (1mm WD) rings. Make sure the mobius keeps its form during this – that the rings stay in the same orientation. It’s really easy to lose track of the rings during this step, so I’d recommend laying the whole thing down onto a table now and then to check the mobius unit is still neat.

life6

4. Connect the other mobius to the frame. Bet you didn’t see that coming! The first one will probably slide around a little bit, but try to get the two sections on roughly opposite sides of the frame.

life8

It should now look like this:

life9

5. Here comes the frustrating bit. You will now use two 1.2mm wire rings to connect the two mobius units (connected to the frame) together. Make sure you pass the rings through the very centre of the mobius units so every ring is connected to the other mobius section. Don’t lose hope if you can’t do it in five seconds, it sometimes takes me several minutes and it’s my design! Just be patient and keep at it. The second ring should be easier than the first, as you’ve already created a path.

life11

6. Finally, connect the last remaining of the same rings to the top of the frame ring to create a bail. You can now connect a chain, leather cord or any other kind of fastening you’d like.

life12

I hope you found this tutorial easy to follow and the pendant fun to make! Let me know what you think and I would love to see pictures of your finished pieces. Post them on my Facebook Page, tweet me or tag me on Instagram. I promise I’ll reply. 🙂

facebook.com/VictoriaSolJewellery
Twitter – @destaidesigns
Instagram – @destaidesigns

~

Victoria Sol appreciates etiquette:

As sold by Victoria Sol, the recommended retail price for this pendant is £15. Remember to value your skills and charge accordingly.

Please consider giving credit to the designer when selling or showcasing this design.

Thank you for reading!

This tutorial is copyright © Victoria Stedje 2016. Please do not reproduce, copy or teach this tutorial without express consent.
Items made using this tutorial can be sold freely.

Busy morning

I’ve been seriously slacking lately. Like, seriously. I’ve been crafting like normal, but all my admin, social media, blog duties and other stuff less interesting than chainmaille have been seriously suffering.

So! This morning I have done things properly. I’ve written blog posts all over the place (you think this is the only place I post?…), I’ve taken part in a Twitter hour, I’ve been posting and adding and sharing on social media. And I made a video!

If you ever wondered how exactly to make chainmaille, take a look at this. It’s only one specific weave in one specific ring size, but you get an idea. I’ll be making more, sooner or later, so if you’re curious please do keep checking back. 🙂

Maybe next time I post, I’ll put more into writing than into the video… 🙂

A beginner’s guide to chainmaille – part 2

So last week I went on and on about boring stuff. I know. I know. But it is all important, unfortunately. Without knowing what AR is, you won’t understand how weaves work together.

This week, I want to show you the very simplest of chainmaille – the 2-in-1 and 4-in-2 chains.

Picture of 2 in 1 chain

2-in-1 chain

The 2-in-1 chain is literally just a row of rings attached to each other. It’s a good way of starting off, so you can get used to opening and closing the rings, holding the pliers, holding the piece you’re working on, and doing three things at once. Once you’ve made a 2-in-1 chain that looks decent enough, you can go on to the 4-in-2 chain.

Picture of 4 in 2 chain

4-in-2 chain

The 4-in-2 chain is used as a basis of a few weaves. Especially when speed-weaving (which means finding ways of putting rings together that doesn’t involve opening and closing every single ring), these chains can be useful.

If you have your 2-in-1 chain handy, all you do is double the rings. Easy peasy, right?

Once you’ve mastered these, you can start looking at more complicated weaves. The Byzantine one I posted a picture of last week is a good place to start. You can go looking for a tutorial of your own, or you can wait until I post one here. 😉

I also want to mention a few things about materials, while I still (hopefully) have your attention (assuming you’re not already caught up in trying to bend rings backwards to make Byzantine).

A lot of my designs are made with thin iron rings. Iron is a sturdy material, easy to work with but quite heavy. It works well when the rings are as thin as they are, but for bigger things there are other choices. Steel has the same features – very strong, sturdy, won’t let you down but is also very heavy.

One of the ring types I see used a lot is aluminium. Aluminium usually comes in two forms in chainmaille – Bright Aluminium (BA) and Anodised Aluminium (AA). BA is metal coloured. Aluminium coloured. Y’know. Looks like the metal it is. AA come in all the colours of the rainbow, but they’re relatively easy to scratch off so be careful with your pliers. Aluminium is very, very light. Almost like plastic. But it stands up very well and it’s good to work with. I’d probably recommend it to a beginner. And the colours are fun!

Picture of anodised aluminium rings

Anodised aluminium

Apart from steel and aluminium, you can get rings in titanium, niobium, sterling silver etc. It all depends on what you’re using them for, how much you can afford to pay, how much you’re hoping to sell the finished product for (if indeed you are planning on selling it) and if it needs to be hypo-allergenic.

It’s also, of course, possible to make your own rings, but I wouldn’t recommend that to someone just starting out. Personally, I’m too lazy. I figure there are already people out there who make rings ready to use, I might as well save myself the trouble. It would give you more control, though, and could be something to think about if you decide you’re not getting exactly what you want from pre-made rings.

I hope some of this has been helpful, if not because you’re going to use it then maybe to give you some insight into all the things that are a part of making chainmaille. I will be posting some tutorials for common weaves over the next few weeks so you can see how things are made in detail.

A beginner’s guide to chainmaille

So you may have seen my pretty things and thought “I wanna make that!” Or maybe you’re just curious how it’s actually done. Either way, I can help!

If you want to start making chainmaille, the first thing you need is a pair of good pliers.

Pliers

Like these.

I personally use chain nose and bent nose pliers, but you’ll quickly find some that you like. Just make sure they have springs, because having to open them all the time while you’re trying to do four things at once gets really old.

Close-up of plier springs

These things.

Next you need rings. You can use normal jump rings if you want, or you can buy specially made chainmaille rings. Oftentimes the latter is the better choice, as they look better.

Different kinds of chainmaille rings

Different kinds of rings.

Chainmaille rings come in many different sizes and thicknesses. There are a few different concepts you need to learn if you want to follow patterns:

AR – Aspect Ratio – The relationship between the size of the ring and the thickness of the wire
ID – Inner Diameter – The size of the ring
AWG – American Wire Gauge – Thickness of wire
SWG – Standard Wire Gauge – Also thickness of wire, but done differently

I’d also really recommend committing to memory what ring sizes you prefer, in both millimetres and inches. (I’m still working on the inches part myself. As a Northern European I work in the metric system most easily.)

An example of rings labels

Example label from Purple Moon Beads

Now, AR. The aspect ratio of a ring is the inner diameter of the ring divided by the thickness of the wire. Yes, yes, I’m bringing maths into it. It’s actually important, because some weaves will only work with some ARs, and most weaves will have a range of ARs that look good. All weaves also have a minimum AR, below which there won’t be enough space to fit in rings.

The inner diameter is what’s important when it comes to the size of a ring, because that’s the space where you fit in other rings. It doesn’t really help you to know how big a ring is across if you can’t fit that last ring into the space you’re playing with, after all.

The AR is more important than the ID, simply because a larger ring with an AR of 3.5 will behave exactly the same as a smaller ring with the same AR. This way you can make e.g. a Byzantine weave that’s tiny or really big, and it will behave correctly in both sizes.

The chainmaille technique Byzantine

Byzantine weave.

The AWG and SWG are only important in relation to the ID. If you’re only taking one thing away from this, remember the AR instead.

There are two systems for the wire gauge because Americans like to be different, I guess. It’s only important because some metals are usually done in AWG while others are in SWG. If you have trouble, just convert it to mm instead. That’s what I do.

Showing wire gauges compared to millimetres

A handy guide.

I hope some of this has been helpful, and rest assured I’m not leaving you to fend for yourself there. I’ll be back next week with more Teachings of Chainmaille. 🙂

Part 2