Materials Used in Chainmaille

I just got some nifty little flyers printed up, with basic cleaning instructions for the different metals I use in my chainmaille. I intend to include one of these with each order, so you’ll know what to do if it needs a bit of a clean.

It also occurred to me that I could write a blog post with a little bit more detail on each of the materials I use in my pieces. Now, I don’t use all the different jewellery grade metals out there, far from it. Precious metals aren’t really my thing, and there are other ones that I just haven’t got around to trying yet.

The main materials I use are Bright aluminium, Anodised aluminium, EPDM rubber, Stainless steel, Copper, Bronze and Brass.

Bright Aluminium

Bright Aluminium Dragonscale

Bright Aluminium Dragonscale

Bright aluminium is actually an aluminium alloy – it’s aluminium + magnesium. It is nickel free in theory, although a lot of the wire used is recycled so little particles can sneak in. Bright aluminium is shiny, almost chrome-like, but can dull to a grey colour. It’s extremely lightweight so even big pieces are very wearable.

Anodised Aluminium

Anodised Aluminium Flower

Anodised Aluminium Flower

This is aluminium which has been anodised. Anodisation is a chemical process involving acids and dye, which leaves the metal with all kinds of great colours. It’s practically hypoallergenic and just as lightweight as Bright aluminium.

EPDM Rubber

EPDM and Bright Aluminium Bracelet

EPDM and Bright Aluminium Bracelet

This is the only material I regularly use that’s not a metal. EPDM is a synthetic rubber, originally created for industrial use. It comes in loads of cool colours and it’s stretchy! It’s the easiest way to make bracelets without a clasp, and I usually pair it with Bright aluminium. EPDM is also completely latex free.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Bracelet

Stainless Steel Bracelet

Everyone knows what Stainless steel is, right? It’s an iron/chromium/nickel alloy that’s really hard, quite heavy and hardly ever rusts. Although Stainless steel contains nickel, it’s bonded in such a way that most allergy sufferers would never know it’s there. This makes it incredibly versatile and wearable as jewellery and accessories.

Copper

Copper is a very soft, heavy metal. It patinasΒ over time, which you can either clean off or leave for an aged look. Some people have allergies to copper, and it’s mildly toxic if you get it in your body. (So no licking your jewellery. πŸ˜‰ )

Bronze and Brass

Jewellers Brass Necklace

Jewellers Brass Necklace

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, or sometimes copper and another metal such as aluminium. It’s strong, heavy and ages beautifully. Brass, on the other hand, is an alloy of copper and zinc. It is softer than Bronze, but just as heavy. It will age in a similar fashion to Bronze and Copper and can be cleaned in the same way.

So how do I clean these things?

The aluminiums, rubber and steel can be cleaned really easily with hot water and soap. Use a mild dish soap and make sure you twist the rings about a bit so you get into every nook and cranny. Rinse well afterwards so you don’t end up with a skin reaction to the soap.

Copper, Bronze and Brass can all be cleaned with either a lightly acidic solution or a commercial cleaner. If you want to do it the homemade way, you can use a bit of ketchup or lemon juice. If you use a commercial cleaner, make sure you follow all the steps so no chemicals are left on the piece. Copper and copper alloys can also be left to patina (age), which will give it a finish that’s unique to your body chemistry.

So there you have it. A little bit about what I work with, and how to take care of it. I hope this has been informative and helpful, and if you have any questions just comment and I’ll try my best to answer. πŸ™‚

“So how long does it take you…”

One question I get a lot as a chainmailler is “So how long does it take you to make a bracelet?” When I tell people, they tend to go wide-eyed. Some people are under the impression that I buy the maille in sheets and only roll it up and hook it together. Nooo. This is all made from individual rings. I would say I slave over my workbench, but truth is I love doing it and it never actually feels like work. Having said that, though, I’ve spent practically the entire day on one bracelet which is still not finished, so my brain went a little weird…

Elfsheet

This is how far I got Tuesday.

So naturally I’ve been posting my progress on Instagram. (Follow me! πŸ˜€ ) And answering questions. Like “How long did it take you…?”

Well.

This one has so far taken me two albums by Poets of the Fall, one by Saint[the]Sinner, two Sugarcult ones, a Trust Company one and I’m on the second by Vampire Weekend. And there was a mixed playlist in there somewhere as well. And counting. So we’ll see!!!

(I took half an album’s break after typing that. So I guess the second Vampire Weekend one doesn’t fully count.)

I was going to schedule this post for tomorrow (Thursday), but my brain is so tired I can’t figure out verb tenses and day sequences, so you’re getting it Wednesday evening instead. Yay!

Have some more pictures of the process while I’m at it. As of posting, the last picture is up to date. πŸ™‚

A little chainmaille game!

As some of you know, I’m fairly active in one of the biggest chainmaille groups on Facebook. A few days ago, I decided to make a little game for us obsessive maillers to play – all in good fun and to laugh at ourselves and our weird habits.

The game is simply a list of common things for a chainmailler to experience, with various points values attached. I haven’t balanced it out to hit a round number, and the number of list items is 37 in the end, but for those of you who have some knowledge of maille, or even jewellery making in general, this will probably sound very, very (very!) familiar.

So without further ado – on to the points gathering!

Got Maille?

1. Dreams about maille – 5pts
2. Sleep walked to your work station – 10pts
3. Slammed pliers down in anger – 5pts
4. Thrown pliers or half finished projects – 10pts
5. Made rings fly – 1pt
6. Made half finished projects fly (without throwing them!) – 10pts
7. Knows five weaves without looking at the tutorial – 5pts
8. Knows 20 weaves without a tut – 20pts
9. Knows weaves whose name you can’t even remember! – 25pts
10. Has five unfinished projects on the go – 5pts
11. Has 20 unfinished projects on the go – 10 pts
12. Has 5+ bags/boxes/bowls of unfinished projects – 50pts
13. Found rings on the floor – 5pts
14. Found rings on the pet – 15pts
15. Found rings in the shower / toaster / cup of Coffee / other insane place – 20pts
16. Has a mailling specific music or video playlist – 5pts
17. Played a spot-the-chainmaille drinking game – 10pts
18. Made armour – 10pts
19. …For a soft toy – 20pts
20. …For a pet – 25pts
21. Made your own picture/banner out of maille – 20pts
22. Has war wounds / scars / permanent injuries from mailling – 10pts
23. Makes own rings – 15pts
24. Has a pliers collection bigger than the cutlery drawer – 25pts
25. Has a bigger supply of rings than food at any given time – 15pts
26. Can use more than two pairs of pliers at the same time (juggling included) – 50pts
27. Poked self in the face/nose/eyes with pliers – -5pts
28. Makes Freudian slips with maille jargon – 15pts
29. Named pet after chainmaille (weave, jargon, etc) – 25pts
30. Named kid after chainmaille – 100pts
31. Considers two hours of sleep to be perfectly acceptable in exchange for 12 hours’ mailling time – 1pt
32. Can identify wire gauge on sight – 15pts
33. Has worn out more than five pairs of pliers – 20pts
34. …In one year – 50pts
35. Drinks more cold Coffee/tea/”hot” drinks than fresh ones due to maille – 10pts
36. Can make at least one weave blindfolded – 25pts
37. Can make five or more weaves blindfolded – 50pts

So what’s your score? Tell me in the comments. πŸ™‚

Geekery + Chainmaille = Yay!

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to most of you that I’m the geeky sort. I own an Xbox 360, I watch sci-fi shows, and board games are one of my favourite things to do in the evening. I suppose you could call my chainmaille another geeky pursuit, but that one depends on your point of view.

So far I’ve been using maille to make jewellery almost exclusively. There are some keyrings as well, so I include “accessories” in my descriptions of my business, but in general it’s been wearable art. Now, for the first time, I’ve tried something a bit different.

I’ve started to make chainmaille pouches.

It's green!

It’s green!

“A chainmaille pouch,” I can hear you say, “What’s that good for?” Well, what would you use a pouch in general for? One of the primary uses, out there, is as a dice bag. (Are you starting to see why I introduced this with some geekery?) Lots of tabletop gamers carry a collection of dice around. If you’re a role playing gamer, you might need a few different kinds of dice. If you’re a tabletop wargamer, you might just need a whole bunch of D6s. And if you’re not a tabletop gamer, you might have no idea what I’m talking about!

This one took a very long time to make.

This one took a very long time to make.

Not to worry. Pouches can be used for so much else. You could use it as an unusual coin purse. You could use it as a make-up bag. You could carry around semi-precious tumble stones. Or anything else that takes your fancy.

Making these pouches has been a nice break for me. I’m not bored with jewellery by any stretch, but it’s always interesting to expand my skills!

 

You wouldn't believe how tiny this thing is!

You wouldn’t believe how tiny this thing is!

Now I just need to get this obsession with making them out of my system, and then maybe there will be more new ideas. πŸ™‚

For the moment I only make these as custom orders, although I’m sure some will appear in my shop eventually. If you want one before then, just email me at victoriasol@destai.com and I can make one to your specifications!

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. πŸ™‚

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