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How to Make Chain Mail

To create your own medieval body armor, or just some funky jewelry that'll really stand out, check out these steps on how to make chain mail.

Instructions

  • Step 1: To add width, join 2 rows of chain mail. Lay the pieces one above the other on a flat surface, and slide a new, open link through the top set's 2 bottom left links and the other set's 2 top left links. Close the open link and repeat, moving to the right, until the 2 sections are connected.
  • Step 2: To make a row narrower, pass an open link through 3 closed links. Repeat until you have the look you want.
  • FACT: Under the Emperor Charlemagne, who ruled much of Europe in the 8th and 9th centuries, each nobleman was required to supply the army with at least one warrior clad in a waist-length, chain mail shirt.
  • Step 3: Connect 2 more closed links on another open link to make a set of 3. Loop the open link from the set of 3 onto the 2 right links from the set of 5. Continue adding sets of 3 links to make a row of chain mail.
  • Step 4: Slide 4 closed links onto 1 open link to create a set of 5, and close the open link with the pliers. Lay this set flat by moving 2 links to the left of the center link and 2 to the right.
  • TIP: Depending on the size of the links you buy, 2,500 to 3,000 links will cover about 1 square foot.
  • Step 5: Divide the links into 2 piles. Hold a link from 1 pile with pliers near the split. Use the other pliers to squeeze it closed. Repeat this process until you've closed all of the links in the same pile.
  • TIP: Twist the ends slightly with the pliers to ensure the link remains closed.
  • Step 6: Go to a hardware store, jewelry store, or online supplier and purchase metal links with small splits in them. Choose from aluminum, bronze, steel, and other metals. Links come in a variety of sizes and gauges; figure out what best fits your project.

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