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.
- 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.