Friday, November 14, 2014

Chainmail Christmas Ornament

Ok, so I saw the cutest little chainmail ornament on Pinterest.  So I just had to make one!  Unfortunately, when I tried to duplicate their picture, it didn't work.  My ornaments were evidently a different size than theirs.  So, since I had to come up with my own pattern anyway, I figured I'd throw a bunch of crystally dangley beads in there as well! 

 Here's what I used:
2 Flat nose (no groove) pliers - I like ones with light spring in them
82 Saw Cut Anodized Aluminum 16g 5/16" ID rings - silver (The Ring Lord,
129 Saw Cut Anodized Aluminum 18g 3/16" ID rings - silver (The Ring Lord,
258 Saw Cut Anodized Aluminum 18g 3/16" ID rings - blue (The Ring Lord,
8 Brilliance by Bead Treasures Turquoise AB Glass Teardrop Briolette Beads (Hobby Lobby, 415729)
8 Darice Jewelry Designer Jump Rings,  18gauge, 15g, 8mm
1 Ornament "Make It Christmas" 2.63 in iridescent glass (Hobby Lobby)

Don't laugh - but it took me about 11 hours to get this specific pattern down so that it hugs the specific ornaments I bought perfectly.  I purchased the ornaments in the store - it doesn't look like they have them available online.  I cut out one of the compartments of the plastic tray the ornaments came in to use as a base to hold the ornament while I work on it held to a piece of cardstock with a glue dot - and yes, I do work right on the bulb after I have my initial chains completed. 

I get my rings from The Ring Lord online.  I do pay the extra expediting fee, as I have had rings take a month to get to me before (I think they were moving at the time, though).  They are more expensive, but boy are they worth it!  The rings you will find at the craft stores are more like the Darice rings - very flimsy!  The Ring Lord rings hold their shape beautifully!  I often find myself holding up the ornament by one of their little rings and there is no problem at all.  I start by closing all the large silver rings, and opening all the smaller rings.  Here's the pattern.  The lines are three small rings connecting the closed silver rings.  Blue-silver-blue is what I'm using for the rest of my ornaments.  The colored circles are the closed big silver rings, colored by chain or layer.  

I make four chains:  8 closed (blue), 16 (peach), 24 (purple), and 24 (green).  I usually put a bright color in the last rings (yellow), since it gets a little crazy there at the bottom sometimes.   
When you get down to the last few layers (red and yellow on the pattern), just put one connector ring to start.  This will give you a little more room when trying to connect those last few.  Have patience!  I didn't on the pink one and just ended up adding another big silver ring and fudging it.  Oh well, if they don't like that it isn't perfectly symmetrical, they can give the stupid ornament back. Here's the pink one.  I like the blue better, but that's just me.

Save the beads for last.  The picture at the very top has the gems put on using different rings, but I broke more beads than I used.  So, I changed to the Darice rings.  They are very, very flimsy, but that's what I needed to put through the briolettes.  Be forewarned - some of them will break!  Make sure you wear eye protection because glass will go flying.  While trying to get 8, I seem to break 3. They are expensive, but luckily Hobby Lobby has coupons (and really good sales, too)!  The picture at the very top has the gems put on using different rings, but I broke more beads than I used.  So, I changed to If you don't want to use gems, another big silver ring can go in the middle of the big empty spots, with all its little connectors around it.
I honestly have no idea how long it takes to make one of these, since I open/close several bags of rings at a time, and I my cats like to help with the whole process.  I have eight.  Norm especially likes to help, since he's figured out that if he's quick, and Norm is always quick, he can grab hold of one of those rings with a claw and take off running towards the basement with his new prize possession.  How fun!
Anyway...... have fun, and enjoy!

Sunday, July 8, 2012


I don't see you guys raging the kind of mayhem I'm contemplating.

So every now and then that phrase passes thru my head.  Which is funny because (A) it's from the song "One Night in Bangkok" ; (B) it's really not from the song, the actual lyrics are "I don't see you guys rating the kind of mate I'm contemplating"; and (C) I'm turning into my mother.