Made a few chainmaille star ornaments this evening. This design dates back to 2002 and was created by Dreamseeker and posted to the The Ring Lord’s Forums. The design has very specific requirements and doesn’t take well to changing wire metals, or winding the wire loosely which will result in changing the diameter of the rings. The anodized colored aluminum rings were purchased from The Ring Lord. The bright aluminum rings were cut by hand from the wound spring with a jewelers saw.
Photos and text by Adam J. Bavier
These instructions assume you know a bit about chainmaille, and have smooth pliers (don’t want to scratch these rings), and the ability to make the rings, or buy them. You can file the grooves down on some sacrificial pliers. Back in 2004, I bought the annodized rings from The Ringlord, I can only assume they are still a good store. The gauges below are in Standard Wire Gauge (SWG). The inner diameters are in inches and is the size mandrel the wire was wrapped on.
Putting these together is somewhat of a learned practice. Depending on the springback of your rings, the order you put the last 3/16th rings on, how the rings lay, all determines how much play you have in the rings and how easy it will go together.
Using the right star in the top picture as reference:
5, 16g, 7/16ths bright aluminum rings.
15, 16g, 5/16ths red anodized aluminum rings.
20, 18g, 1/4th green anodized aluminum rings.
20, 18g, 3/16th bright aluminum rings.
and 1, 18g, 1/4th green ring for the hook to connect to if you want it.
In the below instructions:
5, 16g, 7/16ths stainless steel rings.
15, 16g, 5/16ths stainless steel rings.
20, 18g, 1/4th brass rings.
20, 18g, 3/16th brass rings.
and 1, 18g, 1/4th brass ring for the hook to connect to if you want it.
Please forgive the below pictures that I took in 2003. They weren’t meant for the world to see, and will be updated sometime fall of 2012. Look at the photos in the later steps to get a better idea of how the rings lay in steps 1-5.
1. Take one 7/16 16g and two 5/16ths 16g and put them on one 1/4 18g ring (gold).
2. Add another 1/4 18g gold ring.
3. Fold the 1/4 18 rings back, so that one 5/16 16g ring is below and one above the 7/16ths ring. See the non blurry photo in step 6.
4. Lay another 7/16 16g ring between the 5/16 16g rings.
5. Close another two 1/4 18g rings as seen below.
6. Repeat with another unit.
7. Repeat again. This is just showing how you set it up the same as step 1.
8. Repeat again until you have used all 7/16 rings, with four connection areas holding them together.
9. Finally you add the last connection segment that will loop the string back onto itself.
10. Lastly you add the 3/16, 18g rings. There are four per section. This is the tricky step. The note above about rings sizes, and spring back is regarding this step. I start by adding two on the top, then two on the same section in the back. The star will get tight and not flexible in the end. Placing the last four rings on the last star corner will be the most difficult. Try to set yourself up right by having the 7/16th rings nest on top of each other as seen in the last picture.
11. Add the last 1/4 18g ring on the very top for a pretty hook or ribbon to connect to.
I have played around briefly with changing the rings sizes and gauges, but did not get very far. This is an interlocking sculpture, and if any one part changes everything else has to change. I’m sure it can be made smaller, just a matter of patience and the right size mandrels, gauges, and enough time to try the combinations.