Chainmaille Star Ornaments

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.

Chainmaille Christmas Stars,  all rights reserved
Click the picture for a larger version..

Update 7/23/12:

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.

Step 11

1.  Take one 7/16 16g and two 5/16ths 16g and put them on one 1/4 18g ring (gold).
Step 1

2.  Add another 1/4 18g gold ring.
Step 2

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.
Step 3

4.  Lay another 7/16 16g ring between the 5/16 16g rings.
Step 4

5.  Close another two 1/4 18g rings as seen below.
Step 5

6.  Repeat with another unit.
Step 6

7.  Repeat again.  This is just showing how you set it up the same as step 1.
Step 7

8.  Repeat again until you have used all 7/16 rings, with four connection areas holding them together.
Step 8

9.  Finally you add the last connection segment that will loop the string back onto itself.
Step 9

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.
Step 10

11.  Add the last 1/4 18g ring on the very top for a pretty hook or ribbon to connect to.
Step 11

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.

Starting Point

I’m constantly thinking about new projects and slowly working on the ones I’ve started.  I would like to share the issues I work through and the new things I learn while working on these projects.  You’ll be able to learn from my posts, and we can get into a discussion that will help all of us further our understanding of the topics.  We all know that the internet is a great resource, and I’d like to contribute to it in my little way.

Possible new posts coming up:

  • Demosaicing raw images
  • Fuji s7000 camera raw image file format with a Java image reader
  • Image Processing: Filters, Histograms, Masks, Brushes
  • JUnit testing
  • Java image and file browser with support for dynamic thumbnail sizes
  • Java image viewer with zooming
  • Fonts and custom text in Java
  • My decision process for choosing a file format for my image and document reader
  • Biking in Minnesota
  • My art from grade school. Why did they not tell me to press harder on the crayons and color pencils?
  • Book reviews. 
  • Yes, and there will be more — when I get my thoughts and notes in order!

I’m sure I will find much more than the above to write about, and since posts will be detailed there will be multiple posts about each topic.  I hope the things I write about will help some of you.  I’ll be growing in my understanding of these topics as time passes, just like you did or are.  Please point out my trouble-spots, and how I can fix them, and what I should read to get better understanding of the topic.  Let’s help each other learn here.

Let me know if any of the above topics strike your fancy.  If you put a legit email in for your comment I’ll try and let you know personally when I post about the topic.

Out for now,  have a great end of the week!

-Adam J. Bavier