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Lightweight chain mail pattern

Link four different wire gauges in a beginner chain mail design

I developed this chain in 2002 when I was seeking to create new, lightweight designs to appeal to buyers who might be put off by the weight of many chain mail patterns. Through trial and error, I struck on a design that balanced the simplicity of single, heavier rings with a more complex overlapping pattern of finer rings. This design uses four gauges of wire, all balanced and in harmony. Unlike many chain mail designs, this finished chain has a definite front side and back side, because the interlocking infinity pattern is added only on one side of the chain. 

Read the project instructions below, or click here for the free project PDF.

Materials

  • Sterling silver jump rings:
    - 12, 14-gauge (1.6 mm), round, 5.5 mm inside diameter (ID)
    - 11, 16-gauge (1.3 mm), round, 4.5 mm ID
    - 64, 18-gauge (1.0 mm), round, 3.5 mm ID
    - 22, 20-gauge (0.8 mm), round, 3.0 mm ID
  • S-clasp: hand forged or premade

Tools & supplies

  • 2 pairs of pliers: chainnose or flatnose
  • Files: flat, round

Suppliers

Instructions
Lightweight chain mail pattern 1
Photo 1
Lightweight chain mail pattern 2
Photo 2

Make the base chain. Close all the 5.5 mm and 4.5 mm jump rings, making sure that they’re closed flush and that they lie flat.

Use a flat file to remove any burs from the outside of the jump rings and a round file to remove any burs from the inside of the jump rings.

Assemble the base chain by using pairs of 3.5 mm jump rings to link all of the 4.5 mm and 5.5 mm jump rings in an alternating pattern [1].

Add the small infinity pattern. Thread a 3.0 mm jump ring through the pair of 3.5 mm rings on the left side of the first 4.5 mm ring [2].

Lightweight chain mail pattern 3
Photo 3
Lightweight chain mail pattern 4
Photo 4

Thread another 3.0 mm ring through the pair of 3.5 mm rings on the right side of the same 4.5 mm ring, and through the 3.0 mm ring you just added [3].

The two interlocking 3.0 mm rings create an overlapping “infinity” pattern. Repeat until you’ve added an interlocking infinity pattern over each of the 4.5 mm rings in the chain.

Add the large infinity pattern. Thread a 3.5 mm ring through the pair of 3.5 mm jump rings on the left side of the second 5.5 mm jump ring [4].

Lightweight chain mail pattern 5
Photo 5
Lightweight chain mail pattern 6
Photo 6

Add a second 3.5 mm ring through the pair of 3.5 mm rings on the right side of the same 5.5 mm ring, and through the 3.5 mm ring you just added [5].

Repeat until you’ve added an interlocking infinity pattern over all but the end two 5.5 mm jump rings [6].

Lightweight chain mail pattern 7
Photo 7

Add the clasp. Open the 5.5 mm ring at one end of the chain, thread an S-clasp on it, then close the ring [7]. The 5.5 mm ring at the other end of the chain will serve as the clasp’s catch-ring.

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