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Colored jump ring bracelet

This beginner chain mail project adds flashes of color with niobium jump rings

Chain mail artisans often add interest to their work by combining different metals, such as copper and silver, or they use a patina to create shading and depth. In the featured 7-in. (17.8cm) bracelet, anodized niobium adds even more color. I alternated deep-purple jump rings with indigo jump rings in a repeating pattern, but feel free to experiment with more than two colors. Or, instead of a set color pattern, create a variegated effect by combining the jump rings in a random color scheme.

As one can easily presume from another common name for this pattern, “idiot’s delight,” the box chain is an accessible pattern to master. Although it’s slinky and appealing on its own, the box chain is also the foundation for other chain mail designs. For example, a simple variation on this chain creates the well-known Byzantine chain.

Read the project instructions below, or click here for the free project PDF, which includes additional information on niobium, how to avoid scratching the surface of the jump rings, and getting a matching clasp. 

Materials

  • Niobium jump rings:
    - 18-gauge (1.0mm), 5mm inside diameter, approximately 150
    - 20-gauge (0.8mm), 5mm outside diameter, 6
  • Titanium clasp

Tools & supplies

  • Pliers: bentnose, chainnose
  • Paper clip
  • Awl or needle tool

Instructions

Colored jump ring bracelet 1
Photo 1

Open jump rings. Hold bentnose pliers in your nondominant hand and chainnose pliers in your dominant hand. Grasp a jump ring firmly with both pliers, holding as much of the ring as possible in the pliers [1]; if you grip the jump ring at only one point, you’re more likely to twist it out of alignment. Keeping the bentnose pliers stationary, rotate the chainnose pliers away from you to open the jump ring. Repeat to open a quantity of jump rings that will provide you with a ready supply for weaving the chain.

Set two unopened jump rings aside to use as starter rings.

Close the starter rings. Purchased jump rings are slightly open, so you will need to close the starter rings. Grasp one starter ring with both pliers in the same manner as in the previous step. Rotate your dominant hand inward, closing the jump ring. Repeat with the second starter ring.

Moving one half of the jump ring back and forth past the closure point work-hardens the metal and strengthens the finished piece. However, the more you work the metal, the greater the possibility of scratching it, so work the jump ring no more than necessary.

Colored jump ring bracelet 2
Photo 2
Colored jump ring bracelet 3
Photo 3

Make a 2+2+2 chain. Thread a paper clip through both starter rings to ensure that you work in only one direction. Thread an opened jump ring through both starter rings, and close it. Repeat with another jump ring. Thread a new jump ring through the second two jump rings, and close it. Repeat with another jump ring [2].

Add the first weave. Push the third pair of jump rings apart to expose the second pair [3].

Colored jump ring bracelet 4
Photo 4
Push the second pair apart, and use an awl or needle tool to expose the third pair [4].
Colored jump ring bracelet 5
Photo 5
Colored jump ring bracelet 6
Photo 6
Thread a new jump ring through the third pair [5], and close it. Repeat with a second jump ring [6].
Colored jump ring bracelet 7
Photo 7
Colored jump ring bracelet 8
Photo 8

Add extender rings. Thread a new jump ring through the fourth pair of jump rings, and close it. Repeat with a second jump ring [7].

Add the second weave. Push the fifth pair of jump rings apart to expose the fourth pair. Thread a new jump ring through the fourth pair, and close it. Repeat with a second jump ring [8].

Continue adding extender rings and weaving until your chain is the desired length.

Colored jump ring bracelet 9
Photo 9
Attach the clasp. Remove the paper clip from the chain. Working with 20-gauge (0.8mm) jump rings, attach two jump rings to the starter rings. To the two new jump rings, add one jump ring and the clasp. Repeat on the other end of the chain, omitting the clasp [9]. You can use a colored clasp from a jewelry supplier, or buy or make your own sterling silver clasp, integrating sterling silver jump rings into your chain pattern to match.
FIND MORE: chain mail , wire , jump rings , bracelets

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