Chain mail has been around for a long, long time. In fact, the practice of linking together metal rings in a specific pattern to form a flexible mesh is thought to have originated around 500 B.C.
Today, there are hundreds upon hundreds of different weave patterns to choose from.
You have your choice of either using preformed rings or making your own from wire, but you also need to decide what material you’d like your rings to be.
It’s easy to understand why those new to the chain mail hobby often feel lost when trying to figure out exactly what they need to get started.
That’s where the beauty of chain mail kits lies as they typically contain everything you need to embark on your initial projects and come with detailed instructions and illustrated guides.
What are the best kits for chain mail? The best chain mail kit for learning basic weaves is Chainmail Joe’s Complete Chainmail Kit as it includes everything you need: 23,000 jump rings, assorted clasps, two pliers, and an instructional book. Weave Got Maille offers great kits for chain mail jewelry in various skill levels.
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As is true of most hobbies, when you’re learning chain mail, you want to start with the basics to develop a strong foundation of skills and then gradually increase your skill set as you gain confidence.
Chain mail kits are perfect for beginners, but it can be hard to decide between the various options available.
- Best Starter Kit for Learning Weaves
- Best Chain Mail Kits for Jewelry
- Related Questions:
Best Starter Kit for Learning Weaves
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If you are completely new to chain mail and can’t wait to fully immerse yourself in all of the different applications, this is definitely the kit for you.
This kit includes 23,000 bright aluminum jump rings packaged according to the following sizes:
SWG (standard wire gauge)
Inside Diameter (in inches)
6 ounces – 3,600 rings
|8 ounces – 4,000 rings||18||3/16||4.0|
|16 ounces – 3,600 rings||16||1/4||4.0|
|3 ounces – 860 rings||16||3/16||3.0|
|8 ounces – 2,000 rings||16||7/32||3.5|
|16 ounces – 6,400 rings||18||1/4||5.3|
You’ll find that the bright aluminum rings are easy to work with and are indeed the ring material often recommended for beginners.
As your skills increase and you become familiar with the different weaves, you can move on to other metals, such as copper, jewelry brass, stainless steel, or bronze.
Also included in this kit are three packs of assorted clasps, two bent nose pliers for opening and closing the rings, and, best of all, Chainmail Joe’s book, the Complete Chainmail Tutorial Collection.
In this fully illustrated book, you’ll learn 20 of the most popular weaves in modern chain mail including the ever-popular:
- European 4-in-1.
- Helm chain.
- Box weave.
- Spiral 4-in-1.
- Barrel weave.
- Half Persian 4-in-1.
- Full Persian 6-in-1.
What’s great about this tutorial book is the fact that not only a high-definition, 3D graphic picture is given for each step, but the specific rings used in the step are highlighted in red and gold to give you the most accurate visualization as possible.
Another terrific feature of this kit is the assortment of clasps.
You won’t be just forming weaves for the sake of learning; you’ll be able to transform your practice weaves into wearable jewelry that you can show off to your friends or give away as gifts.
The included two sets of pliers are the only tools required (other than your time and patience), so as soon as you receive your kit, you’ll be ready to start learning and creating.
Best Chain Mail Kits for Jewelry
Making your own jewelry is a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with the various chain mail weaves and create beautiful adornments at a fraction of the cost you would pay at a retailer.
When it comes to chain mail jewelry, one name really stands out from the crowd – Weave Got Maille. You’ll see why as you take a look at what they have to offer to those new to chain mail.
I’ll highlight a few of their most popular kits for you and list several other similar kits that utilize various weave patterns.
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This Byzantine bracelet kit will enable you to produce a stunning Pacific blue and silver bracelet in the classic Byzantine weave pattern.
The Byzantine weave is one of the basic, more common patterns, so it’s perfect for beginners but fancy looking enough for those more proficient in the craft to enjoy as well.
The Pacific blue links are enameled copper rings and the silver rings are bright aluminum, both of which are recommended for beginners as being very easy to use.
If blue and silver aren’t your favorite combination, this kit also is available in gold and silver, peridot (a light green metal) and silver, and pink and silver.
If you don’t already have chain nose pliers or flat nose pliers, you will need to purchase two to complete this kit.
You can find a quality pair easily on Amazon. Just remember to pick up two for the proper opening and closing of jump rings.
One thing to note about these jewelry kits is that the rings are small – 18 SWG and 3.5 millimeter inside diameter.
Some users recommend using a magnifying glass to avoid eye strain. I’ve found a hands-free headband magnifier to be perfect for jobs like this.
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This autumn-inspired jewelry kit is also by Weave Got Mail, but instead of making just one bracelet, with this kit you’ll make an orange and black bracelet, earrings, and a necklace, all with the Japanese cross weave.
Aimed at beginners, this kit is ideal for those totally new to chain mail jewelry and is simple enough for children who are interested in the craft to easily master.
The step-by-step color tutorial included in the kit ensures good results.
You will need to furnish two chain nose pliers yourself, but everything else you’ll need, including anodized aluminum jump rings and a chain mail work mat, comes with the kit.
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If you have some prior experience with chain mail, have a book or favorite video to guide you, or better yet, have someone willing to show you a few basic weaves, then this assorted jump ring kit may be all you need, assuming you already own the necessary pliers.
The 3,900 rings are made of bright aluminum alloy so they are corrosion resistant, easy to use, and lightweight but strong.
The 18 different sizes come individually packaged inside a sturdy plastic storage container to keep everything nice and organized while you work.
The rings are saw cut, so burrs are practically nonexistent, and complete closure is easy to achieve.
With all of the different sizes, your creativity can really run wild or you can focus on practicing both simple and complex weaves that call for rings in multiple sizes.
Other Popular Chain Mail Jewelry Kits
Once you’ve mastered some of the easier weaves, you may wish to move on to something a bit more challenging.
Any of the following kits, also by Weave Got Maille, are bound to improve your skills and boost your confidence in your new hobby.
- Ruffles Cuff Bracelet
- Mermaid Tail Box Chain Bracelet
- Onyx Swirls Bracelet
- Full Persian Bracelet
- Japanese Bracelet
- Helm Silver Cuff Bracelet
- Rainbow Whirlybird Necklace
How Do I Open and Close Jump Rings Properly?
To open jump rings correctly, grasp one side of the ring with bent, flat, or chain nose pliers, positioning the ring so the opening is up.
Using another pair of pliers, grasp the other side of the ring directly opposite the first pair and slightly twist one hand toward you and the other hand away from you to create a gap in the ring.
Reverse this process to close the ring. You may need to gently wiggle the ends a bit until they form a flush seam.
What Colors Do Jump Rings Come In?
Jump rings are most commonly found in silver and gold, but several companies, such as Juvale and Kissitty, sell packs of assorted chain mail rings in various colors.
Different shades and tones of all the colors of the rainbow can be combined or used separately to make truly unique chain mail creations and jewelry items.