Saturday, April 25, 2009

Incorporating Chainmaille in Designs for Lanyards

The title of this post is something I really want to do. I have a number of mental images of how to make badge lanyards with chainmaille design elements included. I have already used Byzantine chain in this bracelet:

By the way, many of the pieces I make my daughter appreciates but wouldn't wear. I'm ok with that but now and then she does find a piece or two she likes - that bracelet is one of them and she now has it.

And two short pieces, using teensy tiny jump rings, just before the clasp in this necklace:

Although a completely chainmaille lanyard might be really beautiful, I'm afraid that it would take way too long and be too heavy.

Then I thought, or perhaps mumbled out loud to myself as I do from time to time, "What if I use a very light weight jump ring ring, like the beautiful anodized aluminum ones from Blue Buddha Boutique, it wouldn't be that heavy, I bet"

I do wonder if the price point might be prohibitive for something that long (30" is the average), though. Not that it stopped me from ordering a sample mix and trying it anyway...I'll come back with updates and pictures if I decide to try a lanyard. Oh, and Blue Buddha also has instructions (some are free) and kits on their site.

Another thing I've realized - a realization gathered from the book I talk about below - is that I need new tools. I still don't have any flat nosed pliers and there are a number of others I either need to replace or obtain. I believe my birthday wish list this year is going to be all jewelry tools.

Anyway, I had picked up a book to learn more chainmaille making techniques, and wanted to recommend it here for its great photography, lovely projects and easy to follow instructions by Scott David Plumlee. It's titled Handcrafting Chain and Bead Jewelry: Techniques for Creating Dimensional Necklaces and Bracelets.

I got it up at A.C. Moore crafts (sad they aren't in California, but they do have an online store - yay!) when I was in Fayetteville, NC last December. You may recall I was there to meet my son at his return from deployment to Iraq. While I was at the hotel waiting for his arrival or hanging around after that, because he was out with his girlfriend, I kept myself busy making necklaces. If you check my December '08 archives you can read all about it and see a happy picture of me and my son at the welcoming home ceremony.

Well, back to my mini-review of the book - the first pages of the book are detailed explanations of everything you could possibly need to know and have for getting started in making chainmaille. Again, the pictures are fabulous. An example of the kind of detail I'm talking about is the section on pages 10 and 11 "Utilizing Pi" (if you click the link below and use the "look inside feature on Amazon you can see what I mean).

Then the author spends a few pages really making it clear how to assemble various patterns. The illustrations there are colorful and large, something that helped me enormously. The next pages explain how to determine chain length and how to evaluate your work. The next 70 pages are illustrated project instructions. I can't recommend this book highly enough if you're looking to start working in chainmaille. By the way, if you want a copy of the book and buy through the link here, I get a couple pennies for my beading piggy bank, thanks!

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Blogger Lisa said...

Great article, I'm very impressed with your idea to use chainmaille in a lanyard. I have only dabbled, but like the effect. The one your daughter has is awesome, how long does something like that take?

April 27, 2009 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger Dawno said...

Thank you, Lisa - I'm really looking forward to making something and posting it.

I am not sure how long it took to make the bracelet, as I would work on it, put it aside, pick it up, etc, over several days. That said, as I got more comfortable with it, it went faster.

April 27, 2009 at 5:54 PM  
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