This step-by-step project is inspired by a technique called chainmaille (sometimes spelled chain maille, chain mail, or chainmail) – a really fun and relatively easy method to create both simple and very intricate pieces of jewelry from jump rings. I have been dabbling in it for a little while, and it is very addictive!
The charm bracelet we’re creating today is even easier though, and it’s not technically chainmaille, just inspired by it. It is a low-cost, super easy project with (I think) a very nice end result. You can either use sterling silver rings, or if you want to keep the cost even lower, use base metal or silver plated jump rings. For a more colorful version, try using a mix of gold and silver rings, or jump rings in different colors (black, red, copper, etc.)
My bracelet is 6.25″ long, and to create it, I used:
Two pliers (I use pointed flat nose ones)
74 open jump rings (5.5 mm)
1 lobster clasp
Tiny lobster clasp(s)
Jump ring(s) for the charm(s)
Start by opening all your jump rings (but keep one of them closed to start the bracelet with).You want to hold each ring with both pliers and then bend one side of the ring away from or towards you. Do not pull the ends apart – very important! You want them to connect again as close to seamless as you can get, and you it won’t happen if you pull. Always bend.
Once they’re all open, you’re ready to start. Hold your one closed ring with one plier and hook two of the open rings onto the closed one. Close them by bending the ends together (as described above). Then take two more open rings, attach them to these two rings and bend together. Keep doing this until you get to your desired bracelet length (remember to factor in the clasp as well). End with a single jump ring and hook your lobster clasp onto it before closing.
(Click on the photos to see them larger)
That’s it! How unbelievably easy was that?
Now you can add charms if you want, either several, or as I did, just one large. For several, layout your bracelet flat, position the charms where you want them, and just hook them on with jump rings.
For my bracelet, I took an old earring apart (old costume jewelry pieces make great charms!) and used this fleur-de-lis piece as my single large charm. You can hook that on with a jump ring too, but I’m always changing my jewelry around, so I attached it to a small lobster clasp first and just hooked that onto the bracelet. It makes it so easy to move it to another bracelet, necklace, or anything you want to add it to.
There you have it – a simple, but stylish silver charm bracelet.