Because chainmaille is made with metal you might be tempted to think that it can’t be colorful too. That would be an erroneous assumption. There are a lot of ways that you can add color to chainmaille. You can mix different types of metals (Stainless Steel, Brass, Bronze, Copper, Silver, Gold) together in one piece, which looks sophisticated and elegant. You can use anodized (Aluminum, Niobium, Titanium) or enameled (Copper) metals, which come in a stunning array of colors, or you can add beads (for more on using beads in chainmaille please see this post). Which technique you use is going to depend on the weave that you are doing, the availability of the materials you want to work with, and your own personal aesthetic.
Now, some of you might be saying “But, I’m just not good at putting colors together.” Relax, there’s a book for that. If you visit Amazon (or visit your local library) and search for color theory you will find no end of resources available to help you put colors together in a visually pleasing way. You can also look at the latest fashion or home decorating trends for inspiration. Don’t let fear hold you back; color is a fun and exciting way to spice up your chainmaille creations.
This week I’ve made projects that incorporate color. Two of these projects uses two different base metals and the other two use anodized aluminum to add color. Check them out below!
The first bracelet that I did was a Jens Pind Linkage (or JPL) in Stainless Steel and Bronze. This is a tricky weave. It took me some time and a lot of frustration to figure it out. All in all I went through 4 different tutorials before I found the one that makes the most sense to me. Kat Wisniewski of Elemental Art Jewelry on Etsy has put together a fabulous, easy to understand tutorial of JPL that had me weaving it right away. Now, I did use Stainless Steel in this bracelet, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it unless you have really good grip strength and have worked with Stainless before. This weave uses 16g 3/16” rings which are very thick, and relatively small. It made manipulating these rings very difficult and probably added to my frustration (when I was weaving and de-weaving again and again until I found Kat’s tutorial). The Bronze, on the other hand, was easier to manipulate, but the aspect ratio (AR) is slightly larger, which means that I had to pay more attention to the rings to make sure that they stayed in place. For this bracelet I decided to do a mix of metals, coming together in the middle. I like how they come together and blend.
I also worked on a Full Persian in Square rings from C&TDesigns that uses Bronze and Stainless Steel. This weave is really fun and creates a “bushy” bracelet, which inspired its other name: Foxtail. I used Bronze and Stainless 18K rings to create this, and I love wearing it!
Next up I took a stab at Cylon, a Half Persian variation by Rebecca Mojica. For this weave, you really should be familiar with Half Persian 3-in-1 and Open Round, which I am. But, somehow, I still managed to put together the first half incorrectly. No big deal though, I just undid it all and redid it! Of course I wish I had put it together correctly the first time, but I’m so happy with the way it came out that I’m not going to complain. For this one I worked in Stainless Steel for the Cylon weave and then I used Blue, Teal and Purple Anodized Aluminum for the connectors. This bracelet feels like a river to me. I think I wasted a lot of time this week just staring at it when it was finished. This is definitely a weave I would like to try again in different colors.
And, finally, I worked on the Sleek Cuff pattern, also by Rebecca. This one is shown all in silver, but you know how I like color, so, while I worked the main part of the cuff in Stainless, I decided to use Anodized Aluminum in blue on the edges. I think it works well – it looks very ribbonish this way. This is a very dense weave, combining European 8-in-1 with European 6-in-1 which has a delicious weight in Stainless. This really isn’t a difficult bracelet to make, but you have to pay attention to where you are linking your rings or you could end up with a mess!
Stay tuned for updates from my Etsy shop! I have two new, very colorful, very fun bracelets to show off!