jump rings

Christmas Ornament Covers 2 – Jump Rings Galore!

Yep, I've been busy like a bee getting my second Christmas ornament cover ebook tutorial ready for the holiday season.  It's another in my chain maille series, and it's creating an intricate ornament cover with jump rings, jump rings and more jump rings.

Ornament Cover Warning -- It's Substantial!

This is a heavy, substantial ornament cover!  It's not an ornament cover you can create in an afternoon (unless, bless you, you are much faster than I at connecting all those tiny rings.)  While you can likely finish this in a day, it's intricate and uses a lot of jump rings -- fair warning!

On the other hand...my bad photography skills notwithstanding, this is a gorgeous ornament cover!  And it's one that will last you for years upon years, as it is constructed solidly.

Because it is a heavy ornament, I suggest using a plastic ornament (yes, plastic).  The ornament is mostly covered, and if you mis-judged the strength of the branch you placed this ornament on, you won't be cleaning up any broken glass.  However, you can indeed put this on a glass ornament -- I give instructions on how to accommodate an ornament with a larger diameter.

This tutorial shows an ornament made with a Japanese style of chaining. If you're not familiar with this technique, it's joining jump rings in horizontal and vertical patterns. The main pattern is the Japanese 12 in 2, with some connections using fewer rings.

If you've got as couple pair of flat nose pliers and a round nose plier, that's all the tools you'll need. Well, aside from the jumps rings and ornament!

What You Will Learn

Here's what you will learn in this tutorial for making these Japanese-style jump ring Christmas ornament covers.

  • The pattern and instructions for linking the rings to form the ornament cover.
  • Tips if you're using a larger ornament, to make sure it fits properly (very important)!
  • How to make beaded dangles and simple loops.

It's really a lot of fun, and it's something that you will treasure for years and years to come.

The ebook tutorial contains 19 pages of instructions, with 38 full-color photos with close-ups.

How to Get the Tutorial

It's very simple. All you need to do is click the "Add to Cart" button below. (How's that for easy?) 🙂

Add to Cart View Cart

At that point (through the magic of the internet), you'll be whisked to your checkout of $4 for this ebook tutorial.

Then you'll get download instructions for the tutorial. Keep in mind that this isn't a paper copy that gets delivered by snail-mail, but a PDF file that you get your hands on(so to speak) instantly.

Go ahead and order, then get ready to make your own chain maille Christmas ornaments. They will be sure t bring ooooooohs and ahhhhhhhs from everyone who sees them!


Chain Maille How-To (Or, “You’ve Got Maille”)

I'm doing a chain maille series, with chain maille how-to tutorials.  If you like wire jewelry, are into steampunk or renaissance looks, then this ancient form of weaving with metal may just "suit" you (pardon the pun).  [The pun being that chain maille (also known as chain mail or chainmaille) was originally created to be used as armor.]

A Little About Maille

I did mention that this technique was weaving with metal.  More specifically, it is weaving with metal rings.  Today we who make jewelry know these as the unassuming jump rings.  And depending on how you look at it, they've either come a long way or have come full-circle (I guess I can't get away from the puns today!).

So maille has been around for several centuries, and although it was replaced by suits of armor for protecting the warriors, it's found a resurgence in the last few decades.

For example -- divers who work with sharks and butchers who work with cutting objects both can wear a fine-mesh maille.  And then there are the folks who are into the Renaissance or Steampunk areas.  But, this wonderful material has made it into the mainstream jewelry market (and about time, too).

All that being said, let's start with the supplies you will need; rings first, then in a separate post I'll cover the remaining tools (pliers, etc.)

With This Ring, I Thee Weave

So let's get started by talking about the materials you need, and specifically about jump rings, as they are not all created equally.  First, let's discuss how the jump ring is made; more specifically, how it is cut.

Jump rings are made by coiling a piece of wire around a mandrel.  This coil is then removed from the mandrel and cut, forming individual jump rings.  So far, so good.  But the way that coil is cut yields different results.

There are three main ways a coil can get made into the jump rings:

  • Wire Cutter
  • Machine
  • Saw

If you use a wire cutter, the ends of the rings will have a noticeable "pinched" look.  This is because the wire cutter basically pinches the wire in the process of cutting.  This pinch makes it impossible to completely close a jump ring with an invisible closure.

A little better is a machine cut.  A little more uniform than the pinch, but not as nice and flush as the saw cut.  Machine-cut rings are great for practicing new weaves  before you try them in a more expensive material.

Saw cut are the cream of the jump rings.  They are cut so that the ends of the rings are flush on both sides, and a really good saw cut uses a fine-gauge saw, so as to create a small a gap as possible.  This gap created when sawing the ring is called a kerf.  The smaller the kerf, the more invisible a seam when closing the ring.

Here's a photo of wire cutter (left) and machine cut (right).  I didn't have any darker color wire when I was doing the wire-cutter-cut example (sorry 'bout that), so the brass makes it a little tough to tell the extent of the pinch.

As you might guess, saw-cut rings are more expensive than either of the other two, but  if you're planning to make some special jewelry with your rings, definitely go with the saw-cut.

I'll stop here for the moment.  There are some other things you need to know about jump rings, but I've made that a separate post because it's a little more technical -- all about the dreaded term "aspect ratio".  So here you go-- more about rings and maille.

See you over there!