The Problem with Chainmail

When I was a teenager, I found a collection of short fantasy stories called, “Chicks in Chainmail.”  There was also a sequel, “Chicks ‘n Chained Males.”  I never read the book, but teenage me thought it was hilarious, and for years a variation of that became my internet handle (the Chainmail one, not the Chained Males one.  That’d be weird).  You know, on like AOL Messenger and such.

Still gives me a rush.
I just realized how afraid I am to google that book, or my old internet handle.

Anyhoo.  I bring this up because I’ve been thinking about chainmail a lot.  After Salt Lake Comic Con, Jubilee decided that she is DEFINITELY entering the cosplay contest again, and she wants to win.

I told her, if she’s really serious about this, she needs to play to my strengths.  I am not a seamstress, or whatever the gender-neutral form is in use nowadays for a person who sews (I’m going to assume it’s not “sewer”).   I have an art degree, dang it, I want to paint!  I want to sculpt!  I want an excuse to learn how to use power tools on foam mats!  Or, as I told Jubilee, “I want to make some armor.”

I gave her some examples of kick-posterior ladies.  Wonder Woman.  Samus.  Sheik.  But she was unconvinced until I showed her the ultimate kick-posterior lady.


So, I officially have a little Éowyn cosplayer, now to make Éowyn cosplay!  Not gonna lie, guys, I’m excited.

I realized the first thing I’d need to tackle was the stupid chainmail.  Gah.  A bit of research indicated there were three common ways to make chainmail for cosplay.

1) Chainmail fabric, sewed in a hauberk.

2) “Real” chainmail, made of heavy gauge wire.

2) Knitted chainmail, dabbed with silver paint, like they did in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.


We’ve already established that I’m not a sewer, in more ways than one.  On to Number 2!

I realized the 12-14 gauge wire recommended would leave me with a hauberk weighing 20-30lbs in Jubilee’s size.  So, I experimented with slightly lower gauge wire.  First, I wrapped the wire, and then cut it off with wire cutters.  It totally worked great making little loops!

Unfortunately, that’s where all the easy experimenting ended.  The loops were too thin to hold together when I connected them.  Fail.  I guess I really do need a higher gauge wire, effectively making the mail too heavy to be practical.

Option 3, knitting!  I had no idea how to knit, and frankly, it looks a little cheesy, but, hey, experiment!


Okay, no.  After an afternoon of YouTube videos and such, I finally got a decent chunk of knitting to experiment with.


First: Bronze spray paint:


That definitely didn’t work.  Okay, let’s try sponging it on:


Well, it’s a little better, I suppose, but doesn’t really look like chain mail.  On a whim, I tried a different color:


It’s definitely better in silver, but still not great.  I dunno.  Maybe it just needs more paint?  Does anyone else have any great ideas?  While you’re brainstorming, I’ve nearly gotten the back of the hauberk knitted.  It’s definitely not a waste of time…right?


4 thoughts on “The Problem with Chainmail

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