Tips and Tricks


Wondering where we’ve been lately? Our Etsy store hasn’t had inventory in a while. We’ve been selling a lot locally, while also debating, researching and speaking to fellow crafters about the best places to sell online. With Etsy’s policy changes, it’s no longer just hand made. While it is a global marketplace, it’s also quickly becoming a place where you can find cheaply made imported product. This is driving the cost of things on Etsy down, and we just can’t compete.

We make all our pieces by hand, just us three Dragonfly Girls. We love to meet our customers in person, and are always happy make adjustments and take custom orders. Competing with the masses just isn’t for us. We want to continue to do what we love, make beautiful, unique pieces of jewelry.

Clockwork Store

With the busy Christmas season approaching, we realize that you might not have time to come visit us at one of our shows, or might not live close. Never fear, we’ve got a couple of exciting things planned. We’re currently adding inventory to our new online store. To make it easier for you to wrap a new piece of jewelry around your wrist, or drape a new pendant around your neck, we’ll be posting some photos of our new pieces currently for sale. Just comment sold on any of these photos, and we’ll be in touch with payment info, and get it shipped out to you ASAP.

In late November, we’ll be hosting a virtual trunk show. You’ll get to see a lot of the pieces we bring to our shows, and some new ones that we haven’t brought out yet.

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Aspect Ratio

Aspect Ratio


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This is a pretty big topic for any chainmailler. If you only plan on dabbling in it, and buy kits that have all your rings and instructions in it, then it’s not something you really need to worry about. If you really want to dive into it and play around  and experiment with different weaves, techniques and designs, you’ll need to know this stuff.

First off, I’m Canadian, and like to work in metric. Mainly because the set of mandrels I have are all metric (in mm). All dimensions are ID (inside diameter). If you’re used to working in imperial, or buy your rings from a supplier who sells in inches. It’s always best to measure with a digital caliper if you’re unsure, different suppliers may use different tensions when wrapping their wire on a mandrel, so you might get slightly different ratios, which can be critical in some designs. I’ve also found when wrapping my own rings that copper tends to wrap more tightly around a mandrel than sterling silver does, resulting in a slightly tighter ring. Here’s a handy dandy reference chart:

 

Inner Diameter Metric to Imperial Conversion Chart

Ring size in
millimeters
Ring size in
fractional inches
Ring size in
decimal inches
2.5 mm 3/32 in 0.09375 in
3.0 mm 1/8 in 0.125 in
3.25 mm 1/8 in 0.125 in
3.5 mm 9/64 in 0.1406 in
4.0 mm 5/32 in 0.15625 in
4.75 mm 3/16 in 0.1875 in
5.5 mm 7/32 in 0.21875 in
6.0 mm 15/64 in 0.23438 in
8.75 mm 11/32 in 0.34375 in
9.5 mm 3/8 in 0.375 in
13.0 mm 1/2 in 0.5 in

 

If you have an odd size, or want to convert them yourself, here’s some more handy references. The formula is: AR = ID ÷ WD (aspect ratio = inside diameter divided by wire diameter). If you’re going to do the math, you’ve gotta be working in the same units. So, you’ll have to pick either metric or imperial. On top of that, there are two standards for wire gauges SWD (SWG = Standard or Sterling Wire Gauge, a British wire measurement system.) and AWG (American Wire Gauge, the North American one, and what American companies like Artistic Wire use).

 

AWG Conversion Chart

AWG Diameter (inches) Diameter (mm)
12 0.0808 2.05
13 0.072 1.83
14 0.0641 1.63
15 0.0571 1.45
16 0.0508 1.29
17 0.0453 1.15
18 0.0403 1.02
19 0.0359 0.91
20 0.032 0.81
21 0.0285 0.72
22 0.0254 0.65
23 0.0226 0.57
24 0.0201 0.51
25 0.0179 0.45
26 0.0159 0.40

 

Confused yet? Yes? Feel free to drop me a line, and I’d be happy to help. Or, you can always contact you’re supplier, they’re the ones who know their rings best.

Not confused, great! Here’s what you can do now that you’ve got all your fancy numbers figured out. Here’s a couple of great sites that list a bunch of different weaves, along with the best aspect ratio to use for them:

Chainmaille Basket
Blue Buddha

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Whether you’re just getting into chainmaille, or are an experience ‘mailler, aspect ratio is key in so many designs. Some patterns are a lot more picky than others (I think Jens Pind takes the cake on the picky side, while you can use just about anything for a classic Shaggy Loop). I got some interesting results when I messed up converting the aspect ratios for this pendant.

 

In fact, I liked the results so much that I made the same “mistake” in my lotus flower earrings.

The original pattern I found for the Celtic Visions pendant was in the Fall 2012 issue of Wirework Magazine. Here’s a chart of their original ring sizes and gauges, and what I converted. I did some rounding for the numbers to work with the set of mandrels I have (aka knitting needles).

Original Ring Sizes Converted Ring Sizes
16 guage 7.0mm 18 gauge 5.5mm
16 guage 5.5mm 18 gauge 4.5mm
16 guage 4.0mm 18 gauge 3.25mm
18 guage 3.5mm 20 gauge 2.75mm

 

For those mathematicians out there the formula for calculating aspect ratio is AR = ID ÷ WD (inside diameter divided by wire diameter). Want to learn more about aspect ratio? Check out my post here.

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