Scalemaille Arm Bands

It’s been a while since I posted about scalemaille, with halloween fast approaching its a good piece to add in. In this post I will be discussing creating an arm cuff. Although it takes a little time, it is pretty straight forward.

For this project you will need:

  • 200 large scales, you may use more or less. In this version i used just under 100 per arm
  • 400 rings (16g 5/16)
  • two sets of pliers
  • fabric
  • velcro
  • stabilizer

If you are new to chainmaille or scalemaille I buy my rings and scales at The Ring Lord. They have decent prices and fast shipping.

A close up of how the scales are attached

To start we need to look at basic scalemaille. Each scale is attached by four rings. Each ring is attached to a scale diagonal to the first ring. This image of the backside should set up a clear visual. Rings are attached by opening with two sets of pliers and then closing around the scale. Have a look at the backside image post, I recommend trying to piece together a few before you begin, just to get the hang of how it connects. After a few rows the repetitiveness starts to kick in, it’s like knitting but with metal.

The project is started with one ring, then widens from there. Each row increases by one on each side until it fits just almost around your arm. For mine, I increased on the first 7 rows. From there, I continued making straight edges, until I had a length I wanted. I used about 100 scales per arm, this can be more or less depending on your preference for length or width.

For my version the next step was to make a fabric cuff. Cut a rectangle that will cover from the wrist to the where the scale maille ends. Cut a second rectangle of the same size. If the fabric you have is stretchy use a piece of fusible interfacing in between the two layers, then sew the two rectangle pieces together with the good sides in facing each other. Sew all four sides leaving a little space to turn the cuff inside out.

After turning the cuff right side out, sew up the opening. Add a piece of velcro on one side and the other on the opposite end of the other side. Try it on, the cuff should be complete and fit well and snuggly to your arm. As a variation you can choose not to use velcro and use buttons, clasps, or even cord to lace it up. I personally chose velcro because i wanted it to be as simple as possible to take on and off. It may not look as fancy but it worked well for what I needed.

After the cuff is complete stitch the out side perimeter scales to the cuff. I felt this was the most time consuming part, so try and be patient. This is to hold them in place on the cuff and to prevent the piece from falling when your arm is down. It’s important to keep the feel and movement of the scalemaille so I don’t recommend stitching beyond the outside perimeter scales.

Lastly, I attached the first scale to my middle finger with an elastic cords. In the future I will be swapping that out with a jewelry chain. The length of this will dictate where the piece starts on your hand.

i’ve worn these to a festival and got a lot of compliments on the arm bands. They are gorgeous and intricate. For costume inspiration, if you are a superhero or anything that just needs a little bit extra this a beautiful piece as well. Scalemaille and chainmaille are a really cool medium and there’s a lot that can be done with it. We haven’t even the surface with all that can be created.


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