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Beginner Basics
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M.A.I.L. is an online community that, like many others, was formed for people of similar interests to discuss and share their interests. Our common interest, is the art of chainmaille.

This site also serves, more than any other place on the 'net (we like to think) as a central hub for our art form. We encourage everyone to document and submit any techniques, discoveries, or interesting pictures they have related to the art, so that this website can also serve as a library.

M.A.I.L. vs Maille: Which Is Which?

If you're confused on terms, don't be. "M.A.I.L." is just an acronym for our site's name, (Maille Artisans International League)."Maille" is the name of our art form. It's also commonly referred to as "chainmail", "chainmaille", and several other variants. They're all the same thing.
It can be a verb or a noun. I.E. "I set aside 4 hours to maille tomorrow", or "I made a pile of maille today."

Joining M.A.I.L.

If you wish to join our endeavor or add anything to our collective knowledge-bank, then you'll want to check out the Join page. If you just want to read, that's okay too. There is nothing on our site you need an account to read (including the forums). You only need an account to submit anything (article, picture, weave) or post a question or comment on our forums.

We always encourage people to sign up, it's always nice to hear a new member and help them along their way.

More About M.A.I.L.

For a more detailed background of who and what we are, check out the About Us page.

How Do I Get Started Making Maille?

Of course, one of the most common things that happens here is people showing up without knowing how to get started. No one is born knowing how to do anything, and chainmaille isn't something most people see often, let alone see being made. Don't worry, you can learn in 5 minutes and get started with practically no tools.

There are several tutorials that have been written to help people just like you. Here are a few hand-picked ones that teach you the construction basics, and some of the more advanced theory for when you start your first serious project. (We suggest just playing around for a while first, the details would probably just confuse you).

Good Primer Articles

Chainmail Construction (overview) - Submitted by Chainmailbasket_com. Start Here.
Know Your Maille Terms - Submitted by Blaise. This serves as a simple glossary for some of the terms used throughout this website that you'll run into.
Know Your Pliers - Submitted by Blaise. How to pick the right tools, for when you're ready to do something big.
Aspect Ratio (AR) - Submitted by Vacacita. This tells you about how to pick the right size of ring for your project.

Everyone is interested in different things when they start out, and head out in a different direction. We have tons of articles, weaves, and projects. Just browse around the site and read anything that catches your eye.

The Gallery is also a fun place to explore, containing many inspiring images.

The Weave library is chock full of different weaves. Want to make your chainmaille different than all the others? Use a different weave; try one in the library already, or create your own and share it with the community. Weaves in the library range from traditional to newly developed, established to experimental.
Good Beginner Weaves

More Questions?

There is a good chance that as you begin mailling, more questions will be raised than answered. More complicated questions about specific weaves, patterns, materials, techniques, or designs are answered usually in the form of Articles.

Remember that some categories are rather ambiguous, so you may find the answer you were looking for, just not in the category you were expecting. We recommend that you browse this section first before bringing it to the boards. This is both because posting on the board requires registration, and, due to our ever increasing membership, some questions are posted repeatedly and we would like to avoid that. If, however, you can't find your answer, you are welcome to join us on the...

Message Board

Join us on the Message Board forums. Folks are kindly and helpful there. Usually. If you have questions, we would be glad to point you to an answer or explain it on the boards. It would help to understand our forum categories before heading over there.


Knitting Circle - This forum is for general discussions and maille related things that don't fit elsewhere. Most maille questions will go here, and so will most maille talk in general, but explaining what does belong here is best done by showing what doesn't...
Articles Discussion - This is for feedback or questions about specific articles or the articles section in general, and occasionally can be used to request weaves tutorials. Most commonly, authors will create threads here to ask for feedback about their recently submitted articles. You can feel free to post feedback or questions to the authors here, even if they didn't post first. If the author doesn't respond, go ahead and send them a private message.
Gallery Discussion - Like the articles discussion, this forum is for feedback and comments on pieces submitted to the gallery. It isn't as active as some of the others, but occasionally things show up that start a firestorm.
Weaves Discussion - If you are having problems mastering a particular weave, you can ask for assistance here. Please mention whether or not you have found a tutorial for the weave in our articles section, as you will find that question is the first response you are likely to get. If no tutorial exists, you can also request it here. This forum is also used for critiquing, like the previous two.
Group Projects - Occasionally, some people like to try to get together to maille something rather large, either to put on display or just for a sense of accomplishment. That's about it.


Chat - This is the non-maille forum. You can talk about anything you like, provided it's appropriate.
Trading Room - This is a forum for buying, selling, or trading away maille or maille supplies. Please follow the rules carefully.
Wire Arts - This is a forum for non-maille wirework... A close kinship between maille and wirework exists, and this forum showcases some of that.


League Business - This is a forum for discussion of things related to M.A.I.L. as an organization.
Requests - This used to be a forum for Requests regarding Articles, etc... Recently these requests have been better placed in the relevant forums.
M.A.I.L. Help - Questions about navigating the site or errors you encounter go here. Some answers can be found in this FAQ.


Fund Raising - This forum is for discussion of Fund Raising ideas, our Treasurer also issues his reports here, and discussions related to our CafePress store lives here as well.
Admin Discussion - A closed forum for the Administration to discuss issues, meaning you must be an administrator to post there. You can still read it all you want, though. Any input you wish to have in an Admin discussion should be directed to the League Business forum.

If your hunger for maille is still unsatiated, then our Links list is a great way to find other maille sites.

Enjoy your maille.
Enjoy your M.A.I.L.

Search Function: Looking For Something Specific?

We try to arrange our content in a way that makes sense for people to find on it's own, but if there's something you can't find, or something you know is here but don't know where, try searching.

M.A.I.L. comes equipped with an effective Search engine.

If you still can't find what you're looking for, sign in (or sign up if you haven't) and post on the message board. Chances are if it's documented, someone can point you to it. If not, you'll probably get a personalized answer or at least stir up some investigation and get the ball rolling.

One More Thing...

We've decided as a community that it's better for us to not have the hassle of dealing with Adult content. This generally means anything involving nudity, though "sexy" can still be okay. Use your own judgement, and if you aren't sure, please email an admin or mod with the content and they'll let you know. Don't just post it. Anything obviously over the line will be removed by our mods and risk having your account disabled. Beyond that, just try to keep in mind there are many children visitors to our site with sensitive parents. Don't ruin it for them.

For more details, please see our Content Policy.

Article written and formatted by a collaboration of MAIL members.
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