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Japanese 4 in 1 Frame Sculpture With Marbles
Article © MAIL User: Aderamelech

I developed this technique of using Japanese 4 in 1 after seeing marbles in European wraps used as decorations. This is not the only sort of maille/marble style frame you can make, but it is my favorite.

In this example the large rings are 14 gauge, 3/8" ID and the small are 17 gauge, 3/16" ID.

1) Begin by selecting a proper large ring size for the marble (or whatever you are using to fill the frame). The marble should rest on top of the ring when sitting flat as I have tried to show here.
Image: m1.jpg

2) Here is the same marble in a 14 gauge, 1/2ID ring. Notice that the marble sits inside of the ring, and that there is extra space. At best, this ring size will not make a very stiff sheet, and at worse the marble will simply fall out of the frame.
Image: m2.jpg

3) Now you need to build a little box using the large rings as the sides, and the small rings to connect everything. Start by linking up five rings like this. The one in the middle is the bottom of the box, and the four around are the sides.
Image: m3.jpg

4) Connect all the sides to one another. It may be difficult to do this while everything is laid out flat, so you can fold up the sides as I have done here. (This makes it more clear what you are connecting to what).
Image: m4.jpg

5) Now place a large ring on top to close the box. If you just want to use the marble as a decoration, like a crystal or large bead, you are now done.
Image: m5.jpg

6) To continue on, pick one side of this box to be the bottom of the next one. Attach four rings around the side you have selected. You are now back at step three.
Image: m6.jpg

7) Join up the four sides you just added, in the same way as in step four.
Image: m7.jpg

8) Close off this box. Now you can go back to step six and continue adding marbles.
Image: m8.jpg

I find it easiest to construct three dimensional objects in layers, completing everything on the bottom first, and working up. It ensures you always have easy access to the part of the piece you are working on. (As opposed to say, making separate pieces and then trying to attach them up. Much more difficult). Here is a simple four sided figure for a candle holder.
Image: gcandle.jpg
Image: picture4.jpg

It's my experience with most maille sculpture that exact instructions are difficult to give. Very small differences in ring size, wire size (and in this case marble size) will effect how a project turns out. (For example, in some places you may find a round ring doesn't quite fit, and have to make up an oval one as you go). So you will most likely need to do some experimenting on your own to work out the best way of doing things for yourself.
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