How to Make Fake Chainmail From PVC

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Chainmail can be spray painted any color.
Chainmail can be spray painted any color. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Chainmail armor is a type of armor made by interlocking small metal rings. Chainmail is used to create tunics, pants, hoods and even gloves. PVC is a good alternative to metal when making fake chain mail because it is inexpensive and lightweight. Many movies, reenactments and Halloween costumers use PVC pipes to make realistic-looking chainmail.

Things You'll Need

  • PVC Pipe, 1/4-inch diameter
  • Marker
  • Band saw or jig saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Large box or plastic tub
  • Plastic sheet or cardboard
  • Black primer spray paint

Mark a straight line down the entire length of the PVC pipe. A ruler or a chalk line can be used to create a perfectly straight line.

Cut the PVC pipe down the line. Cut through only one side of the pipe. This will create the gap the rings need to interlock or “knit” together.

Measure the length of the pipe and mark every ¼ inch from one end of the pipe to the other.

Cut rings from the pipe at all the marked locations. Gather the ¼-inch rings in a large box or container. (100 foot of PVC will make 4,800 rings. It take approximately 3,500 to create an average-sized shirt.)

Lay out the plastic or cardboard and spread out the rings on top. As you spread them, check the rings for burrs or rough edges and sand them down as needed. If you paint small batches of rings at a time, it is easier to spread the rings out and check them for errors.

Spray the rings with black primer. Cover the top and sides of each ring. Allow the rings to dry for the time listed on the side of the can. This can be anywhere from two hours to 24 hours, depending on the paint.

Turn the rings over and paint the back sides. Allow the rings to dry again.

Assemble the chainmail. A common type of chainmail uses a 4-in-1 pattern, which is made by linking four rings on one ring, then four rings on each of them, and so on. Look for a pattern that suits your needs.

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