How to Make a Pull Tab Chainmail Purse

Written by elizabeth tumbarello
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How to Make a Pull Tab Chainmail Purse
Collect thousands of soda tabs to make chainmail. (pop top image by Ray Kasprzak from Fotolia.com)

Chainmail is an ancient art--some of the earliest examples date to the year 690 BCE as noted by "Chained," a book detailing the history and manufacture of chainmail. A popular form of armour throughout history, chainmail as a material is tough and lightweight, affording similar protection to plate armour without sacrificing mobility or strength. In addition to armour, chainmail was also used throughout history to form decorative jewellery and functional housewares. Real chainmail is manufactured by linking thousands of tiny rings together. A similar look can be achieved with less effort and cost using modern recycled materials.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Pull tabs
  • Pliers
  • Tin snips
  • Twist ties
  • Ribbon (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Gather several thousand pull tabs. Wash them thoroughly to remove any food or beverage residue that may be present.

  2. 2

    Grasp the tab of metal that attaches the pull tab to the can with a pair of pliers. Bend the attachment point to the wrong side of the pull tab. The wrong side is the side with the metal seams visible.

  3. 3

    Snip the middle of the pull tab loop that is used to manipulate the tab when it is on the can. Use tin snips for this purpose.

  4. 4

    Bend the legs of the loop below the snip at about a 45 degree angle.

  5. 5

    Manipulate and cut each pull tab in this manner.

  6. 6

    Slide the cut end of one pull tab over the uncut loop of two separate pull tabs, linking them together.

  7. 7

    Weave the cut ends of the attached pull tabs to the uncut loop of another pull tab.

  8. 8

    Continue weaving pull tabs until you have a square of chainmail fabric approximately 5 by 7 inches.

  9. 9

    Create a second square of woven chainmail fabric approximately 5 by 7 inches.

  10. 10

    Make a rectangle of chainmail fabric measuring 17 by 2 inches.

  11. 11

    Align the rectangle of chainmail fabric to the perimeter of one of the squares. Make sure the longest edge of the rectangle lines up with three of the sides of a square--a 5-inch side, a 7-inch side and a 5-inch side.

  12. 12

    Attach the chainmail rectangle to the perimeter of the square using extra soda tabs to create a link.

  13. 13

    Position the second square of woven pop tab chainmail to the side of the rectangle opposite the first attached square.

  14. 14

    Affix the rectangle and the second square in the same manner as the first.

  15. 15

    Weave a pull tab chainmail rectangle measuring 2 feet by 2 inches.

  16. 16

    Affix the rectangle to the top of the purse to create a strap. Close the purse using a metal twist tie or ribbon.

Tips and warnings

  • Be careful when working with pull tabs. Some have sharp edges. Wear a pair of gardening gloves to prevent injury, if necessary.

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