How to Make Your Own PVC Chainmail

Updated February 21, 2017

Chainmail is armour made from interlinking metal rings, formed to create a shirt or tunic. It is very heavy to wear and expensive to make. PVC chainmail is a cheap and effective way to achieve the appearance of real chain mail without the weight or expense. This "chainmail cheat" is common on film sets and is also a safe option for younger children.

Create a pattern for your chainmail with the old sheet. Cut rectangles for the front and back pieces and shoulder straps. If you want sleeves, cut a rectangle the length of your arms and wide enough to wrap around them. It is better to have the patterns a little larger than necessary rather than too small.

Saw the pipe into rings between 3/16 inch and 1/4 inch wide. You will need thousands of rings to create the chainmail, so you may wish to use power tools. After the rings have been cut they will have little plastic splinters around their edges; file these off to create smooth edges.

Cut through one side of about half the rings with tin snips. These are the open rings, the uncut rings are the closed rings. Spray paint all the rings and allow to dry.

Loop one open ring through four closed rings. Lay these five rings out flat.

Loop another open link around another two closed rings.

Weave the two closed rings on the left from Step 4 onto the open ring in Step 5. Repeat this until the chainmail is as wide as you want it to be. To start another row, simply place an open ring through two closed rings, and then weave that open ring through the first and second closed rings from the row above.

Attach the different pieces of chainmail together to create your final garment, either using string to lace the pieces together, or adding a few extra PVC links to hold the pieces together.


Because the links move together as the chainmail moves about, the paint will start to rub off. The best way to combat this is to use a black or grey PVC tube and use a plastic bonding paint.


Always use extreme caution when using power tools. This chainmail will not stop a sword.

Things You'll Need

  • Old sheet
  • PVC pipe (7/8 inch)
  • Small hand saw
  • Files
  • Tin snips
  • Spray paints
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About the Author

Based in England, Tami Mason writes for and various other websites. Mason has worked as a proofreader and copy editor since 2007 and is a trained interior designer who also specializes in art history, art and crafts.