Make, Jane, make!: Elastic Bracelet Craze... Loom-less!


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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Elastic Bracelet Craze... Loom-less!

Diamond with Rings made with two forks, inspired by Loom Love

It all started with an innocent baggie of coloured rubber bands that I bought at the local discount grocer...

My eldest son has been enjoying YMCA camp this summer and has not been able to stop talking about all things camp, including his value bead bracelet. Understandably, the middle two siblings, who were already jealous that big brother was old enough for camp but they were not, began to resent not having bracelets of their own.

So when I saw the $1 baggie of coloured elastics hanging in the store, I figured that I could make them a simple elastic chain bracelet similar to the ones I used to play elastic jump ropes games with as a child. However, after we got them home I started to faintly remember another elastic weaving technique that was more like braiding from my grade school days... which I then had to google.

Some of my eldest son's first projects, fishtails and dragon-scale

What did I find? Well, as you may already know, there are a lot of tutorials out there to teach you how to make a Rainbow Loom bracelet without a loom. The crafter and DIY-er in me loved that. The simplicity and flexibility of a craft that could be done without elaborate equipment, other than the elastics of course, really appealed to me. And as I had already taught my kids how to finger knit (which they love), I also saw the potential to share another quiet and time-consuming craft with them (a.k.a. mommy's get out of jail free card).

His latest creation

So instead of working on my extensive sewing list or making more freezer meals with our abundant CSA veggies, I've been watching YouTube videos of elastic weaving on forks and fingers. And 'cause I find it so similar to knitting, which I love and haven't done in sooo long, I've been a little obsessed with what I can create with these elastics without needing to buy a loom; something I'm loath to do since I would have to have at least three looms to satisfy all the little crafters in this house.

Butterfly charm bracelet made on my fingers, inspired by Made by Mommy

Also, I'm kinda enjoying the stripped down feel of minimal equipment and the challenge of learning the basic techniques and then figuring out those pretty patterns for myself. And as an added bonus, the slower pace of bracelet creation without a loom keeps the kids occupied for longer. I haven't even given them a place to sort the elastics out, they need to dig through the bag each time to get their desired colours... lol! I know, I'm a cruel and devious mommy.

Ridiculously small pink and red strawberry bracelet for my daughter

Anyway, the kids are loving that mommy has a new hobby to share with them, but there's always a catch, isn't there?  So, here's the rub, my eldest son, the one who precipitated the bracelet-envy in the first place, has really taken to learning how to make the bracelets as well.  He has created no less than nine bracelets for himself. Meanwhile, I've only managed about two bracelets each for his siblings. So ironically, my elastic buying has not only failed to make my middle children less envious of their brother's arm-wear, but has also increased the bracelet gap! Sigh.... I should've seen that one coming...

The collection... so far!

Luckily, big brother does see the ridiculousness of wearing all those bracelets himself and has now started giving away bracelets and/or making more bracelets for his little brother and sister. My next goal is to even out the amount of gimp/boondoggles that he's made for himself versus his siblings. Blast from the past crafts. Lovin' it.

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