Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Beginning Loom Bracelet Tutorial - Simple hook and fingers method

Well, we finally broke down and joined the latest kid craze. That's right (no scoffing you cabbage patch, smurf, friendship bracelet people from the 80's and 90's), the Rainbow Loom/Fun Loom craft extravaganza is here to stay, and has made it all the way to our house.  Within one short afternoon my three girls had an armful of colorful bracelets they had designed themselves, and a bunch more to give away to friends.

Loom Bracelets are quick, fun, and the kids can make these themselves.
First, I have to hand it to whomever out there was sitting around their house a few years back and decided that little girl hair rubber bands (for pony tails) and a small crochet hook, could unit forces into what I can only assume is now a thriving mufti-million dollar business. (It's an America success story, by the way I just Googgled it, very cool).  Hey, I had hair bands lying around... I had crochet hooks all over the place... if only....

Well now that we are officially on the "band" wagon (pun intended) I immediately decided we were going to have to teach ourselves how to do this.  There were the trickier loom instructions that came with the loom and then some simple instructions that actually just used the small hook, your fingers and the rubber bands.  This is where you should start!  My hubby decided to try the original pattern on the plastic loom, while I tried the simple hook method.  Turns out they look the same as finished pattern.  I could crank out four bracelets with one daughter while he made only one on the loom. So for starters I am going to teach you the simple, by hand method, no loom required.  First, you will need to buy some packets of rubber bands. If you buy a loom kit, they will come with the rubber bands.

They come in many themes and colors.  Sparkly, glow-in-the-dark, shiny, with charms, without charms, and most kits should come with a hooking tool and some clasps.  There are two types of clasps.  The "S" clasp, and the "C" clasp.  Named for the shape they take.

Clearly, these are the "S" clasps
Next, you want to take your plastic hook that comes with the kit.  By the way if you do not have a hook, you can also use a small crochet hook (I used both a "C" and a "D" sized hook with no problem.

The white hook is the one that came with the kit.  The two above are my C & D sized crochet hooks.  My girls used all three
I am doing these instructions assuming you are a right-handed person.  If you are left-handed, reverse which hand you do this in.  Take the first colored rubber band you want to use, and make it fit inside one side of the small "S" clasp so the center of the rubber band is in the middle of the clasp, and you have to loops or "wings" sticking out each side of the clasp.

The "S" clams are a tight squeeze.  The only way to get a floppy rubber band into this small space is to pull it very thin and slip it through the crack.   Then you take the other end of the same rubber band and squeeze it thin through the same crack to get this loop on each side configuration above.  Place this clasp and first rubber band in your left hand and squeeze the two loops towards each other.

 Now, with your right hand, grab the hooking tool and slip it through both loops

This next part will take a second person.  I had my daughter put the next color band she would like on the end of the hook

She holds that firmly while I pull the pink band, through the black loops.  Once directly in the center of the black loops, I remove the hooking tool

Now you want to make sure that the band is not twisted at all, but slowly bring up the two pink loops together like you did to the black ones at the beginning.  Move your left hand up slightly to grab the pink loops firmly and you are ready to add the next color

They had decided they wanted a pink and black pattern, so choose another black rubber band and using the hook the same way as before, slip the rubber band into the center of the pink loops

Continue alternating between colors making sure the loops are not twisted.  Soon you will have a small chain forming from all of the interconnected loops.

We found that it was about 22 rubber bands to make a good child-sized bracelet that wasn't too tight or too loose.  Once you hit about 20+ bands, start measuring it against the wrist of your child and see if you need a few more or few less.

Now comes the finishing off part.  Simple work both loops through the other side of the "S" clasp.  You will have to do one loop at a time, stretching it thin to get each past the narrow opening of the "S" clasp.  Once together, your bracelet is finished!

Then you are ready to wear your new creation!

Now this hook and finger method works great if you have another person around to help load in the next color and hold it while you pull it through the loop before.  However the basic pattern directions on the loom will make this same loopy pattern and you can do them all by yourself.  I will show that in a next post.  We just wanted to master the basics first.  We were able to make a ton of bracelets and never even touched the loom!  By the way, the green bracelet in the picture above was given to my daughter by one of her friends.  It was also made on a loom and as you can see, has more of a woven pattern to it.  There are a ton of different patterns to master, although, I rather like the loose loopy look of the basic method we first tried.

Now, even if you are not a crafty person, and do want to mess with learning the loom, you can now still make bracelets with your kids and grandkids pretty easily with a simple hook, some bands, and some patience.   By the way, my hubby always makes fun of me about this, but once I learned the bare-bones basics of the loom, I went on youtube to find the prettiest (most advanced) pattern I could find.  It's the craft equivalent of going 0-60 I guess. What can I say I like to progress quickly!  I came across this lovely little number called a starburst pattern.  A nice little 8-year-old girl named Carrigan taught me how to do this:

Holy smokes, right!  Well it was quite intricate, with many steps on the loom.  Some of it looked like this:

I might have impressed even myself on finishing this one.  We made a couple of cute bracelets this way. They turn out more chunky on the top but I really like the way the star burst pattern looks when you are all done.

This more complicated pattern is exactly what the loom is REALLY great for.  But don't worry, we can "build" to this. For starters I would just try the simple hook and loop finger method and whip out some cute bracelets today!  Make them to give away for class Valentines instead of candy. Make them in your school colors, your favorite sports team colors - how about Superbowl team colors!  The possibilities and color schemes are endless.  Plus these are not just for girls.  I have seen charms and kits available with super heroes, Disney characters, pirates, and Cars too.  I'm sure this will be another one of those fun decade fads.  Years from now, the kids will be grown up and posting on Pinterest on a board dedicated to child-hood fads.  Remember that time way back in 2014 when we made bracelets out of hair rubber bands and wore them, traded them all over town....

1 comment:

rainbow loom said...

Magnificent tutorial and also very easy to learn for making loom bracelet. I think this simple hook and fingers method will be very effective especially for the new learners and hope that everybody will implement this method for making loom bracelet. Thanks

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