What Are Loom Bands?
Loom Bands are my current
addiction special interest. I know they’re the ‘in’ thing at the moment so on principle I ought to have no interest, but I was bitten by the bug before my children were 😉
What they actually are, are small elastic bands in a variety of colours that you can loop (weave) together into bracelets, charms, or even bags or dresses.
I had a think, and here is why they are perfect for my personality:
1. Sorting – the packs usually come in mixed colours, and I find it therapeutic to organise small things into colours and types.
2. Organising – after sorting, there’s the planning where to keep everything and putting things in a nice order.
3. Repetition – simple designs are easy to pick up and repetitive movement is very therapeutic. I like fishtail variations for this.
4. Research – there is lots to learn and discover, not just about the bands and looms that are available but more interestingly about all the complex designs you can do. YouTube is full of interesting things taught in different ways so it’s possible to find one that suits your learning type.
So right now I am in geeky heaven collecting and organising, and occasionally also making. I should point out that both Mighty Girl and Danger Girl also make them, but usually get bored so I finish their designs off!
Where To Start?
The joy of loom banding is that it can be as cheap a hobby as you like, so it is perfect for pocket money. Packs of 300 bands, 12 clips, and a hook are available almost everywhere at the moment, and only cost £1. Have a look in any independent stores you might have locally, I use Lewis Baker in Abingdon.
With a single pack, you can make approx 6 single fishtail bracelets (40-50 bands each depending on wrist size) or 12 single chain bracelets. All of these can be made using just fingers.
It’s also possible to do slightly more complex designs with a couple of forks sticky taped together, but if you want to go further, it might be time to get a loom.
Which Loom To Buy?
The cheapest loom you can get is a fixed type, which you’ll be able to do a range of bracelet and charm designs on but there are some limitations. They’re usually shorter than moveable looms, but they’re also cheaper. You can get fixed loom band looms for under £2.
Moveable looms are best if you really get into the hobby and want to do more designs. Moveable means you can configure the pegs into square or diagonal versions, and the gaps between base plates allow certain designs somewhere to grow. You can get moveable loom band looms for under £6.
I personally prefer the moveable looms with the bigger base plates, like the original Rainbow Loom brand design. An authentic Rainbow Loom costs around £20 but you can get cheaper imports (hopefully at Craft Merrily soon, as I prefer to support them.) The bigger base plates make the loom more stable.
Bands and Clips and Charms, Oh My!
There are a huge variety of loom band designs to choose from: solid, stripy, glitter, glow-in-the-dark, scented, colour changing… A lot of the colour packs can seem quite pink-centric, but that’s not always the case and a whole rainbow of opaque and jelly bands await. For Minecraft fans, the camo packs are perfect.
I don’t get the point of loom band charms you can add onto bracelets, but my five year old loves them, so what do I know?! But I do love that you can get loom band clips in bright colours as well as clear.
Before you know it, a couple of packs here and a couple of packs there make a lovely collection of colours to choose from…
What To Make?
YouTube is full of design tutorials, just search for Rainbow Loom or Loom Bands. Some other search terms that might be useful to add are: fishtail, double fishtail, hexafish, starburst, ladder, dragon scale, triple single, pencil charm, penguin charm, charms.
I’m currently making bracelets to support the National Autistic Society’s #beloomingamazing campaign, and think charity colours (or school, or club colours) bands would be a great fundraiser.
I’ve linked through to Craft Merrily’s Loom Bands because their service is impeccable and I’ve never been disappointed. I wasn’t asked to write this post, nor was I compensated in any way.