Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Recycled-Craft Hair and Band Accessories

The craze for loom bands over the past year has not escaped my children's attention.  I remember making friendship bracelets when I was a kid with yarn, but these little colourful elastic bands are everywhere and just about every friend my children have are offering rubber bracelets as sweet thoughtful gifts.

My own children immediately got excited about the idea and were asking for them to make in return.  They love crafting and I know that loom bands would keep them happy for hours.  They are cheap enough; pound shops have them in abundance.  But, terrible parent that I am, I said no.  I worry about all of those rubber bands gathering in landfill and what goes into producing them. 

At a children's group last November I pioneered these recycled bands instead nervously... children can be reluctant with change, especially something so beloved as loom bands seem to be!  But they were a hit!  My own children have been making them ever since. 

You need to make what is known as 'plarn'.  Take a plastic carrier bag and flatten it out nicely.  Fold it lengthways several times, still as flat and neat as possible.  Cut strips of the bag then unfurl to make long plastic bands.  You will need two bands from three different coloured bags to make your plaits.  Tie the six bands together in a knot at the top.  Plait the colours together.
  • For the bracelets, tie in a knot at the end, leaving a small loop from the end of one of the bands, then cut the rest off.  Trim the other knotted end.  The larger starter knot can be slipped into the small loop left at the end to fasten the band around the wrist.
  • For the hair accessory, leave about one quarter of the bands unplaited at the bottom to make a very pretty bow-like flair, placing a knot where the plait ends to keep it together.  Use the starter knot loops, untrimmed, for a plain hair clip to be inserted and you can secure the accessory in the hair. 

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