Do you love to loom? This crafty hobby has exploded and kids are looming all over the place, even at school. But making bracelets, keychains, and other stuff from tiny rubber bands can be difficult, especially at first.
Are you already frustrated? If so, relax. It takes a little time to develop the skills needed to make loom bracelets.
Or maybe you know a few simple stitches and you want to challenge yourself by learning more complicated ones. Using some stitches, like the hexafish, means it can take as long as an hour to complete just one bracelet!
So here are some tips for getting started — or challenging yourself:
Make sure you have everything. For most stitches, you'll need a loom, a hook, rubber bands, and little plastic clips called C clips or S clips. The clips hold the ends of the bracelet together. Kids who don't have a loom can make a bracelet using a paperclip.
Test your hook. If you have trouble, it might be that your hook is not strong enough. It shouldn't bend too much and the curved end should easily grab a rubber band. You can find replacement hooks in the crochet section of a craft store. It might help if your hook has a rubber gripper on the end so it's easier to hold.
Organize your supplies. It can be easier to do a craft project if your materials are in order. If you don't have a craft box, you can store your rubber bands in small plastic bags and put them in a shoebox.
Choose a clean, quiet place to work. You will need to concentrate, so pick a spot where you can focus. Turn off the TV and avoid other distractions.
Start with the easiest stitches. They are the single stitch, the triple single, the fishtail, and the inverted fishtail. Read (or watch) the directions all the way through before you start, so then you'll know what's coming.
Try different ways of learning. Some kids learn loom stitches by watching videos of other people doing them. Some turn off the sound and just watch, or close their eyes and just listen. Depending on how you learn best, one of these might work best for you. Or, instead of a video, you might want sit with someone who's making a loom bracelet. Then, that person can watch you try it and give you advice along the way.
Practice, practice. Some kids will learn after a few tries, but others might need more time. Once you're sure you're doing the stitch correctly, just keep doing it.
Be kind to yourself while you're learning. It matters what you say to yourself out loud or just in your head. Instead of saying "I'll never get this," say "If I keep working on this, I'll learn how to do it."
Give yourself a break. Practicing this new skill can be pretty intense, so know when you need to take a rest. Put the loom aside for at least 30 minutes and do something else.
Celebrate when you succeed. Wear your first bracelet with pride because you did it!
Did you know that when you learn to make loom bracelets you are working on other important skills? Let's start with handwriting. When you hold your hook in your hand it's very similar to how you hold your pencil. So when you use your hook to make bracelets or when you stretch out the bands onto the pegs, you are strengthening the muscles you use to write. When your writing muscles are stronger, you can write more neatly and for longer periods of time.
Using your loom also helps you learn how to copy what you see. When you follow the directions in a book or a video, you have to figure out how it is in the picture and then do it exactly the same way on your loom. Being careful with copying makes your new bracelet a success. Working on your copying skills will help you get better at copying other things, like assignments your teacher writes on the board at school.
Your loom helps you learn how to make both hands work together. This is called bilateral coordination. You use bilateral coordination for other things like baseball, cutting with scissors, or playing an instrument.
Each of the little movements you make as you put bands onto your loom improves your fine motor skills. You use these small, precise movements when you tie your shoes, button your shirt, or zip your backpack.
It will come as no surprise that you have to focus and pay attention when you are working on your loom. You have to put the bands on the correct way, and then link them together in the right order. When you practice focusing and paying attention, you'll get better at doing it in other situations, like studying for a test or memorizing your spelling words.
Finally, and maybe most fun of all, you can show your creativity when you work with your loom. Choosing color combinations and making up new designs lets you express yourself and helps you develop problem-solving skills. So what are you waiting for? Happy looming!