Every summer there’s a new craze to entertain kids in camp and on the beach. This summer it’s Rainbow Loom, a kit that features a loom, a hook, a mini loom, and small, multi-colored rubber bands. Using the materials in this kit, weavers can make beautiful rubber band bracelets easily and quickly.
A Peruvian woman weaving textiles. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org.
Weaving is prominent in many elements of popular culture, such as the use of spinning wheels in stories such as Sleeping Beauty and Rumpelstiltskin. Also, weaving is featured prominently in textiles, as well as in art forms such as tapestries. The art of weaving tapestries has been a popular art form for many centuries, and many of these tapestries are still on view today. I have seen many tapestries, but two of my favorites are The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, which can be seen at the Musée National du Moyen Age in Paris (and are the subject of a fabulous book by Tracy Chevalier) and The Unicorn in Captivity tapestry at the Cloisters Museum in New York City.
The Lady and the Unicorn “Sight” tapestry. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org.
The Unicorn in Captivity tapestry. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org.
The Rainbow Loom.
Simpler weaving techniques have been created, though, that allow everyone to create art projects such as potholders, bracelets, and keychains, with materials such as cotton, rubber bands, and string. Rainbow Loom is one such example, but it distinguishes itself by providing instant gratification. Although I do love making pot holders and string bracelets, the one setback to these two activities is the longer amount of time required to complete them. With Rainbow Loom, on the other hand, anyone can make beautiful, complicated bracelets in a matter of minutes.
My collection of rubber bands in a Plano box.
One of my favorite steps in the process of Rainbow Looming is choosing my color combination. The Rainbow Loom kit comes with a pack of assorted colors, but packs of individual colors are available for purchase as well. These colors range from turquoise to glow-in-the-dark to tie dye, and I always enjoy mixing and matching all of the colors to create infinite possibilities of bracelets. It’s also fun to use school or camp colors to add spirit to the process. Creating bracelets is especially intriguing for anyone who loves patterns, for each bracelet can be made using a host of possible patterns, both in the style of the weave itself and the order and arrangement of the colors. And these bracelets can be made anywhere, from the beach to restaurants to the car, which allows for endless fun, all the time. In addition, the creativity of organization comes into play with Rainbow Loom, for you can buy Plano boxes to store all of your Rainbow Loom rubber bands for easy access.
Furthermore, the Rainbow Loom company has created instructional videos online that explain step-by-step how to create all of the different Rainbow Loom patterns. But the best part is that there are still new Rainbow Loom patterns being invented, which gives you the opportunity to experiment and see what happens!
My “Raindrops” Rainbow Loom bracelet.
My “Original” Rainbow Loom bracelet.
My “Liberty Twistz” Rainbow Loom bracelet.
My block-color “Fishtail” bracelet.
A Rainbow Loom style that I invented.
My “Flower” Rainbow Loom bracelet.
My “Double Rhombus 2” bracelet.
This leads me to my creative challenge of the day: use a rainbow loom to create bracelets of your own! Look online at Rainbow Loom’s instructional videos to learn new techniques. Start simply and then move on to more intricate designs. Enjoy your creations!
As a second challenge, find a weaving community or class in your area and join in. If you’re in New York City, try Loop of the Loom.
What is your favorite bracelet style to make and what are your favorite color combinations to use? Comment below to discuss.