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Summer holidays – loom band hair wraps

We have just seen off our guests and the house seems very empty.  But DD and I did get an evening alone while the others snuck out to a concert.  Perfect opportunity for DD to show me a Rainbow Loom tutorial on YouTube.  Lucky lucky ME! {wink}

This is it.  Part one is the unboxing and review of the kit, one we have not yet seen in a store here in the UK.

I did find it online so maybe it is just not in our local toy store.  Anyway, I think DD was making a case for a shopping trip.  Well, Mom is nothing if not resourceful.  I had a think and assembled a few things.

  1. An old dried up gel pen, disassembled

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2. The two-taped forks I used for making loom band bracelets.

3. A 3.5 mm tunisian crochet hook is one option but in fact a bit of wire and duct tape made a better tool.

You will have to watch the video to see how to end the wrap, it was just too tricky to show in stills.  But to BEGIN it is easy peasy.

Insert the pen tube between the forks like so:

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You can already see where this is going.  The bands around the middle are just to keep it all steady.  Once the wrap grows the bands on the outside of the tube will hold it even better.

The first band gets wrapped in a figure 8 with an additional twist, around the middle two tines of each fork and the pen tube.  Like so:

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Once wrapped around the hair this starting band will stay locked and won’t let the wrap unravel.

I believe this is called the fishtail pattern.  Once the first band is in place you just add two more bands around the tines and encircling the tube, no twist.

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from then on it is simply:

  • bring the bottom band over the tines to that side of the pen tube and bring the bottom band on the other side over to THAT side of the pen tube.
  • add another band around the tines, encircling the pen tube.
  • repeat

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You can see how the looped off bands lie on either side of the tube.  This is exactly the same as in the video but with the two forks instead of the finger loom and the pen tube rather than the hair guide. You can also see how the wrap grows – just keep sliding it downwards between the forks.

Again, watch the video for how to end it securely.  I basically stopped with two bands, brought the left one over to the right tines and looped the bottom one on that side off, then brought the right side bottom band over to the left tines and looped the bottom one on THAT side off.  Repeat.  But easier to watch it, I’m sure.

When done just slide it from between the forks.

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Once the wrap gets applied to the hair, and you smooth it out, it will grow.  The pen tube is under 5 inches.  The wrap I made is just over 3 inches fully collapsed, and when applied it grew to between 6 and 6 1/2 inches.  Depending on your pens you can probably nest them like so, for really long hair:

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Just make sure the hair-pull tool fits and the hair is longer than the tube!

One critical thing, if you don’t watch the video, is you really need to add some conditioner to the hair before you slide on the wrap.  This not only makes getting the wrap on easier, it keeps little stray hairs from popping out thru the bands.

To apply it, again, same as in the video. If you have a long Tunisian hook you can try it but it’s tricky to grab the hair.  I just looped a piece of soft flexible craft wire and wrapped the ends with duct tape for a handle.  Not at all pretty but it works great.

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DD is not here so I’ll sacrifice this one and apply it to a piece of thick twine so you can see how it works.

Apply the conditioner to the hair – not too thin, but thin enough to fit the tube.. Slip the wire thru the tube and hook the hair

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Pull the hair thru the tube.  Slide the wrap off the tube and onto the conditioner-smoothed hair.

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Smooth the wrap but don’t stretch it too much or it will cause the hair to kink and not lie straight.

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You can wrap an additional band around the hair below the wrap for extra security, but DD was able to wash her hair with the wrap in place, no problem.  And adding a bit of conditioner will make the wrap side off smoothly when the time comes to remove it.  Once you DO remove it, you can loop a band thru the ends and secure it and add that to the hair, just like a tiny ponytail.  That does leave a loop at the bottom but I usually thread on a bead, like the ones that are designed to be attached to the hair rather than wrapping it.

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That purple one has beads at various points, which you can’t add to a wrap. DD likes both versions, wraps and just added to a tiny ponytail, free-hanging ones.

So there you go.  A bit of a hack to be sure, but it worked better than I expected.  DD, with her disability, can’t manage the forks but most slightly older kids should be able to.  Maybe it’ll keep them busy for a bit on a rainy day.  And help use up a bajillion loom bands you must have kicking around….

 


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Not a fork, but it works – looms again

DD was very keen on me making a fork-like loom so I could teach her some of the patterns. She did look at the more complicated ones in the magazine, but they were really beyond her to follow.  But the add loop, hook off process of the fork- style patterns (not all of them but at least SOME of the more complex designs) look very teachable so while she is off skating, I made one.  I used a couple of domino style things from a set I’ve had for ages, and an old block. It has issues, but basically, it works.

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I thought at first that the spacing of the two forks, taped, would be what I wanted to mimic, so I eyeballed it, marked the placement on the block,

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then touched the tines to an ink pad to mark the wood.

3forklikeI glued the wood to the block – the dominos are softer wood so they were easy to hammer in to begin with, then the block is much denser but it only has to go in a bit.

The panel pins have a very small head on them – big enough to hold the bands in place but small enough for easy hooking off.

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I simply hammered them in for this first version, but for the next one I did pre-drill holes.  The thin domino wood split slightly and I wanted to avoid that for the second version.

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Now the thing about the fork is that although the tips are spaced like this, you are really working on the middle of the fork so the pins really should have been closer together. See how stretched the bands are?

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You can also see the wood version has a lot more room for the completed section to grow. and the final bracelet is fine, if slightly looser than the loom version.

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I was looking at the domino box and had a brainstorm – I could build a fork-like loom on top of the slider lid, then there would be a bit of a storage area underneath!  Sort of. The lid is VERY thin, so I know I would need a thickness of wood UNDER it

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so the nails wouldn’t poke thru.  But that was going to interfere with the lid sliding in.  I just hacked away a bit of the side so it would slide

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but that compromises the storage cause stuff can slide out.  But it will hold a bag or two of loops so not perfect but not useless either.

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One thing about the cheap 99p nails – they are NOT all the same length.  I had one or two come thru the underneath piece of wood but I was able to add a bit of mount board to cove the tiny tip of the nails that did break thru.

You can see that this version had the nails row spaced closer than the block version.

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But I think it really could be even closer.  So long as the bands are slightly stretched that is all that is needed.  I like that the nails are long so you can clearly see which is the TOP loop when hooking off, for example, if you add the bands then slip them down the nail – you can have 5 or 6 levels and still see them all very clearly.

The solid base of the box will mean DD can use it with her one good hand and use her other one to stabilize it if she needs to, without needing to grip it.  I’ll maybe add a bit of felt to the bottom, or some non-slip mat stuff. I might even look at decorating it but not till I know this isn’t a momentary fad that she loses interest in a week.

My last task is to figure out a way to write out the visual pattern from the video for her so she can follow it on her own.  I think I can do that for some of them, ones with a couple of loads and hook offs, but not all of them  – the starburst one above has 12 steps for each burst, so perhaps too complex for her. We’ll see.  She might be able to watch the video and follow along but I’m not sure.  The fishtail one you can see in the top photo is actually only a couple of steps – I may start with that one….

So a little more involved that taping two forks together, and a bit bigger, but overall, I think it is a success.  DD will let me know if it is or not….

 


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No loom? Try this!

Well, DD went shopping with me and spied a magazine of loom bracelets.  She had learned how to make the most basic ones at her Challengers craft day (for kids with learning and physical disabilities) and I was stunned that she was able to manage them completely on her own.  Given her cerebral palsy, the flat loom works for her.  She has made many, many bracelets but all of the same basic design, just using different colour combos to create variety.

The mag is loaded with complex designs. To be honest, the magazine was a compromise – she wanted a book but I wasn’t sure she would be able to follow the complicated looping and hooking needed for the advanced designs so I said we’d get the magazine and see.  It came with a basic loom, a TINY, and useless, hook, and a bag of cheap, thin, poor quality bands. She went thru the book and found this:

I looked at the directions and despite never having made a loom bracelet of even the most basic type, I managed it.  The problem came when I looked at the completed piece and found it was only about 2 1/2 inches from tip to toe.  Who’s wrist was THAT going to fit?  Looking carefully at the magazine photos  could see that all of the shots show just one complete sequence – you never see it in the round or the other side.  So I tried and tried to work out how to extend it.  I thought if I didn’t complete the final section then moved the loops to the other end and added more it should be easy to do. HA! Because you load the bands from one end then flip it around to hook them, the process just made ZERO sense, and the couple of attempts I made just fell into two pieces and began to unravel.  Hence no photo.

My other thought was to join the cheap loom that came with the magazine to the other loom she has, thus extending the working area.  But one loom was at home and one was at her dad’s office so there wasn’t going to give immediate satisfaction.  I figured there had to be a YouYube video and maybe one explained how to join up two (or more) series of stars.  I didn’t find it, but I did find a brilliant channel that shows how to make loom bracelets without a loom.  It was genius.  She does even have one for the starburst.  I thought I would try an easier one first to see if the process worked.  Result!

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Don’t be fooled by the loom.  I didn’t use it.  What did I use?

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I found this super simple, once you fix the sequence in your head.  The real advantage is as you are working on a continuous piece you simply stop when it is long enough – you aren’t constrained by the number of pegs on your loom.

There may be looms out there that come with a method to join them, to create a super-sized loom, but I don’t know if I would bother.  If I could figure out a way to make a version of the to forks taped together than would sit solidly on the table, so DD could loop and hook one-handed, I am pretty sure I could teach her some of the simple, couple of step patterns.  But until then, she will carry on making the single repeat versions and I’ll try out a few more of the complex ones…including that starburst LOL!

The YouTuber is Olgacrafts. It’s well worth a look, especially if you don’t have super fine-boned wrists {wink}