Saturday, February 16, 2013

Jewelry Club, Part 1 - Duct Tape Bracelets

We've been having a lot of fun with Jewelry Club here at the library, and we've already made 3 awesome projects.  The problem is, not everybody can come to every club, and sometimes you just can't remember how it was that you made that bracelet.  To remedy this, I've decided that we're going to post instructions on the blog, with step-by-step photos of how to make each of the projects we're working on.  First up: Duct Tape Bracelets!

This is a really easy, fun project, and the one that I get the most questions about.  That's probably because, while it's very easy, there are several steps to it.  To start with, you need duct tape, which now comes in a plethora of colors and designs.  You can use one color or multiple ones; for this tutorial, I used 3 colors, just to make it easier to see what I was doing. Once you choose your colors, you want to cut off a strip that's about 8 inches long from each color (you need three strips total).  Here, we have my strips, hanging off the edge of my desk.  Lovely!

After you have all your tape strips ready, place them (one at a time) sticky-side up on your work surface, and fold over about 1/3 of the strip horizontally - I find it easiest to start sticking it down in the middle, which keeps it mostly even without giving you wrinkles.  Fold each strip over onto itself, so that it makes one solid 8-inch-long strip of tape that is no longer sticky.  Don't worry if it's not perfect - mine here weren't even in width all the way down, and the white one had a huge crease in it, but you can't tell in the finished bracelet.

Now that you have 3 tape pieces, take another piece of duct tape, about 3 inches long - whichever color you want to be the bottom of the bracelet - and tape all your tape strips to the table, and we can start braiding!

From here, you have two options:  You can either braid where your tape strips each have a top side, and you keep that top side on top, like I did here: 

Or you can fold the strips over-top of each other as you go, making a flatter, less lumpy bracelet, like I did here:

I personally like the Top-Side Method, because I liked that it gave texture to the bracelet, and it also curved inward a little bit as I braided, which made wrapping it around my wrist a lot easier.  Yes, it looks a little lumpy as you're braiding, but the finished result is what you're going for.  It's a personal preference thing.  I think the girls at Jewelry Club liked the Folding Method better.

Once you have braided your tape - as tightly as you can! - it's time for the tricky part.  It's easier if you have a second set of hands to help with this:  Take the entire braid and the tape off the table, being careful not to unstick it from the tape that was stuck to the table.  Then, wrap the braid around your wrist to make sure it fits, and tape it together to make it the size you want it, using the tape that you had used to secure the braid to the table in the first place.

Confusing?  Here is me holding the bracelet together with my thumb to the correct size (it's difficult to tape it together when it's on your own wrist, or even on somebody else's wrist - you may have to make sure it's the right size and then tape it in the open air).

I then took that tape and wrapped it around both ends of the braid to secure it into a loop.  The braid is now a bracelet, with a bottom part where the two ends are held together. 

And now you're done!

It looks a lot more complicated than it is; the girls at Jewelry Club each made 4-5 bracelets in the hour that we were there, including the time for instruction and the time to pick out tape colors. 

If you're interested in making bracelets or other projects with duct tape, be sure to check out the Duck Tape brand's Ducktivities website at for lots of ideas!

I'll write more about Jewelry Club soon.  I still have a few projects yet to teach you!

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