CraftsPhotographyDrawingTextiles & SewingPaintingSculpture

How to Make Rubber Band Bracelets - WITHOUT the Loom!

Updated on April 10, 2016
There are several rubber band bracelet designs that can be easily made without using the loom.
There are several rubber band bracelet designs that can be easily made without using the loom. | Source

Rubber Band Bracelets: Several Patterns That Don't Require a Loom!

I was excited and intrigued when my sons told me about bracelets that "everyone" in their elementary school was making.

They are bracelets created by linking together small, colorful rubber bands, sold under the brand name Rainbow Loom.

While I was prepared to spring for the loom kit, which sells for $16-$18, I soon learned that I might not have to buy the whole kit. Our nine-year-old cousin said she knew how to make the bracelets without the loom and would be happy to give us a lesson!

Completed chain bracelet
Completed chain bracelet

A Risk-free Experiment

I hoped that my kids would have fun making bracelets without the added cost of the loom. And going "loom-free" would mean just a little less clutter in the house!

I figured if the process of making the bracelets by hand proved to be too difficult, I would be happy to buy the Rainbow Loom. Therefore, I didn't feel like it was risky to purchase the rubber bands without the loom.

A simple and beautiful chain bracelet
A simple and beautiful chain bracelet

Learning to Make a Chain Bracelet

As she promised, our cousin came over to show us how to link the rubber bands together to create a bracelet.

My sons, nine and six years old, were initially frustrated. I was a little confused myself at first -- but I also understood that these kinds of projects often seem difficult until something clicks in your head and you realize that it's really very simple.

And that was exactly the case! Once we figured out the process, we were able to easily put together simple chains, attached at the ends with small plastic c-clasps that were included with the pack of rubber bands.

Chain bracelet
Chain bracelet

Detailed Instructions for How to Make a Rubber Band Chain Bracelet

NOTE: There's a link to a great video below, so if the written instructions are confusing, check out the video!

  1. Slide a segment of a rubber band into a c-clip. Ideally, the rubber band should be doubled over (make a figure-8 and fold it over on itself to create a small circle) and slipped inside the c-clip. Let's call this rubber band #1.

  2. Now another rubber band (let's call it #2) is slipped halfway through rubber band #1. Try not to twist #2. You then grab the two sides of #2 and hold them together. #2 is looped through #1 but will easily slip out if you let go.

  3. Now, carefully gripping #2, you slide the next rubber band, #3, through the hole created by stretching #2. As you hold #3 and let go of #2, you'll see that #2 is firmly attached to the bracelet and you now need to hold #3 to prevent it from slipping out from #2.

  4. Hold #3, stretching it out to create an opening, which you then slide #4 halfway through. Grab the two sides of #4, letting go of #3, and slide #5 halfway through #4. Continue this pattern.

This process creates a simple chain. When the bracelet is long enough to fit comfortably around your wrist -- not too tightly -- then take the last rubber band in the line and slip one side of it through the other (one loop through the other) and pull it tightly to firmly attach it to the previous rubber band. Now slip the last rubber band's loop into the same c-clip that is holding the first rubber band.

Tah-dah!

You can choose to not use the c-clips at all and can simply tie the ends of the bracelets together. It's a good idea to knot the ends first by sliding one loop of the band through the other (as above) and then tying the ends together.

See the following excellent video that clearly shows how to make the same kind of rubber band bracelet that our cousin taught us how to make. Rubber bands are simply looped together to form a chain. Starting it is the hardest part; stringing the bands together is a piece of cake!

How to Make a Basic Rubber Band Bracelet - Video

A bracelet made with teamwork
A bracelet made with teamwork

Helping Younger Kids

When we were first shown how to make the simple chain bracelet by hand, both of my sons were overwhelmed at the prospect of doing it themselves. And this is completely understandable, since it does feel like you need three or four hands!

And so we used four hands.

My job was to hold the most recently added rubber band in place. I held it securely, making sure it didn't fall out of the bracelet and stretching it open so that my son could choose the next color band and slide it through the one I was holding. Without the stress of trying to hold a rubber band in place, my sons started to enthusiastically string the rubber bands together, and it took less than 10 minutes to complete each bracelet.

After working with me to create a couple of bracelets, my older son got the hang of it and started doing them completely on his own. My younger son still prefers to have help, which is fine -- creating the bracelets as a team is a lot of fun!

Different Patterns

Rubber Band Bracelets
Rubber Band Bracelets

With our first lesson, we cranked out several bracelets. Then it occurred to me that perhaps something more than the basic chain could be made without using the loom.

Looking on YouTube, I found two good videos showing other patterns. One is called the fishtail, and the other the dragon scale. (Scroll down to see these videos.)

Once we got the hang of these patterns, my sons and I were able to make the bracelets without much difficulty.



Fishtail Pattern - Thicker and more sturdy than a chain

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I really like the look and feel of the fishtail pattern. And the instructions are easy to follow!Markers are used as a loom. Some people loop bands around fingers; I tried that and found it painful, & it can't be put it down until it's finished.Give a tug on the tail as you work on the bracelet to keep the stitches tight!
I really like the look and feel of the fishtail pattern. And the instructions are easy to follow!
I really like the look and feel of the fishtail pattern. And the instructions are easy to follow!
Markers are used as a loom. Some people loop bands around fingers; I tried that and found it painful, & it can't be put it down until it's finished.
Markers are used as a loom. Some people loop bands around fingers; I tried that and found it painful, & it can't be put it down until it's finished.
Give a tug on the tail as you work on the bracelet to keep the stitches tight!
Give a tug on the tail as you work on the bracelet to keep the stitches tight!

How to Make a Fishtail Bracelet - Video

This video clearly demonstrates the technique to make a fishtail bracelet, using two markers as a loom.

It's best to use three colors, at least for your first bracelet, because it makes the pattern very easy to follow.


What to Do with Rubber Band Bracelets

  • Make them to wear
  • Trade them with friends
  • Give as inexpensive, homemade gifts
  • Sell to raise money for charity

Dragon Scale Pattern - I love how this uses a fork as a loom!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Dragon Scale pattern creates a wider bracelet. Sharply contrasting colors look great for this pattern!The instructions call for using a fork as a loom! Give the bands a tug as you work to keep them tight.Working on a fork loom.The bracelet can be finished by either using c-clips or securely knotting and tying the ends together.
The Dragon Scale pattern creates a wider bracelet. Sharply contrasting colors look great for this pattern!
The Dragon Scale pattern creates a wider bracelet. Sharply contrasting colors look great for this pattern!
The instructions call for using a fork as a loom! Give the bands a tug as you work to keep them tight.
The instructions call for using a fork as a loom! Give the bands a tug as you work to keep them tight.
Working on a fork loom.
Working on a fork loom.
The bracelet can be finished by either using c-clips or securely knotting and tying the ends together.
The bracelet can be finished by either using c-clips or securely knotting and tying the ends together.

How to Make a Dragon Scale Bracelet - Video

As with the other patterns, once you get the hang of it, it's extremely simple!

Make sure to give a tug on the bracelet as you add to it in order to keep the stitches tight and in the right place.


More Advanced Designs

The following are all intriguing designs that can be made without using a rubber band loom.

While I like all of these designs and enjoyed watching the videos, these techniques are beyond my sons' patience level, so we have not done them ourselves.

Most of these techniques use two forks, secured back-to-back, as the loom!

Cornrow

The artist does a great job of explaining each step.

This really helps me to understand the process much better than the videos that have only music on the sound track.




Double Cross Spiral Twist

I love this spiral design!

The video has only music in the background. Since there's no narrative description of the steps, you have to watch carefully to see what's going on.



Starburst

The Starburst is a compelling and complex design.

I was surprised to see this could be done without a loom!





I hope you enjoyed learning how to make these bracelets!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Jessica 11 months ago

      Thanks! This was a very helpful video.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 2 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @archana: I am thrilled your daughter is into making bracelets and has found some great patterns here! Thanks!

    • profile image

      archana 2 years ago

      Oh My God! my daughter is totally involved in making bracelets. she is 8yrs n she learns one pattern a day from ur video n gifts it to her friends. I am very much grateful to u to post a elobarate instructions, Thanks

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Sometimes less equipment does make the task easier!

    • profile image

      traceh 3 years ago

      Thanks for the tips, I can't figure out how to use the loom anyway.

    • ramonabeckbritman profile image

      Ramona 3 years ago from Arkansas

      I have two Grand daughter's that enjoy making these bracelet's. Your page is very informative. Thanks!

    • profile image

      brianluche 3 years ago

      wow those are really nice bracelets

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @MJ Martin: Thanks! I'm glad you stopped by!

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 3 years ago from Washington State

      The fork techniques are awesomely easy and fun to do. Lots of great information and great videos. Congrats on LOTD!

    • Roy Ringland profile image

      Roy 3 years ago from Northern Ireland

      I have a sister 14 years my Junior, she is fascinated by these. Great Lens!

    • Cop-Speak profile image

      Smitty 3 years ago from Arizona

      I love your Lens, especially the VIDEO of How to Make a Basic Rubber Band Bracelet. Thanks...

    • maijame profile image

      maijame 3 years ago

      Looks easy enough for my kinders to do. Congrats on being LOTD!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Merrci: Thanks! I'm thrilled with how happy my sons have been putting these together!

    • essayshub profile image

      essayshub 3 years ago

      they are really beautiful and worth trying...

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Dressage Husband: Thanks! I've seen LOTS of boys making and wearing these bracelets. The bracelets don't appear to carry as big a "sissy" factor as you might expect!

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 3 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      I first saw these on a lens about using the loom, this technique will appeal to many of the boys who may think it is a bit sissy, but find doing it without more "manly"! It definitely will be a godsend to single parents where cash is tight. Great LOTD!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Congratulations on Lens of the Day Vegival! They look like so much fun to make. With your instructions it should be easy to try one. I bet your kids were pleased with the results too!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @hannybear: Thank you so much for the compliment. I haven't yet found instructions for these patterns and don't know how to create it myself. But I will continue the quest for more patterns!

    • profile image

      hannybear 3 years ago

      Add some more advanced patterns please. I'd like to learn how to make a starburst and a triple fishtail and your tutorials are always really well written!! :)

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @ppppppppppppppo: I just read about the loom band dress! It was absolutely amazing and inspiring!

    • profile image

      ppppppppppppppo 3 years ago

      Cool ideas i love loom bands i can make the loom band

      dress

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @monkeyball2014: It is really amazing how many kinds of designs you can create using the loom. I didn't know about some of the designs you mentioned, and they sound really fantastic!

    • profile image

      monkeyball2014 3 years ago

      great ideas, although i would still recommend buying a decent loom board, beware though there are some out there that break too easily i have had 2 already until i purchased the genuine rainbow loom board and since then i am able to make animals, action heroes, flowers; you name it... all i did to get started was watch step by step instructions how to make various things on youtube and you would be surprised what you can actually do... im 27 and loving it and now im having people ordering them from me and paying me for them :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      hi! I know how to make other designs by hand, they look a bit like the starburst bracelet but are not so complicated. And, what's best, is that you don't even need the loom!

    • profile image

      aamirk321 3 years ago

      wow:) nice lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      My daughters are crazy about loom bands, they will definitely be inspired by your lens, thanks for sharing :)

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @anonymous: Oh, that's great! It's amazing how switching the technique a bit can re-inspire the creative process! I hope they enjoy it!

    • SMW1962 LM profile image

      SMW1962 LM 3 years ago

      Great idea! I can't wait to teach my granddaughter this.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @TerriCarr: HA! :-)

    • profile image

      krider 3 years ago

      I like that idea for sure sounds great to me really it is not that compalicated at all

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 3 years ago

      Great activities for kids, of any age :-) I used to love making stuff as a kid. Not so much now. I probably should find a grown up craft that I find satisfying.

    • profile image

      caraann-fraser 3 years ago

      cool it is good to learn more bracelets

    • chrins profile image

      chrins 3 years ago

      Cool Lens!

    • profile image

      nuxa76 3 years ago

      luv it

    • Scindhia H profile image

      Scindhia 3 years ago from Chennai

      This is beautiful. Nice lens!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @monika64: You're absolutely right! We made different styles of "friendship bracelets" and other ornaments back in the day. A new twist on an old tradition!

    • monika64 profile image

      monika64 3 years ago

      I remember when I was in school we were making similar bracelets, some things never change I guess :)

    • profile image

      someperson 3 years ago

      It's a rage here in Australia to.

      thanks your lens are so cool

    • Surreymagic profile image

      Surreymagic 3 years ago

      Excellent lens- I always wondered how it would be possible to make those bracelets without using the loom because i used to make friendship bracelets by hand.

    • profile image

      loomerlover 3 years ago

      Cool

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @nicenet: These are fun and easy patterns. But sometimes it's feels confusing when you're just getting started. If you stick with it, it'll all click in not too long!

    • nicenet profile image

      nicey 3 years ago

      I can't wait to try it. . I watched the video, looks easy. I hope it's easy when I try it.

      Great ideas and thanks

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @StrongMay: Wow! That is so cool!!!!

    • profile image

      StrongMay 3 years ago

      They are all the rage where I live, too. My cousin is in elementary school, and she also has a rainbow loom. She had a number of other looms as well, but says the rainbow loom is the best. She couldn't wait to teach/show me how to use it, and made me a one-eyed minion from the despicable me movie.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @BestRatedStuff: Thanks! It is a lot of fun, and I'm sure you and your kids will enjoy it!

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 3 years ago

      This looks like fun to do. Enjoyed going through your lens, hope to get to do some of these with my kids soon.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @RoadMonkey: It really is! I like being able to focus on these kinds of projects.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      Good fun and very therapeutic and relaxing.

    • RobertConnorIII profile image

      Robert Connor 3 years ago from Michigan

      We like!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Animallover4: WOW!!! That is amazing!!!! I am truly inspired by your descriptions. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      Animallover4 3 years ago

      Im 18yrs old and im pretty obsessed with making them. My favorite style is the fishtail one, which I sell :)

      The single chain one was so frustrating at first(because i didnt know how to do it and i wanted to make the fishtail one so badly) but now all i make is the fishtail, inverted fishtail, and half-fishtail&half inverted fishtail witch is very easy to make. I also make more complex styles such as double fishtail and a 2-way separate color(such as, one half of the bracelet pink and the other half green, but it looks like fishtail witch is a huge seller!). I do all of this without loom(my fingers are pros lol) I've brought 3,200 elastic rubber bands today for $4, and will be heading to the dollar store to buy more(its so addicting lol). They also have glow-in-the-dark ones witch is a huge hit when im selling.

    • profile image

      nathjang123 3 years ago

      wow!

    • profile image

      niamhluvs1d13 3 years ago

      i love this it's so cool!!!! i made one pink and purple and i love it :)

    • KimberleeNelson profile image

      Kimberlee Nelson 3 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      My 6 year old daughter is obsessed with making these right now lol

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Evelynwn: Cool! I'm definitely drawn to the fishtail pattern, too!

    • profile image

      Evelynwn 3 years ago

      That is really cool. Definitely going to try it. Thanks a lot. I like the fishtail one the best myself. ^_^

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Keith J Winter: Ah, the great case of the missing forks! At least they are going to a good cause!

    • profile image

      sirteacup 3 years ago

      This looks like so much fun! Hmmm I don't have kids so I'm going in solo on this haha, gotta get my 'fishtail pattern' on!

    • Keith J Winter profile image

      Keith Winter 3 years ago from Spain

      Thanks for a great lens. My young daughter spends a lot of her free time making these bracelets. It's suddenly become all the rage here in Spain. I'm not sure how many forks have disappeared from the cutlery draw :-) I will pass this lens on to her.

    • Nurse32 profile image

      Nurse32 3 years ago

      I love making loom bracelets so I'm glad this is something popular :3

    • profile image

      Xxowldusk 3 years ago

      I have do the dragon scale for the life of me

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @ShadowSphereOT: Great idea!

    • ShadowSphereOT profile image

      Gabriel 3 years ago from U.S.

      Great lens. Another Alternative is to putt two screws (or as many as you need) in a spare board and do the same as you would a regular loom.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @queenofduvetcover: Awesome!

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 3 years ago

      My daughter is going to love this lens! She is really into making bracelets.

    • profile image

      leparadissecret 3 years ago

      lovely

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @meloyelo: Thanks!

    • meloyelo profile image

      meloyelo 3 years ago

      Love the alternatives to the loom, so creative!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Sage_Canton: I'd be interested in knowing how she likes making the bracelets without the loom. We've never even used the loom, and I'm wondering what the experience is like going from loom to loomless!

    • profile image

      Sage_Canton 3 years ago

      My daughter is rainbow loom obsessed, lol. I'll show her this lens :)

    • Codris89 profile image

      Mark 3 years ago from Italy

      loving tutorial :) tank you for sharing!

    • WikiDZ profile image

      WikiDZ 3 years ago

      Great lens, my kids will enjoy this!

    • profile image

      katiesnow 3 years ago

      great fun for kids and teens alike!

    • webindex lm profile image

      webindex lm 3 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading about Rubber Band Bracelets. Thanks for sharing :)

    • TheHonestWebGuru profile image

      TheHonestWebGuru 3 years ago

      Great lens, I always love to save money:)

    • Diaper Bag Blog profile image

      Stanley Green 3 years ago from Czech Republic

      Lovely lens! I remeber that we used to make similar bracelets when I was a kid. Thumbs up!

    • snowy12 profile image

      snowy12 3 years ago

      Very creative. Nice lens. :)

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Scottf13: Awesome! You're all set for fun with stuff that's just been taking up space in your house! Have fun!

    • Scottf13 profile image

      Scottf13 3 years ago

      I never even thought of creating bracelets like this! I have had gold and silver wire on the brain but I have so many rubber bands just lying around!

    • profile image

      Zienna1 3 years ago

      I think my children should be the one reading these. My son was the same. Came home asking me to buy him a looming kit because his friend got one and their making bracelets. So I bought a few and the girls ended up making it. I bookmark it instead so I can go back to it later. Thanks for sharing.

    • sha-ron profile image

      sha-ron 3 years ago

      Great ideas of something to keep the kids entertained at minimal cost at the same time

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @flycatcherrr: Yes! The fishtail design really caught my eye, and I like the effect, too!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 3 years ago

      I can just about manage a simple chain. Next up, learn that fishtail pattern. I like the chevron effect.

    • sociopath-free profile image

      sociopath-free 3 years ago

      I know several teen girls who love these. Very popular!

    • Halloween Cosplay profile image

      Halloween Cosplay 3 years ago

      So cool! I just saw a kid playing with a rainbow loom the other day. It looks like a lot of fun - reminds me of lanyards a bit.

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Ethan Cresdee: I'm delighted to hear it!

    • Ethan Cresdee profile image

      Ethan 3 years ago from London

      This turned out to be really fun :D

    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 3 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      My grand daughter is having a lot of fun with these. I'll have to share this with her.

    • Ilonagarden profile image

      Ilona E 3 years ago from Ohio

      Such a cute idea. I think the kits would make a great birthday gift for a grandchild.

    • Jess Martell profile image

      Jess Martell 3 years ago

      Very cool! I've just been learning about these within the last few weeks and I think they're pretty awesome. The younger girls and guys that I babysit love them :)

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @Margaret Schindel: Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Awesome tutorial!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @NasrullahIdris: Excellent point!

    • profile image

      NasrullahIdris 3 years ago

      Indirectly, the game can help the brain to calculate, designing, or creating "building construction". Say this to the children.

    • profile image

      Vantis 3 years ago

      Great idea, it takes patience though. But what a wonderful and useful thing to occupy your children :)

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 3 years ago

      looks great!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      My grandson (age 8) makes the rubber band bracelets by using 2 pencils. He loves it!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image
      Author

      Valerie Bloom 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @irminia: It really does make it an interactive, collaborative project!

    • irminia profile image

      irminia 3 years ago

      This looks like super fun! About using four hands .- this can turn in a real social gathering :)

    • profile image

      acreativethinker 3 years ago

      These are so cool. A great craft for kids to do and adults too! Thanks for sharing. Take care :)