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How to make loom bands for beginners – everything you need to know

Discover the trend that never ends! Loom bands are easy to use and create rainbow effects to give to your friends and family, or keep for yourself! Read on for our complete beginner's guide to how to make loom bands.

how to make loom bands

Listen up! Loom bands are the lockdown craft activity you need in your life right now. They don’t cost the earth, you need very little equipment to get going and they will bring a much-needed colour boost to these winter months where we are all stuck indoors a bit too much. Celebrities have been spotted sporting them, from David Beckham to Harry Styles and The Duchess of York, with Jimmy Kimmel once famously wearing a full loom band suit – you can find it on YouTube, and it’s easy peasy to get in on the action too with this complete guide to how to make loom bands step by step.

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These nifty little bands come in thousands of colours and patterns and are so so simple to twist into eye catching jewellery and other easy craft projects. We’re here to show you how to make loom bands into bracelets using several different methods, and we’ll throw in some inspiration to other projects you can play around with too once you’ve mastered the basics.

While loom bands remain hugely popular with children and teenagers, they’re also a pretty soothing make for grown ups too, while younger makers will enjoy turning them into gifts to post to friends who they can’t see due to this Winter’s school closures. So settle down and join us for our guided tour of how to make loom bands for beginners.

In this article we’ll show you

Main image © grafvision

How to make loom bands for beginners – 3 ways to try

We’ll show you two methods of how to make bracelets without a loom, and for the third we’ll graduate to using the rainbow loom to make a simple bracelet, step by step.

How to make loom band bracelets without a loom

First we’ll start with a beginner bracelet that you can make with your fingers, then we’ll move on to a couple of different fishtail bracelet designs using a mini rainbow loom tool. We’ll finish with how to make a more detailed loom band bracelet using the rainbow loom.

Method 1: How to make a loom band bracelet with your fingers (single chain bracelet)

In this easiest beginner-friendly method, you’ll use your fingers to make a single chain loom band bracelet, or you can use two pencils if you prefer.

You will need

  • About 25 loom bands (depending on the size of your wrist)
  • An “S” clip to secure the two ends of your bracelet together

Step 1

Take your first loom band and twist into a figure of eight. Pop one of the loops over the eight over your first finger, and the other over your second. You should see the twist of the figure of eight in between your fingers. Roll the band down your fingers slightly to make room for the next band.

How to make a loom band bracelet without a loom step 1

Step 2

Take a second loom band and slip it over your two fingers so that it sits slightly above the first. You don’t need to twist this one – just loop it straight over both fingers to form a stretched loop.

How to make a loom band bracelet without a loom step 2

Step 3

Take the first band you put on, pull it up and over your finger to the space between your fingers, pulling it over the second band as you go but with the second band staying in place. Now let go of the band and let it ping into place in between your two fingers. Repeat this with the first band on the other finger.

How to make a loom band bracelet without a loom step 3
Now roll the band that’s left on your fingers down slightly to make room for the net band.
How to make a loom band bracelet without a loom step 4
Your first two bands should look like this at this stage

Step 4

Add a third loom band on top of the one that is still in place on your fingers.

How to make a loom band bracelet without a loom step 5

Repeat the step above and pick up the lower band on each of your fingers in turn, pulling it up and over the upper band and dropping both sides into the middle. Lower the current band on your fingers slightly to make room for the next.

How to make a loom band bracelet without a loom step 6

Repeat this step until you have added enough loom bands to make a bracelet that is the right size for your wrist.

How to make a loom band bracelet without a loom step 8

It doesn’t take long for your loom band bracelet to grow from this (above)…

How to make a loom band bracelet without a loom step 9

To this! (above)

Step 5

Once you are happy with the length of your bracelet, take both parts of the loop on your fingers and slip them on to one half of an S clip (see below).

How to make a loom band bracelet without a loom step 10

Now secure both parts fo the band on the other end of your bracelet into the other half of the S clip. Ta da!

How to make a loom band bracelet without a loom step 11
Colour combos to try! Add the different colours of the rainbow in rainbow order, or alternating 4 bands of one colour, then 4 of the next to create a stripy effect. For a more subtle variegated effect, pick three colours in a similar colourway but with different tones and add them in a 1, 2, 3 pattern (dark, medium, light) for a rippled colour.
How to make a loom band bracelet without a loom finished

Method 2: How to make a fishtail loomband bracelet – with your fingers or the Mini Rainbow loom

This design gives a chunkier pattern which is a bit more eye-catching if you want your stripes or colour combos to stand out. This method is very similar to the single chain above, but we’re going to introduce a third band on to your fingers throughout. It’s really simple and beginner friendly. This is another bracelet that you can make on your fingers although we are going to use a Mini Rainbow Loom and a hook (as we find them quicker and easier to work with). Here’s who to do it step by step. You will need:

  • About 30 loom bands (less for a small child’s wrist, more for a adult wrist)
  • An S Clip
  • Optional: ready to try some tools? You can easily use your fingers for this tutorial (or two pencils), but you can also use this method with a Mini Rainbow Loom or two pegs from a full Rainbow Loom.
  • You’ll also find it easier if you have a a loom band hook to speed things up.

All of these tools are available in most standard loom band starter kits – we’ve included some of our favourite kits below. But for the sake of this tutorial we’ll be using the Mini Rainbow Loom – which is basically a tool with two prongs. If you don’t have one, just use your fingers instead.

How to make a fishtail loom band bracelet
This is what we will be making (modelled by Eve, aged 5!)

Step 1

Exactly as above, take your first loom band and twist into a figure of eight. Pop one of the loops over the eight over one prong of the mini loom, and the other over your second prong. You’ll see the twist of the figure of eight in between your two prongs. Roll the band down the prongs slightly to make room for the next band.

How to make a fishtail loom band bracelet step 2

Step 2

Take a second loom band and slip it over your both of the prongs so that it sits slightly above the first. You don’t need to twist this one – just loop it straight over both prongs to form a stretched loop. Roll both bands down slightly. Now add a third loom band in the same way, above the first two. You will now have 3 bands on your mini loom (or fingers!).

How to make a fishtail loom band bracelet step 4

Got your three bands in place? Then let’s go!

How to make a fishtail loom band bracelet step 5
Remember, only the bottom band on the loom should be twisted – from now on all the other bands you add will just be looped straight on top of the previous band.

Step 3

Using a hook tool if you have one (or your fingers if not), pick up the bottom band on the prongs…

How to make a fishtail loom band bracelet step 7

… and pull it up over the other two bands (without removing them from the loom/your fingers), bring it into the centre and let it drop in between the two prongs. Repeat this with both sides of the band.  Now your budding bracelet should look like this – with two bands still on the prongs and one that has been looped up and over to rest in the middle on each side.

How to make a fishtail loom band bracelet step 9

Step 4

Add another band on top of the first two, then loop the bottom band on the prongs up and over again as above. Keep repeating this step until you start to see your bracelet form. If you are using a Mini Rainbow Loom like we are here, we prefer to give the bracelet a bit of a tug to the side at this stage as we find this easier then when left and it travels inside the loom.

How to make a fishtail loom band bracelet step 11

Step 5

Keep adding more and more loom bands in this way and watch your bracelet grow. You’ll see that we have alternated two bands one colour, two the next – this creates a chunky striped effect.

How to make a fishtail loom band bracelet step 13

Step 6

Once you are happy with the length of your bracelet, gently remove it from the loom. At the end you’ll have one band that is woven into the bracelet, with two more that sit loose inside this one. Remove those two excess bands so you are left with the one, twisted band at the end.

How to make a fishtail loom band bracelet step 15

Step 7

Take an ‘S’ clip and slip both parts of the end band on to one half of the clip.

How to make a fishtail loom band bracelet step 18

Step 8

Now twist your work into a loop and connect the S clip to the other end of your loom band strip to make a bracelet.

How to make a fishtail loom band bracelet step 20

Method 3: How to use The Rainbow Loom

The Rainbow Loom  is one of our favourite tools for easy bracelet making. Most of the beginner kits below come with some variation of this handy tool. It is a large plastic block with a three rows of pegs sticking up from it. If you look closely, you’ll see the base block has arrows that guide you which way to work your bracelets – these can be really handy as it’s surprisingly easy to lose track of which direction you are working in so take a look at your loom and find the arrows before you begin.

How to use the rainbow loom step 1
We are going to start at this end of the rainbow loom, following the arrows upwards.

You can use The Rainbow Loom to make a single loop, double or triple fishtail effects easily, as well as all sorts of other complex designs from ladders to starburst bracelets. We’ve stuck to showing you how to use it to make a basic single loop bracelet here but for more inspiration, head to YouTube and get creative.

For this beginner bracelet, you will need the following (you can get them all in this Loom Bands Starter Kit

  • Rainbow Loom
  • A hook
  • Loom bands
  • S Clip
How to use the rainbow loom

Step 1

Take your first band and slip it over the bottom central peg of the loom, then up and to the right diagonally like this.

How to use the rainbow loom step 2

Step 2

Now take your second loom band, and start by slipping it on to the second peg that you looped on to last time (along the right edge of the loom). Now pull it up and right diagonally and slip it over the next peg as shown below.

How to use the rainbow loom step 3

Step 3

Keep adding loom bands, one at a time, in this pattern all the way up the loom.

How to use the rainbow loom step 4

Step 4

Keep going until you reach the top of the loom.

How to use the rainbow loom step 6

Step 5

Now you’ll need your hook. This step takes a bit of practise but you’ll soon get the hang of it. Leave the top right peg band in place – we are going to focus on the next peg down the board (so the top peg in the central row). Take a loom band hook and take inside the horseshoe shape of the peg, then twist the hook and use it to scoop up the lower band on the peg (in our example the white band). Bring this band up, over the top of the peg, inside the red band that was placed above it, and then pull it down to the right – securing it over the peg that the other half of the same band is sitting on. Take a look at the next couple of pictures to see what we mean, and if in doubt, we’ll add a video tutorial to this post soon.

How to use the rainbow loom step 10
How to use the rainbow loom step 11

How to use the rainbow loom step 12
Step 6

Can’t work out what’s happening yet? Never fear, all will become clear. We are going to move down the loom, repeating this step peg by peg. So for this next step we’ll be focusing on the peg that you just rested the last band on (this is  the second peg down the righthand side of your loom). This peg should now have a lower band on it (in our case a red band), with the two loops of an upper band above it (in this case the white band). Take your hook again and reach inside the horseshoe-shaped peg to pick up the lower band (the red band in this case).

Pick the lower band up on your hook and pull it up through the gap in the middle of the peg, up over the top of the peg (so it is still inside the band that was on the peg above it), then pull it down to the left diagonally and secure it on the next peg down (the same one that the other half of the same band is already sitting on.

How to use the rainbow loom step 14
How to use the rainbow loom step 15

Step 7

Move down the loom, hooking each band using this method as you go. Your loom should look like this…

How to use the rainbow loom step 18

Step 8

Once you get to the bottom, your loom should look like this and you’re ready for the finishing stage!

How to use the rainbow loom step 20

Step 9

Take the band at the very bottom of the loom (the peg you started on) and hook an S clip into both loops of the band on this outer loom band.

How to use the rainbow loom step 21
How to use the rainbow loom step 22

Step 10

Secured both loops of the end band? (in our case the red one). Great! Your bracelet is ready for the big reveal. Now gently tug the end band with the S clip in place up to pull the bracelet off the loom. Do this all the way down the loom until you get to the end loop.

How to use the rainbow loom step 23

Step 11

Finally, secure other half of the S clip that isn’t currently being used on to the band at the other end of the bracelet to complete your bracelet!

How to use the rainbow loom step 26

Loom band ideas: what to make with loom bands

Why stop at bracelets? There is a whole world of fun loom band tutorials out there that will show you how to twist these versatile little loops into all sorts of different objects. Warning though, once you get sucked into discovering all the amazing things you can make out of loom bands, you will find it hard to stop!

Rainbow loom band pencil toppers

Give your stationery a quick colour boost with this easy loom band pencil toppers tutorial from Makes and Takes.

Loom Band Pencil Toppers

DIY rubber band balls

Keeping it simple, twist them all into a massive bouncy ball! Red Ted Art have a tutorial to show you how.

Loom Band Ideas Bouncy Balls

Make butterfly charms

Add them to earring clips or keychains! Whatever you choose to do with them, these super cute butterflies are easy to twist and great to give as gifts.

Loom Band butterflies

Loom band wallet

Twist up an easy loom band wallet or coin purse with this video tutorial from DIY Ideas on YouTube.

How to make a loom band wallet

Rainbow loom gold fish

Could this be the cutest make in this article? We think so. Find out how to turn loom bands into these sweet goldfish charms over on Joy of Art’s YouTube channel.

Loom band fish

Loom Band phone case

Loving the loomy life? What else can you decorate with loom bands apart from your wrists? We’ve found this nifty little tutorial for how to make a gadget cosy out of loom bands by Play & Go.

Loom Band Gadget Cover

How to make Turtles

Another idea from Joy of Art (because frankly they are the loom band heros we need in our lives this lockdown), how about these CUTE loom band  turtles?

Loom band turtles

Make your own Super Heros!

If you’ve practised your loom bands a lot and feel you’re ready to graduate to expert level, you have to check out PG’s Loomacy on YouTube – they have a whole series of video guides to making your very own Avengers out of loom bands. We especially like The Amazing Spiderman.

Spider Man Loom Bands

Loom band candy canes

Loom Love have a series of 20 holiday-inspired loom band ideas to try, from Christmas stockings to the Grinch! But our favourite is this loom band happy candy cane DIY by FeelinSpiffy.

Loom Band Candy Cane

Where to buy loom bands and rainbow looms

1

Cra-Z Loom Band Maker

Loop, weave and wear easy DIY loom band bracelets! This kit will help you make 24 different designs and includes an easy-to-use loom and over 600 latex-free rubber bands including neon bands, plus 10 emoji beads to decorate your bracelets and 25 “S” hooks.

Cra-Z- Loom Band Kit

2

Kuou Creative Loom Twist Bands Kit

Many of the kits we’ve featured here include similar elements – a beautiful array of rainbow loom bands, a starter loom and hooks plus charms to hook on to them, but we do think the charms with this kit are super cute! You’ll get 4400 bands for your money in 22 colours, plus a loom board (or ‘Rainbow loom’ as they are also know), 7 hooks and 48 S clips.

Creative Loom Tist Band Starter Kit

3

Herefun Loom Band Kit with Bear storage box

Again this kit offers a collection of bands, a board and hooks but it’s main feature that kids will love is that the bands come in a bear-shaped storage box!

Bear loom band starter kit

4

DIY Rainbow Rubber Bands Twist Kit

Another great starter kit, this collection comes with all your essentials too from the bands to the board to plenty of S clips and hooks to keep you busy for months.

Rainbow loom band starter kit

5

Omew Rubber Loom Bands Kit

With so many beginner kits out there, we do love a novelty storage box and this clover-shaped one will appeal to mini makers, plus double up to store other craft supplies too if they do ever run out of loom bands.

Omew Loom Band Kit For Beginners

6

1000 piece Loom bands tub starter kit

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A smaller Starter set than some of the others in this list but the storage tub is pretty durable and handy and it makes a great gift that will keep kids busy during lockdown!

Loom Time Mega Trail starter kit

What is a loom band and when did the loom band craze start?

Loom bands are small, plastic or rubber bands that come in a huge variety of bright colours. They measure about 15mm each and first came into the public eye when the Rainbow Loom was invented in 2010 by Cheong Choon Ng in Novi, Michigan.

He created a plastic pegboard to weave colourful little rubber bands (loom bands) into jewellery and charms. The loom didn’t take off at first, as people struggled to work out how to use it, but he bagged himself a major toy chain listing and quickly word spread. Soon enough his invention sparked a global phenomenon.

The BBC reported loom bands to be one of the most popular toys in the world in 2014, when all 30 of the best-selling toys on Amazon were loom-band related, topping the sales for every age apart from under-twos. The Rainbow Loom itself (a plastic loom for turning your loom bands into jewellery), has sold more than ten million units worldwide since it first launched  The sheer scale of the craze can be seen in the stats for Amazon UK. All 30 of the best-selling toys are either looms or loom-related, with loom band products topping the sales list for every age group except the under-twos. They’re still hugely popular with children and have never lost their appeal to young makers.