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.
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
- How to make loom bands – video guide for beginners
- How to make loom bands step by step – 3 easy ways to make a bracelet. We’ve picked two ways you can use your fingers, while in the third we show you…
- How to make rainbow loom bands using the rainbow loom
- Where to buy loom bands
- Loom band ideas – what else can you make with them?
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
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.
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.
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.
Add a third loom band on top of the one that is still in place on your fingers.
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.
Repeat this step until you have added enough loom bands to make a bracelet that is the right size for your wrist.
It doesn’t take long for your loom band bracelet to grow from this (above)…
To this! (above)
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).
Now secure both parts fo the band on the other end of your bracelet into the other half of the S clip. Ta da!
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.
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.
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!).
Got your three bands in place? Then let’s go!
Using a hook tool if you have one (or your fingers if not), pick up the bottom band on the prongs…
… 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.
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.
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.
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.
Take an ‘S’ clip and slip both parts of the end band on to one half of the clip.
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.
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.
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
Take your first band and slip it over the bottom central peg of the loom, then up and to the right diagonally like this.
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.
Keep adding loom bands, one at a time, in this pattern all the way up the loom.
Keep going until you reach the top of the loom.
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.
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.
Move down the loom, hooking each band using this method as you go. Your loom should look like this…
Once you get to the bottom, your loom should look like this and you’re ready for the finishing stage!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 wallet
Twist up an easy loom band wallet or coin purse with this video tutorial from DIY Ideas on YouTube.
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 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.
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?
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.
Loom band candy canes
Where to buy loom bands and rainbow looms
Cra-Z Loom Band Maker
- Buy it now (Argos, £15)
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.
Kuou Creative Loom Twist Bands Kit
- Buy it now (Etsy, £27.46)
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.
Herefun Loom Band Kit with Bear storage box
- Buy it now (Amazon, £16.99)
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!
DIY Rainbow Rubber Bands Twist Kit
- Buy it now (Amazon, £14.99)
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.
Omew Rubber Loom Bands Kit
- Buy it now (Amazon, £13.99)
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.
1000 piece Loom bands tub starter kit
- Buy it now (Amazon, £9.99)
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!
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.