DIY Unchained: Paper Chain Friendship Bracelets

As the five week long break came to a close, this columnist was quite happy with the amount of time spent with family. I was able to hang out with my brothers and cousins of all ages. One of my cousins, Bianca, is 10 years old, and all of her brothers are around the same ages as my brothers. In turn, I get matched up with her when our families are together. This has in the past either been highly enjoyable for me, because we will put on American Girl doll fashion shows, or I feel like our playdates are unpaid babysitting. But, there is one thing that transcends across all ages: crafting. So, when one of Bianca’s Christmas gifts (from my family, no less) was a chain bracelet making kit, I jumped at the opportunity to get my DIY on.

Here is what you’ll need:
  • Paper (in the form of newspaper, magazines, old snack bags, scrapbooking paper, or whatever your little heart desires. There are billions of newspaper copies around campus. J-School perks).
  • Scissors
  • Ruler and pencil/pen for measuring
  • Good dexterity

Since we were using a kit with pre-cut paper strips, I didn’t have to actually measure out strips. The strips the kit gave me were about 1 x 3 inches wide, but the instructions I have used at different times tell you to make 1½ x 4-inch strips. So, take whatever paper product you are using, and measure out the 1½ x 4 inch strips, marking where you need to cut with a pen or pencil. You will need around 22-30 strips. As someone who strongly believes in “just in case,” I recommend making closer to 30 strips.

Once you have cut enough paper strips to make you never want to use scissors again, you can begin making the first link. First, fold the strip lengthwise, with the pattern side of the paper being on the outside, aka fold it “hotdog” style. Open it back up so you are looking at the crease on the inside of the paper. 

Now you have to fold the sides into the crease so that they meet at the crease. It should sort of look like two little doors that open in the middle. Then, fold it closed along the original crease. 

Right now you should have a little rectangle that is still the original height of the paper strip but is one-fourth the size of the original width. Fold this strip in half so that the bottom and top of the strip touch each other, which I guess is a really weird looking “hamburger” style fold. After all, this food-themed folding you may need to eat a snack.

Open this fold up so you are looking at the crease and fold the two sides into the crease so they meet at the crease. It’s just like what you did earlier. Following on the trend of doing similar things to what you did earlier, fold it closed at the crease.

Yay! You finished one whole link! Once you get the rhythm down, you will be able to crank out upwards of 22 links in no time. You will feel so accomplished, that is if a 10-year-old isn’t making links faster than you. Repeat these steps with the next link.

Once you have created a second link, you can start the chaining process. To connect the links, put the link’s arms (or legs, if you please) through the loops of the other link. As you continue to make links, make sure when you chain them together they create little, baby stairsteps. The best part is if you put the chain in the wrong way, you can easily slide it out and put it the other way. Not that I am speaking from experience or anything ... I mean, you Glossers trust that I am a pro-crafter, right? 

As you make links and chain them together, check the length by wrapping it around your wrist. You want it to be large enough so that it can easily slide over your hand. Once you get to the right length, you can chain the ends together. For them to be able to connect, the links have to be perpendicular, i.e. not parallel. To chain the ends together, unfold the little arms of the last link. Thread the arms through the loops of the other link and then fold the arms down into the loops, so the paper is wrapped around the inner parts of the loops. This part really tested my sanity and resulted in my bracelet not really looking/working perfect, so don’t worry if you just kind of shove the ends back through. You can always hide that part of the bracelet on your wrist when you wear it. 

What do you know, you challenged not only your dexterity and mind, but also created an adorable bracelet that can link you to your best friend, or cousin in my case. This is a great thing to do with some of that free time we all know you have. As always, happy crafting, and go Tigers!

By: Veronica DeStefano | Instructions: Source | Images: Veronica DeStefano

6 comments: Leave Your Comments

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