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Friday, August 6, 2010

How To Make Knotted Hair Elastics or Headbands

This is one of those projects that I am just excited about.  While I was at girl's camp last week I was teaching the girls how to make friendship bracelets and had, what I thought to be, a great idea.  I figured that if I ran elastic down the middle of the friendship bracelet that it could work not only as a stretchy removable bracelet, but also as a hair elastic. So here it is.

This is a relatively quick project.  Prepare your materials and sit down and enjoy your favorite show.  The elastics take me about 15-20 minutes to knot (with toddler interruption) and the headbands take 30-45 minutes.

The knotting technique that I used for these hair elastics is the same that I used in my chunky braided bracelet tutorial, so if you haven't knotted before hop over here and you can learn to do this simple style.

Materials for a basic hair elastic include:
  • Elastic band (I bought mine in a package of 2/12 yards at Joann's) I used oval elastic band, but there is round cord elastic or a thinner flat elastic that might be fun as well.
  • Embroidery Floss (6-7 times the length of your piece of elastic)
  • Needle and Thread
  • Button(s)- (if making a button/loop closure)
  • Clear tape (optional)
Determining the length of your elastic band or headband: Before cutting your elastic band you may want to take the end of your elastic and wrap it around your pony tail several times (or your head once, if making a headband) to determine the size that you need.  If making a button/loop closure you will want to add about 2-3 extra inches of elastic for knotting.  If you are stitching your elastic ends together you will only need about 1/2" of extra elastic.  For a small elastic for a child's hair I would probably cut a 4 1/2-5 1/2 inch piece of elastic.  For an adult size elastic band I would use closer to 6 or 7 inches.  I used a 22" piece of elastic for an adult headband.

I made two different types of hair elastics.  The first was a simple button loop closure elastic.  This is the style that I prefer to make.  It is easier and requires less hand sewing. The second is an elastic with secured and attached ends. It is probably more user friendly.

Button Loop Closure Elastic or Headband

Loop your elastic
You start by making a small loop with your elastic (much like in the knotted bracelet tutorial).  You will tie a knot and pull the elastic as tight as you can so that it does not come undone.  You will want your loop to be just big enough for your button to pass through. After looping and knotting your elastic you will want to attach your embroidery thread (about 6-7 times the length of your elastic) by tying a knot as well. I try to keep the ends of my thread pointed down in the direction of the loose elastic, this way we can knot them into our elastic band.  If you would like you can wrap a small clear piece of tape around the loose ends to keep them in place while knotting.

Tie a knot at the end
Now you knot.  You will want to push your knots close together if you don't want your core elastic showing much when stretched.  If you don't care then there is no need to worry.  Knot from the top to the bottom of your elastic.  When you come to the end you will want to tie a knot and pull it tight.  You will then take your button and attach it to your end knot.  When attaching stitch through the knot to secure not only your button, but the knot.

This is a wet pony tail, not greasy hair

I quite like making my headbands this way.  You can put it on without messing up your entire hairdo (or lack thereof). You can also make lots of little embellishments.  I made these simple button on embellishments that slide right over my closure button.  I used simple craft felt, sewed a button hole, and slid them on.  You can make one little elastic band or headband very versatile.

See how they could be worn as bracelets or used as elastics

Circular Elastic
Secure ends by overlapping 1/2" and zig zag stitching by hand

This is more like the elastic that you'd find at the store.  I put off making these because I knew that the ends would be a pain to attach.  I first tried to machine stitch the ends together...that might have worked if my elastic was completely flat, but I wasn't too successful using the oval elastic.  So I gave in and handstitched the ends.  I used a zig zag stitch and put in about 8 stitches in one direction.  After putting in 8 stitches I backstitched (by hand of course) to give it some added reinforcement.

After securing my ends I attached my thread by making a simple but secure knot.  Taped down my loose ends with clear tape, and began knotting.  Having the elastic in a circular shape is a bit of a challenge, but I found if I wrapped it around something like a deck of cards or an old credit card it worked well (don't use active cc or it could break or damage them).  Knot until your ends meet up.  Tie a secure knot and you are done.

I added this cute felt flower to my elastic.  I think that it will look adorable in my nieces hair.

There really are so many different options available.  You can make your elastics all one color.  You can use multiple colors, you can add bobbles, beads, bows, or flowers.  It might be fun to use a wider elastic band for a headband.  I know that there are different knotting techniques out there.  You could come up with some really interesting knotting patterns.  Sure it'd be easier to run to the store and pick up a 20 pack of sparkly pink hair elastics, but it is pretty fun to make them.

I was initially a bit worried that these would pull on my hair and be uncomfortable, but they aren't at all.  I wore a headband all day yesterday and actually forgot that I had it in.

Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

A big thanks to all of those who have entered the giveaway at Crap I've Made.  You still have time to enter if you haven't. A big Welcome to all my new followers.


Unknown said...

oh those are so well done! they are so colourful! i love using felt in projects, too. great job. i'm your newest follower!

Curlicue a.k.a. Kathy, KD, Kate and my favorite, Miss Kat said...

Your site is two links from mine on Tatertots and Jello so I thought I'd stop by and say "hi". This project will be great for me to do with the girl I mentor. She and I are always looking for fun projects to do together. I'll be back to follow your blog and I hope you'll consider stopping by as a follower on mine.

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