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Craft Stick Bangles

I can’t take credit for this craft, but I will give some tips that might make it a smidge easier for you than it was for us. I saw a picture of this idea on my new internet wormhole of delight: Pinterest. The link referred me to two simple photographs, no words of explanation at all. I don’t know about you, but when a craft can be explained without words, I think I can handle it. Silly me. 

 What You’ll Need:

Craft sticks

Large bowl of water

Narrow, sturdy glass

LOTS OF TIME

Sharpies 

Kids (Ha. Forget that. You don’t need kids to enjoy this)

Fill a large bowl with water and then submerge the craft sticks. The bowl will need to contain the entire length of the stick, as the idea is to soften the wood until it is pliable. This might be a craft you want to start at night if your children are particularly interested and/or impatient, because this part takes time. A lot of time. Like, the 12 hours between dinner and blinking into the next day. 

In the meantime, it is fun to test the sticks at different intervals to see how pliable they’ve become. You might even try adding food coloring or paint to the water to see how much of the colored water the wood absorbs.  Consider graphing the length of time it takes for different wood widths, or using hot or color water. Anything to turn it into a “learning” experience, right?

When the sticks are fully bendable, and do not crack or splinter with light inward pressure, you’re ready for the next step. This requires adult supervision simply because the sticks are wet, and if you’re working with glass, you’ll want to avoid breakage. It can take some effort to get the sticks positioned well. Begin to arc the stick by bending the ends toward each other. Insert the bent stick into the narrow glass you’ve selected and push into position. The point here is to use the curvature of the glass to form the new curve of the wooden stick. Note, too, that the sticks may not align completely with the sides of the glass. This is okay. Again, we’re not going for perfection. Just fun. It is best to leave some space between the ends so that the eventual bracelet is easy to put on by oneself. 

And we wait again. The sticks don’t take nearly as much time to dry as they do to become bendable, but it still is rather…boring. Like watching wood dry. At this point, you can begin to talk about possible designs the kids might want to draw on their bangles. They can even sketch out ideas and play with color combinations. I do recommend Sharpies for this project, and thankfully, they offer a full complement of colors, tip sizes and variety. What can’t you do with a Sharpie? 

Once dry, have an adult remove the newly formed bangles from the glass and allow the kids to go wild decorating their bracelets. They are fragile and will not last forever, but they might make a good party craft or favor. Kids could make up whole batches to give as holiday presents or end of the year gifts. 


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.primeparentsclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/JenniferBioPic.jpg

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[author_info]About the Author

Jennifer Luitwieler is the Prime Parents’ Club regular arts and crafts contributor. She likes to sew, knit, embroider, crochet, papercraft and make jewelry. She also enjoys watching kids find their own style as they play with arts and craft supplies. Find her on her blog at http://jenniferluitwieler.com, or on Twitter as @jenluit and on Facebook. [/author_info][/author]

I'm a Pittsburgh transplant in Tulsa, OK, where I live with my husband of 17 years and our 3 wild things. They are 14, 12 and 8. I keep my feet, fingers and head busy running, crafting and writing. My first book, "Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo," is available on amazon and b&n.

3 Comments

  1. JOanna

    January 6, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Could you decorate first and then soak? It seems like the sharpies would stay put.

    • Jen

      January 6, 2012 at 10:57 am

      I think a better option would be to seal them with clear sealant after the sharpies go on. I think soaking sharpie coated wood in water for 24 hours might dilute or delete the marker. Also, make sure to let the bangles totally dry before decorating. An alternative would be to use modpodge and colored paper.

  2. Prime Parents' Club

    August 19, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I love the idea of making them ahead and then letting the kids at the party decorate their own for favors. FUN!

    Thanks for sharing.

    /jackie