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DIY Crafts: How To Make a Gum Wrapper Chain

Updated on January 18, 2014

Have you ever made a gum wrapper chain?

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I have an addiction. An addiction to collecting weird things - gum wrappers, bottle caps, pop tabs - to potentially make art with.

So while this whole thing started decades ago, my affinity for folding gum wrappers into chains came in high school. I'll take you through my prize-winning history and teach you how to fold your own chains!

This is a fun and fairly easy craft to do, and it's a great way to recycle. My recycled fashion efforts won me 1000 Canadian dollars - get inspired and make your own gum wrapper creations!

And I swallowed every one of those pieces of gum.
And I swallowed every one of those pieces of gum.
So hip.
So hip.

A Long Long Time Ago, I Can Still Remember...

My high-school best friend, Diana, and I had started folding up gum wrapper chains for quite some time. It worked out well, because we both chewed infinite amounts of gum - we had such an abundance of wrappers.

We were also both in the National Art Honors Society, so we were looking for artistic ways to use the wrappers. We threw around the idea of creating a gum wrapper dress, but never really got started on it.

That is, until our art teacher told us about a recycled art fashion show that we were encouraged to enter.

We started collecting and folding like crazy people. Still though, as high school students do, we procrastinated until the last week and had no real product. When we walked into our NAHS meeting, the teacher reminded us about the fashion show and how we had committed to making a dress.

With one week to go, we buckled down. The kids at school knew what we were doing, and we had constant gum wrapper donors. We folded in class, at home, at work, all in an effort to make enough chains.

Due to time constraints, Diana and I had to give up on our original design, which featured folded wrappers as the whole dress. We opted instead for fringe, which gave us an exciting way to use the foil wrappers we had collected.

I finished the last touches on the dress right when it was due, snapped a few photos, and handed it over.

I never saw the dress again - but those photos ended up winning me and Diana 1000 Canadian dollars in an Earth Day recycled art contest. All we had to do was make a video, which was somehow selected amongst many other entries. I mean, it was really stupid. I've included it, to the right, and our acceptance video, below.

Since then, I've thought about creating another - this time, with more timeliness and craftsmanship. I've also thrown around the idea of creating other recycled art dresses, which I hope to complete in time for this year's Earth Day.

The Finished Dress

Don't mind that creepy mask above the clock...
Don't mind that creepy mask above the clock...

Now, To Create Your Own

You'll need a ton of gum wrappers! We made our dress using paper wrappers, but you can use foil too. The process is the same!



1: Fold it in half!

Take a single wrapper, and fold it longways, or hot dog style. Do this three times! Try to fold the jagged edge into the inside, because it can get in the way when you're making your chains.









2. Fold it through the middle!

Then, fold it in half the other way, right through the middle. It should make a "V" shape. Next, fold the sides into the middle, making a little "v." This little guy will be one link on your chain.



3. Repeat!

Before you proceed, you'll have to repeat all this to make another chain link. Once you have two, you're ready to connect them!





4. Connect!

It's simple, really, just take the two ends of one and push it through the two holes in the other. This is why you'll want your gum wrappers to be folded neatly - if the jagged ends are sticking out, it can get difficult to see what you're doing and where to push the wrappers through. Keep it neat!





Keep on going forever and ever this same way. Eventually, you'll have a long and fairly sturdy chain!

How Can You Use One?

Now that you've got a chain, it's time to figure out how to use it.

If you're looking for something simple, you could create a necklace or bracelet.

You could also make a chain that's long enough to wrap around a whole can or bottle, and fill it with pens or something.

Or, you could just make a long chain and use it as a garland! Hang it over a doorway or window.

If you're feeling creative, I challenge you to make your own recycled art or fashion using them. It's fun, and it could even win you some money! Check out the art museums in your area and see if anyone is having a recycled art fashion show, or what other things may be going on for Earth Day.

Chain chain chaaaaiiiiin!
Chain chain chaaaaiiiiin!

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    • Christy Kirwan profile image

      Christy Kirwan 3 years ago from San Francisco

      This is such a unique idea! I really enjoyed the story of your art show project too. You managed to make gum wrappers look totally punk rock! ;)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Very cute idea. I imagine this would be pretty popular among teens! Congratulations on your contest winnings.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Wow, how creative kids can get. It's amazing. that dress is awesome, it reminds me of those stunning duck tape prom dresses. I don't chew gum, lol. But it looks like those wrappers can lead to some pretty fun creations. Nice hub, thanks for sharing it was a lot of fun.

    • Wonder wool profile image

      Priyanka Estambale 3 years ago from United States

      Beautiful idea :) Awesome!!!