- Arts and Design
Crafting Fun For Boys And Girls
Every year seems to bring about a new product that is coveted by children. 2013 is no exception, as boys and girls in the tweens to teens age, clamor for the latest craze, Rainbow Loom.
There are numerous reasons for the popularity of Rainbow Loom, but the main focus seems to be on the fact that the kids can craft fun and wearable pieces of jewelry and show a sense of pride, upon completing the design.
Video games and mobile apps have dominated this demographic for several years. Xbox, Playstation, iPhone and iPad options being the most coveted. Parents have had enough of the digital onslaught and are encouraging and pleased to see their child spending time away from their computers, instead, focusing on being crafty and pushing their creativity.
For every kid that is excited about the crafting part of Rainbow Loom, there is another kid excited to create completely new and original Rainbow Loom Patterns.
(All images provided courtesy of Rainbow Loom Patterns)
What Is A Rainbow Loom
The Basics - Beginner Level
The main component of the Rainbow Loom is a 2 x 8 inch piece of hard plastic that has pegs on top. These pegs are set up in a grid (ie. checkerboard, graph paper). This is what as known as a "loom". In order to create a nice Rainbow Loom Pattern, you will need some different colored rubber bands, a flat surface and your crochet hook.
The colored rubber bands are then assembled on the grid pegs and can be stretched at different angles. The different angles and figure 8's will shape the pattern you have selected. The crochet hook is used to keep the rubber bands assembled in a nice and tidy array.
There are 3 different types of Rainbow Loom Patterns, which create an amazing bevy of bracelets, charms, rings and other accessories. It is definitely advised that younger-aged children and kids that are new to Rainbow Loom, in general, start with the Beginner Level of patterns. Older children will get easily bored with the Beginner and Intermediate levels and will need more challenging designs. The Expert Level is ideal for this category of crafter.
Beginner Rainbow Loom Patterns are pretty basic, in nature. The instruction manual has the first pattern, which is called "The Single". The beautiful thing about Beginner Level patterns would be that they don't take as many rubber bands to create and they can be made in a matter of minutes. If your child needs a good confidence builder, Rainbow Loom is the perfect activity to increase their confidence.
Every time a child completes a cool design, they have an immediate sense of satisfaction on a job well done. The usual reaction is eagerness or excitement to tackle another pattern that they haven't tried before. The beginner level offers dozens of different patterns that will whet the appetite and get them dreaming of Intermediate patterns.
Beginner Level Patterns
These patterns are where your child should begin their journey.
Rainbow Loom Essentials
Here are some of the basic supplies you will need to get started. There will be a mad rush during the holiday system and in a matter of just a few clicks, you can order everything you need and have it delivered to your doorstep.
There are ways to make cool jewelry without a loom kit, but it's much easier if you have one of these.
This tackle box keeps your supplies nice and tidy in an easy-to-carry case.
Latex Free Multi Color Action without the clips
This is a knockoff version, but gets the job done, as well
Intermediate Rainbow Loom Patterns
Designs For Crafters Who Want More Of A Challenge
The Intermediate Rainbow Loom Patterns cover a lot of different styles and tastes and seem to be endless in possibilities. These designs go a step past the basic crafting skills and utilize a few techniques that are atypical in the basic levels.
I say that the Intermediate patterns run the gamut because the skill levels tend to vary. Some of these patterns are entirely more difficult and time consuming than others. Patience will become more of a necessity, as will rubber bands and supplies.
Understand that the child is going to make some mistakes and the rubber bands are going to be needed. Once a child has mastered the intermediate patterns, it gets even zanier, as the expert levels take weeks to create.
Luckily, I have found several easy-to-understand videos, mostly created by kids the same age. These videos help speed up the crafting learning curve and show them where they are missing the mark. You may or may not know this, but your child is learning at a faster rate, when they are crafting because it requires outside-the-box thinking and stimulates their brain activity in ways that video games cannot.
Intermediate Level Patterns
Stock Up On These Rainbow Loom Supplies
This monster pack comes with 4,000 bands and 100 C-Clips for great looming action!
This lot of bands comes with both C and S Clips.
Expert Rainbow Loom Patterns
Not For The Faint Of Heart
Expert Rainbow Loom Patterns for seasoned veterans of crafting. The crafter should have several non-expert designs under their belt, before proceeding to tackle these designs.
Stocking up on as many different colored rubber bands as you can find, will give your designs some depth and a more broad color palette.
It's important to know that kids sometimes get angry on this level and become frustrated because the design is either taking them too long to create or is too difficult to complete.
Either way, if the "heat" is too much for them, strongly consider they drop back down to the Intermediate Level and tackle a few more designs. After all, it's your pocketbook that deals with the mistakes, right?
The search for uniquely colored rubber bands begins to unfold, as well as super sweet deals on rubber bands. In my opinion, Amazon is going to give you more bang for your buck and save you time and gas money, driving all over town, looking high and low for these things.
Rainbow Loom Has Growing Pains
Lack Of Supply Will Create Amazing Demand
The holiday season is inching forward and before we all know it and the retail frenzy will start. Much like the Cabbage Patch and Tickle Me Elmo insanity, Rainbow Looms will bring about the same results. Manufacturers have not been able to keep up with the rabid demand for the supplies and accessories that are needed to craft Rainbow Loom bracelets and jewelry.
Even during the summer months, kids were joining Looming Clubs and giving each other advice and new pattern ideas. The amount of rubber bands that are used for this hobby is staggering to me. I tend to be a nut for the obscure or abstract and hunting for weird colored bands or bands that have patterns is what I like to try to find.
Part of a person's individuality and character can be seen in the things they create or flair they possess. Anybody can put together a red, white and blue bracelet. How do you make that bracelet unique with your own signature? I've seen some videos that incorporate soda pop tops into the design. Still others have jingle jangles that create noise, when the person moves.
Either way, finding the rare gems to make your jewelry stand out is an important aspect, as you move up to more experienced designs.
The owners of Rainbow Loom definitely did not take into account that this phenomenon would grow as fast and as quickly as it did. Lack of supply could be a major problem for them if it's not handled before the holiday season, as even more people will be looking for the supplies and have the company and branded logo on their minds.
By taking one look at Rainbow Looms on Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook, one can see just how popular this has become. I have zero desire to learn about looming, yet I found myself inspired and amazed by some of the creations these kids have made.
I found one video, made by a 12 year old, that has over 4 million views. That's a lot of views for any one video, much less one created by a tween. The more popular loomers have even taken the step of starting their first business venture. Cool parents are teaching their children about how to run a business, philanthropy and handling money, in general.
There are so many benefits to Rainbow Loom that go unnoticed in our society. Kidpreneurialism is a new type of business owner and it does my heart proud to see this happen. Rainbow Looming is definitely better than flipping Now & Later candies or Cinnamon Sticks to kids on the playground during recess.
If you are looking for something to keep your kid busy, I can think of no other potential hobby than Rainbow Looming. There are a lot of life lessons that can be taught through this enterprise and if you played your cards right, this could be a great way for you to bond with your child.