Zen and the Art of the Rainbow Loom

rainbow loom

The last thing that I wanted in my house was a Rainbow Loom.

I knew it was all the rage among my son’s friends. Jasper would mention how so-and-so had a rainbow loom or had learned how to make a new pattern. He would come home with gifts of bracelets and rings from friends at school. He would make bracelets during playdates at a friend’s house.

He asked me if we could get one for home. I said no.

It’s not that I didn’t want my son to have a Rainbow Loom per se. It wasn’t because I didn’t want him to have a creative outlet or to have a toy that all his friends had. It wasn’t because I was being a mean mommy.

Simply put – I didn’t want those little rubber bands all over my house.

We had been through this before with Perler Beads aka fuze beads aka frizzly beads. (What are they really called??) My kids love making projects with Perler beads. They love making new projects and designs and then watching as the beads magically melt together under the heat of an iron. It’s a great way to develop hand-eye coordination. Plus, it keeps them quiet for about 30 minutes.

That is, until one of them inevitably knocks the bowl of beads onto the floor.

perler beads

Have you seen these beads? They are plastic cylinders that are about a quarter inch long and come in many different colors. I think that there’s a special magnetic force hidden inside the cylinder because they are instantly drawn to the farthest nooks and crannies of our house. For weeks, I would find Perler beads everywhere – under the table, under the piano, under the rug, under the couch cushions.


So, when I thought about the prospect of bringing a Rainbow Loom into our home with all those small colorful rubber bands? No way. My blood pressure started to rise just thinking about it.

A few weeks ago, Jasper was invited to a friend’s house for a playdate. I joined them later in the evening and we all had dinner together. When I arrived, Jasper greeted me with yet another Rainbow Loom creation dangling from his fingers. I was glad that he could get his fill of bracelet making at someone else’s house.

We sat down together and he snuggled in close to me as he continued to work on his bracelet. I watched as his fingers moved methodically in small, precise movements. I asked Jasper to show me how to make a bracelet.

“Do you want to make a fishtale bracelet, Mommy?”

“Is that what you are making?”

“Yes. It’s my favorite pattern.”

“I love it. Can you show me how to make one?”

He carefully took a rubber band, twisted it into a figure eight and placed it across two of my fingers. He then stretched two more rubber bands on top. With his little fingers, he grabbed the bottom rubber band and looped it over the top and repeated the motion on the other side. He added another rubber band to the top of the pile. Repeat.

Loop. Loop. New rubber band. 

Loop. Loop. New rubber band. 

rainbow loom box

I found an easy rhythm. I could feel my heart rate slow down. The lengthy to-do list and snippets of conversations, worries and thoughts that had been building in my head started to fade into the background as my mind focused on this present moment and task at hand.

It reminded me of weaving friendship bracelets when I was in elementary school. I would be entranced by the intricate patterns and colors and would be obsessed with learning every weaving pattern. I would spend hours sorting through my stash of embroidery thread to find just the right color combination.

Loop. Loop. New rubber band. 

Loop. Loop. New rubber band.

I made my first Rainbow Loom bracelet that night.

Later that week, Jasper mentioned the Rainbow Loom again. This time, my husband and I decided to buy it for him. Actually, I think that we bought it for both of us.

Since entering our house, the Rainbow Loom has not created the level of stress that I had imagined it would. Instead, I find myself drawn to the little rubber bands on the days when I feel overwhelmed and anxious. I find myself sitting at the dining table weaving a bracelet when I need a break in my day or when I need to calm my mind.

Maybe those little rubber bands aren’t so bad after all.

Have you made a rainbow loom bracelet?



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  1. kathryn says

    from across the country in vancouver bc canada the hometown of lululemon which is how i landed on your blog and a hop skip and a jump away from icy water surfing (tofino) we are also connected by the rainbow loom. all the rage with the grade 5 boys primarily at my grade 5 son’s french immersion school. the rubber bands are everywhere. yes they are! the boys have rainbow loom bees at recess, at lunch, at afterschool care. reading your post, maybe they know a thing or two about the art of being present. thanks for your share. maybe we can penpal in rainbow loom creations! we have millions (ok – 20) of completed rainbow loom projects around the house waiting for another little wrist or arm to enjoy.

  2. says

    That is such a great outcome and the best I’ve heard about these rainbow looms! Luckily my kids are not interested in them (not sure why?) but they LOVE fuse beads – that’s what we call them – but mostly do them at school. They’ve been begging me to get them for home and now I may need to reconsider. Thanks!
    Allie recently posted..I’m Everywhere FockerMy Profile

  3. says

    I have no babies, but lots of friends who do, and thus a collection of lovingly made Rainbow Loom Bracelets. I love them!

    As a kid I was crafty (it still creeps out every now and then) and I loved making bracelets, rugs, wall art, knitting, you name it! So this would have been right up my alley. Heck it probably still is! I just can’t justify buying one for myself haha
    Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail) recently posted..Pilates Reformer ClassMy Profile

  4. says

    My nephew got a loom for Christmas but had never made any bracelets. It took three adults, several youtube videos, and many anti-zen moments to figure out the basics…and then my engineering-brained husband saved the day and made like 8 bracelets in one afternoon. I still can’t do it! :-)
    Carrie recently posted..Honu is Hawaiian for Sea TurtleMy Profile

  5. says

    What a good story to read Christine! I think I’ve seen these products because my nieces are all about some rubber band craft so I’m guessing it’s the same one. Like you, it reminded me very much of the friendship bracelets and keychains I’d make as a kid. It really is relaxing getting into a zone and focusing.

    You also bring up a good point about purchases. My 4yo has been asking for things now. Little things, and not even because his friends have it or because it’s all the rage. Stuff like paint, or stickers. I’m one of those parents that’s really trying not to give in to every request lest I raise self-entitled kids, but I do realize I have to balance it out with obliging once in a while, especially if the benefits are tremendous, and the costs minimal.
    Nina recently posted..9 Ways to Get Your Kids to ListenMy Profile

  6. says

    Rainbow looming is SO relaxing. I like making the starburst pattern which I found on YouTube. So many great patterns to be found. I may or may not have hid the loom because of the rubber bands getting everywhere and their inability to keep them color organized.
    Tara Newman recently posted..6 Ways to Choose HappinessMy Profile

  7. says

    So funny, the Rainbow Loom and the Perler beads both came into our lives within just a few weeks of one another. And yes, we now have tiny, little cylinders and itty bitty rubber bands, not to mention a bajillion Rainbow Loom bracelet and melted Perler bead shapes, scattered into every nook and cranny.
    But I’m with you, I love me some Rainbow Loom. My daughter generally puts the rubber bands on and although she can remove the bracelet herself, usually asks me to do it. And I secretly kinda love doing it. It is incredibly calming.
    We have yet to make a fishtail one but with your description might give it a go!
    Tricia recently posted..Wearing cute shoesMy Profile

    • says

      Fishtails are fun to make and easy. Now my son has started watching YouTube videos on how to make more intricate bracelets and it’s hard for me to keep up!!

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