rag jewelry

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Okay.  For all of those looking to make some rag jewelry, here you go.
First of all, I wanted to show you where this idea stemmed from.  This is a photo from TOAST.  A super cool catalog.  With super cool photography.  I, of course, fell in love with her bracelets.
And then, some girls at the pool where making them.  And one sweet girl gave me a whole bunch of bandannas and told us to cut what we want.

So, here is what I learned as we went along. 
First of all, bandannas probably work best.  Because the pattern is on both sides.  But I don't see any reason why a light weight fabric wouldn't work, also.
Cut your bandanna in a strip.  About 1 1/2 inches wide.  And put that rotary cutter down.  No perfect cuts here.  Just use scissors and make sure you cut it all "choppy". (It will fray better.)  Kids do a great job at this.  Just don't give them your sharp ginghers.
Then, get the strip wet.  I lied to my children and told them that they work best if you use a natural body of water.  A lake.  A river.  A creek.  An ocean.  A pool.  (Not natural? Really?)
Anything but the kitchen sink.  It just made it seem like a better summer project if you make it outside.  (I got this one wet in the kitchen sink.)
And then, twist.  It works really great if you put one end in your mouth.  And hold it with your teeth.  And then hold the other end, and start twisting.  Not too tight, or it will curl.  And not too loose, or it will lay too flat.
And then tie it on the body part of choice.  Wrist, ankle, or neck. I am sticking to my wrist, but Libby now has every spot covered.  DO NOT TIE TOO TIGHT.  They shrink a little when they dry.
Then, cut the excess fabric from the knot, and let the fraying begin!
I can't wait to see if this one will fray.  You know.  Since I used tap water.  :)
Enjoy!
(For the top photo, Libby wrapped one strip twice.)

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137 comments

  1. okay. that's simple. and fun. and super cute.

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  2. lovely! i'm going to make a bazzilion! oh and maybe braid a few!

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  3. Such a great idea! I like the idea of braiding from v and co too!

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  4. Oh I want to do this!!

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  5. My son has been wearing these for years only he takes old tee-shirts and cuts a strip and then ties it on his wrist and then trims the ends. He basically wears them until they fall off and then ties on a few more.

    The jersey fabric of a tee naturally ROLLS so there is no twisting involved and they are solid colors (more conducive to the fellas).

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  6. These are too cool! Thx for sharing! I'm going to do these with my kiddos!

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  7. thank you! we have bandanas ready to cut!
    of course, my kids aren't allowed to wear jewelry to school (stupid rules) so i am going to insist they put it on their ankles so the socks will cover them....

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  8. I love this idea! But then again, I'm also a big fan of Toast, so you're talking to the right demographic here.

    My poor husband already thinks I'm a crazy boho-chick because I often tie bits of pretty Noro around my wrists as bracelets. I'd love to try this with scraps of Liberty Tana Lawn.

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  9. really cute! My kids will love these.

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  10. Anonymous7/30/2008

    Thanks so much for the info my girls can't wait to make them. AHHH the ocean air should be just perfect.

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  11. oh fun and super simple. somehow they just look all perfect for summer!

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  12. so doing this! l. will love it. i love it already!

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  13. You read my mind - thanks so much for posting the instructions (and those photos are so colourful and summery too). I can`t wait to make some of these on our next home day.

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  14. How fun! Thanks for posting this sweet, simple idea!

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  15. Hi! I'm fairly new to your blog, but enjoy it so much I've put a link on mine so family and friends can share in it, too (please let me know if that's uncomfortable). I loved these bracelets when I saw yesterday's post. Thanks for the "how-to!" My niece & nephew would love these. And I agree with many others...your photos are awesome.

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  16. Thanks for saving me the "info" search!! Now the girls and I can adorn ourselves with rags ... wait until I tell them!!

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  17. I just stopped and bout a whole bunch of bandanas after I dropped the kids off at camp and already made myself some! My kids will have them everywhere later today when they get back!

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  18. Anonymous7/30/2008

    Very cute.

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  19. I have been following your blog for a few weeks and must say I just love it! Thanks for posting such wonderful, creative ideas - I look forward to trying this one out soon.

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  20. such a cute, fun idea. thanks for sharing!

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  21. lovely pics and great rag bracelets,
    I have to say I love your blog!!

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  22. What a great idea! We're totally going to try this. :0)

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  23. Thanks for sharing such a great idea. I have a teenage daughter who's moved beyond a lot of the old crafts we used to do together. She has a drawer full of bandanas, and I can see her and her friends having a blast with these.

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  24. this looks so much easier than the ones I found on ehow. Can't wait to twist one up.

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  25. So cute! Thanks for sharing!

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  26. kirsten7/30/2008

    how fun! thanks for the tutorial. will be doing this with tom. he'll love it. start a new craze at school!

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  27. Haha! @tap water!

    Thanks for showing us! I was eyeing these too! ;o)

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  28. Brilliant and they look so summery!

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  29. I love that! I am going to make some with my daughter, what a perfect summer thing!

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  30. Such a fun and cute idea! I haven't even heard of rag jewelry. I will have to ask my daughter if she has. I have no doubt she would love to do this.

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  31. Hey there Leslie,
    Looks like you had a nice time away. Those look fun and easy to make - I'm going to try them. Thanks for the instructions.

    Tanya

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  32. Thanks for the directions. I think my daughter and I will make some today.

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  33. Hmmm, may need to make a bandana run... in between all the knitting!

    Happy knitting-
    ali

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  34. So cool. Perfect for wearing in and out of "natural" bodies of water all summer! :)

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  35. i am totally doing this.
    :0)

    {and maybe, as a bonus,
    my almost 13 year old
    will think i'm cool again...}

    heehee

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  36. love love love these. im sure my 3yr old diva daughter will have pants/sleeve of bandana bracelets before the day over. thanks for posting :)

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  37. perfectly lovely. i saw the photo in the toast catalogue and have been thinking about these ever since. i can't think of a better summer activity, and might just have to rearrange my weekend plans around them. :)

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  38. Speaking as an old hippy chick...we used to make these, but we cut the strips on the bias, rolled them and then added beads, charms and whatever else we could think of.

    I love that all these ideas keep getting recycled. It's the perfect summer project!

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  39. Very, very cool! I think I'll be making some tomorrow! And I love the orange bandana with the pinky/red flowers - I have the same one!

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  40. Cool idea, Les! I especially like it because it's something that boys will wear, not just girls. Thanks!

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  41. my daughter will love these! thanks for the idea and mini tutorial!
    :D

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  42. Thank you - I will have fun making these with my babies!

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  43. Hi Leslie,
    Ben and I made some yesterday - FUN! I posted pics on my site if you get a chance to take a peek. Thanks again for the neat idea passed on.

    Have a good weekend,
    Tanya

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  44. Thanks for sharing the 'how-to' pics.

    So you just wear them until you are done and cut them off?

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  45. My sisters would love this! :) So glad you had a great vaca!

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  46. thanks so much for the how-to, leslie! i've already made the bandanna run, bought the kiddy scissors so they can be cut choppy, and now need to wait impatiently for my niece to come back for a visit. hmm...wonder if a 40-something can get away with wearing these? i do live at the beach, so i'm thinking yes indeedy.

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  47. kristin8/02/2008

    Thanks for the idea! My sons made rag jewelry with their cousins who are visiting for the week...they felt like a club :-)

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  48. That reminds me of those woven cotton bracelets everyone used to wear when I was a kid in the 1970s. They came unshrunk, like Levis used to, and when you put one on, you had to soak it in water to shrink it to your wrist. Then the only way to get it off was to cut it. I coveted one of those desperately, but never got one. Oh, the disappointments of childhood!

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  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  50. Ok, we're camping/canoeing/kayaking down a river this weekend and now I know what we will be doing during a break! Rag jewelry!

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  51. How creative! I've never seen that before!

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  52. I need to find cute bandanas. I never see them anywhere.

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  53. I love these! It's a great summer project. And I like the "no kitchen sink" rule, too.

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  54. I did some with my daughter (age 5) I had more fun than she did and went all out--she didn't like that they were "wet"...
    :)

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  55. Thanks for sharing this - I think we'll try it out.

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  56. This is wonderful! I can think of a million ways to embelish them too!

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  57. Thanks for the idea- I love it! My sons (ages 2 and 6) and I did this together this afternoon- I made some felted yarn cord too and am going to combine everything with some beads.

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  58. This is a fabulous idea! I love stuff like this - I'm not one for spending much money on jewellery, and these are just so bohemian too!!

    I will be making one for myself later!

    Thanks for sharing :)

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  59. Every year on the first day of school, my students make a bracelet, anklet, necklace, etc. I've always used a bead and some hemp. This year you've given me a fun new twist (no pun intended!) Thanks!

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  60. Cute, cute, cute; thanks for the tut!

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  61. Anonymous8/21/2008

    This is such a great idea! My girls will LOVE this! Thanks for sharing!

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  62. As an incurable scrap-hoarder, I love this! I can't wait to sort through my stash - I knew they'd be useful for SOMETHING! ;) Toast is such lovely inspiration, too.

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  63. P.S. Have you considered ripping the fabric? That would start the fraying process, giving the jewellry a "worn" look from the start. Start the cut with a snip of the scissors, then rip away!

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  64. I read your "Summer Is" entry at Uncommon Grace a few minutes ago, followed the link to your flickr photos, saw these bracelets, followed your link to the blog, ran outside to make myself a couple in the dark (the sun set a few hours ago, but there's a kiddie pool by the back door!) and now I can't wait to see how they fray. These look pretty neat even without the fraying, though. Oh, how I love instant gratification jewelry!

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  65. This is the cutest project. I found it while researching rag/swag garlands...

    I know someone looking to reuse fabric scraps..this is just the right project!

    Thank you for your refreshing blog. Just being here is like an oasis... LOL

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  66. Anonymous10/29/2008

    Hey, thanks for posting directions!!! I looked all over for how to do this..

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  67. So cute! I'm definitely going to try, could add charms or beads throughout. Thanks!

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  68. apparently i've been thinking of this post for a year now, because today for some reason i just had to make myself a rag bracelet. i made it in the lake in honor of your girls. if you want to see a pic i posted about it on up up, the blog. : )

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  69. thanks so much! i have been looking for how to do this online & couldnt find it anywhere! thanks a bunch they are so cute!

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  74. I love this! That would be so fun to make at the pool with some friends! i like the way it frays over time, makes it seem like a perfect summer craft. You are supposed to make a wish when you tie it on, and when it gets old and falls off, the wish will come true. very cute and since bandannas are cheap,im going to make a ton! <3

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  76. Sivapreethi5/29/2011

    oh boy this is super cool..

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  82. Anonymous10/15/2011

    this is really cool--what about using old tie dyed tee shirts-- and even cooler to braid and embellish them as others said--thanks!

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  84. My pinched spouse already thinks I'm a gaga boho-chick because I often tie bits of pretty Noro around my wrists as bracelets. I'd bed to try this with scraps of Leave Tana Lawn.

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  92. The rag jewelry is pretty neat. I wonder if it will be the next fad in arts and crafts for people trying to make things to sell.

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  93. I love this idea!!! I've never heard of it before, but I'm going to make, like, a million now and give them to everyone I know! Thank you so much.

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  94. An outstanding post on the topic of Rag Jewelry. Never knew rag jewelry can provide this much attractiveness.

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  95. Paula Kendall5/25/2012

    What a great project. This is perfect for me and my granddaughter. It's something she can share with her friends.

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  96. Super Fun I will try and it looks easy!!!!!:)

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  97. hi,
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  99. The jersey fabric of a tee naturally ROLLS so there is no twisting involved and they are solid colors (more conducive to the fellas).

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  100. oh I love it! i have just the yarn for this. I am off to knit!

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  102. Anonymous7/18/2013

    these are sooooo cute, I braided one for my wrist and rolled one for my ankle ready for the summer :) thanks

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  103. mikkel7/22/2013

    looks awesome :D can you wear them as anklets if you're a boy? cause i really want to but i dont know how other people will respond to it...

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  104. Such a great idea! I like the idea of braiding from v and co too! game hot

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