Friendship bracelet, meet your grown-up cousin! This isn’t my first pass at making jewelry. As a crafty kid, I would spend my summer afternoons weaving friendship bracelets in all sorts of shapes and colors. I still love them as an adult but to prepare for my upcoming summer trip, I was looking for something a bit more subtle than a flashy bracelet. If you love rattan everything (and who could blame you, it’s an amazing material), you’ll probably be as delighted as me to find out you can make your own DIY rattan bangle!
This is a simple bracelet that looks great when paired with gold bangles. The contrast of the woven texture and shiny metal looks so summery it makes me want to run to the beach right now! And the best news is that all you need is a few pieces of rattan to get started.
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To make this DIY Rattan Bangle, you’ll need…
- Thick round rattan (size #3 or #4 / 2.25 to 2.75mm)
- Thin round rattan (size #1 or #2 / 1.5 to 1.75mm)
- Masking tape
Find more materials here 👇
Step 1: Create the bangle structure
To start off, cut a piece of thick rattan reed and create a loop. You should be able to fit your hand through the loop easily. Once you have the right length for your own hand, cut 2 more lengths. Stick the 3 reeds on a piece of masking tape at around 2/5 to 1/2″ distance (1 to 1.2cm). Wrap the masking tape around the rattan to keep them in place.
Step 2: Start weaving in the thin rattan
Now, separate a few reeds of thin rattan from your bundle. Rattan is a vine so the reeds are REALLY long, several meters sometimes! Take a few reeds and soak them underwater for a minute or two until the rattan is pliable. To tell if your rattan is ready, bend the reed: it should curve smoothly without breaking.
Next, take your reeds out of the water and keep them covered with a moist cloth while you work. This will prevent the rattan from drying out – which happens quickly when the rattan is this thin!
To start weaving, simply place a thin reed over the middle stake (the thick rattan in the middle held by the tape) and start weaving over, under, over on one pass, then under, over, under on the next pass.
Step 3: Changing reeds when you run out
Despite the incredible lengths of rattan reeds can achieve, you’ll most likely run out of your current reed at some point during your weaving session. No worries! Simply tuck the end at the back, behind the middle stake, and place the end of a new reed behind the same stake. Continue weaving in the same direction, acting as if the new reed is an extension of your previous reed.
Check that your new reed is still pliable before doing this. If needed, you can soak it again for a minute before inserting it into your weaving.
Step 4: Close the rattan bangle
Once you’ve woven the bangle until about 1″ (2.5cm) away from the end, stop weaving, leaving the reed tail hanging on the side, and remove the masking tape you stuck on the reeds at the beginning. Grab both ends and bend them to create a bangle shape. Work slowly to gently ease your weaving into a curved shape.
Overlap the ends like in the picture above and stick on a piece of masking tape to hold the bangle together.
Grab the rattan tail from where you left off and continue weaving as usual. This time, you have 6 stakes instead of 3 so you’ll weave over 2 stakes at a time: over 2, under 2, over 2 on one pass, then under 2, over 2, under 2 on the next pass.
When you reach the masking tape, remove it and continue weaving until you close the bracelet. Stick the end of your rattan reed behind the middle stake, and cut it short. Inspect the bangle to clean up small fibers and cut short other reeds that might be poking out (from swapping reeds for example) and voila!