Low-tech fun that's a snap

Low-tech fun that's a snap

Are you spending too much time on your smartphone? Use your time more wisely and create something cool - rubber-band jewellery.

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Young people make rubber-band bracelets and share them with their peers.
Young people make rubber-band bracelets and share them with their peers.
Photo: Fiona Tang
Junior Reporter
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In these hi-tech days, it's hard to believe making jewellery out of rubber bands would be such a hit, and yet it seems to be.

Instead of playing computer games or smartphone apps, many young people are making rubber-band bracelets in their free time, and sharing them with friends.

"I spend less time on my computer, as I have a new hobby to focus on. I like to discover new techniques to make rubber-band accessories, and give them to my friends as a little gift," says Mimi Lam, 17, who goes to St Margaret's Co-educational English Secondary School.

Ria Sadarangani, a primary student at Bradbury School, says she finds satisfaction in the craft, as she can do it herself without asking for any help. "Making bracelets is a nice and fun way to spend time, too."

Many rubber-band weaving kits are now available in Hong Kong. It all began with Rainbow Loom, created by Cheong Choon Ng, a Malaysian immigrant in the US. The kit consists of a plastic pegboard, a crochet hook, C-clips, and lots of rubber bands. By looping knots on the pegboard in different ways, you can make a variety of accessories.

Rainbow Loom began to spread thanks to the power of social media. It took Hong Kong by storm, and became a popular after-school activity.

"They're really fun and easy to make," says Mimi. "I can make at least one bracelet in one 30-minute train ride. There is a large variety of colours, and I can mix and match different colour combinations in the bracelets I make."

Although Rainbow Loom is targeted at children aged eight to 14, the craft kit also attracts a lot of adults. Local guru Fiona Tang has taken rubber-band weaving to a new level by making handbags and figurines. "I learned about Rainbow Loom during my business trip to the US last year. I was in a craft store, and loads of kids came to buy the Rainbow Loom kit. I bought one for my nephew, and we tried it out together. That's how I got interested," says Tang.

Tang started to post tutorial videos on YouTube when she came back to Hong Kong, and created a local Rainbow Loom community. "Back then, most of the tutorial videos on YouTube were in English. I posted my own online videos [in Cantonese] so that more local fans could understand and try the advanced level."

Tang enjoyed the craft so much, she decided to make it easier to access in Hong Kong. "Now there are many counterfeit products sold online and at stores in Hong Kong," she says. "The quality is unsatisfactory, and the rubber bands break really easily. I got authorisation from Rainbow Loom so that local fans can buy the genuine products."

She also finds the craft a good alternative to using her smartphone, Tang says. "It's better than playing video games. I used to play Candy Crush all the time, but now I enjoy working on my creations," she says.

It also builds confidence and patience. "I'm really not that good at crafting, but this weaving kit is quite easy to learn with," Tang says. "As the weaving process can be really long, I need to be careful and avoid missing any steps."

There's also the social aspect of making the jewellery. "We share our pieces and techniques with each other," Tang says. "It's a great chance to make friends who share the same interest."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Low-tech fun that's a snap

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