Monday, November 8, 2010

Totally tubular.

So remember when I made a bangle bracelet out of a vacuum hose from my 1986 Isuzu Trooper?

Shall we have the super easy tutorial?  Woot!

Start with a rubber hose, some wire, and some random fibers, trims and ribbons.  I used rebar wire, but any hefty craft or hardware store wire is fine.

Thread the wire through your tube.  Make a loop on one end, then wrap the other end around it to close up your bangle.  It will be teardrop-shaped at this point.

Adjust the teardrop-shape to make it rounder.  That's the base of the bangle.  Then begin tying on fibers, ribbons and trims...

Layer on a bunch of pretty stuff, to make a freeform tassel.

If you like the look at this stage, you can stop there.  So easy, so cute!

Or you can embellish.  The cool thing about using a rubber tube is how embellishable it is.  By the way, embellishable is not a word.  At all.

I made a simple embellishment with some recycled denim and the plastic center part of a fake fleur.  Here are the bits and pieces:

I poked holes in each layer.  Then threaded a ribbon through all the layers, and around the bangle.  When cinched tight, the tube compresses a bit, just enough to hold your embellishment in place.  Then add a few more bits of trim and ribbon into the center, to fancy up your flower...

...and that's it!

Of course, you may not have access to an automotive vacuum hose...but here's a whole other, fun idea using clear plastic tubing.

Start with a length of tubing and a piece of wire.  Make a loop on one end of the wire.

Gather some fun ribbons and fibers.  Use another piece of wire with a hook on it to pull them through the tube, like this:

So now you have your fibers showcased inside the tube.

Poke your wire-with-a-loop-on-one-end in underneath the fibers:

Thread it all the way through, and close up the bangle by wrapping the wire tail around the loop you already made.

And ta-da, that's a cute fiber-and-ribbon bangle!

Embellish with a flower if you wish, tying on several layers and cinching them tight as before:

How pretty is that?

Here's another version.  Instead of a closed loop, bend a hook on the free end of the wire, so you can open and close the bangle:

I added some chain and silver beads to that one.  I like it, it's kinda punk rockin'.

And one last idea - this is the easiest version of all.  Thread the fiber of your choice through the tube.  Here I used 2 knotted silk bracelets (found in a Chinatown gift shop):

Then I simply tied the ends together.  It's going to remain teardrop-shaped, because there's no wire inside with which to reshape the tube - but it's still pretty dang cute:

You could make a bunch of these in an absolute flash, great for party favors, stocking stuffers, etc.

Whew, that was a bit of a whirlwind, my house is now awash in bits of ribbon.  While I clean up, I suggest you take a crafting break.  Make something totally tubular and be fabulously rad.

Tip: I do not advocate removing a vacuum hose from your working vehicle, or the vehicle of anyone you love.  Doing so will result in your being unable to go to the craft store for ribbons.  Perhaps you have a crabby neighbor whose car is parked on the street nearby?  That's definitely the way to go.


  1. I like the clear tubing bangles a lot, but your disclaimer made me snort it was so good!

  2. Those bracelets are way rad! I have a couple of neighbours who seriously need to have their tubing removed. That didn't come out right... You know what I mean.

  3. Gnarly, Dude!
    Only YOU would be bodacious enough to use car parts for jewels, teehee!

    I'm lovin on the clear ones especially!

  4. how cute ideas...thanksssssssssss for sharing buddy...

  5. The clear tubes are so darn cool, I'm dead impressed. How DO you come up with this kind of stuff?

  6. Totally tubular, indeed! Another fabulous idea.