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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Loom bands: Rainbow Loom, off-brands, and how to spot bad quality ones

Today I'm going to share my recent addiction. As mentioned in my previous posts, I was on vacation in the Philippines last month. There I discovered loom bands! For those of you who don't know, these are rubber bands loomed into bracelets, but you can also make charms and figurines. Both kids and adults make and wear them... in the Philippines at least. Here in Ireland, only kids make these. Anywho, let's begin!
These are all the bands, hooks and loom boards I own:
UV changing: right pile shows it turns purple under the sun
The 3 plastic hooks on the right come from band packets
Each pack comes with C clips (Rainbow Loom) and S clips (off-brand bands).
S and C clips for securing bracelets or charms
There are different brands of bands. The most popular and reliable is Rainbow Loom.
I have rose jelly, glitter white and gold, tie-dye pink and white, opaque turquoise, glow in the dark, mixed jelly tie-dye, and skin colour. These retail in the Philippines at 180pesos or 3, the glow in the dark are 210pesos or 3.50. In Ireland you can only get them at Claire's Accessories for 6. That's around the same price as ordering them on Rainbow Loom's website for $2.50 plus $6.23 shipping. 
Here's how stretchy they are:
Some say that the less stretchy a band is, the more it'll bounce back to its original shape after it gets stretched. Some brands can stretch up to 6 pegs, that's why Rainbow Loom markets theirs for having such property. But that's not quite so:
The left column are the bands that I just stretched. See how different they look after. 
But that doesn't really bother me much. I like Rainbow Loom because their bands don't snap as easily. The cheaper ones you get in dollar stores or in eBay are a pain to work with. I've lost count how many times I had to start a bracelet all over again because a band broke. 

With that said, here are examples of cheaper bands:
 In the Philippines you can get these at no more than 2 for 5 packs. But here in Ireland they retail at around 2-3 per pack. They're ok quality. My problem with these is that each pack sometimes have varying shades and size of rubber bands. Check out this pack of brown bands:
But they're ok since they don't break as easily as those you get in kits like these:
The DIY brand was my first loom kit. It's a nice beginner kit. But I don't like it because the rubber bands are very very fragile. They snap easily. Also the board pegs are so spaced out that they stretch the bands, causing them to discolour or snap. The left board, which comes with most kits, is much longer than the Rainbow Loom board despite having the same amount of pegs.
Left board comes with the kit
Left: stretched. Right: original
But not all off-brand bands are low quality. The left pack is from an accessory shop in the Philippines called Egg. It can only stretch up to 3 pegs. The right pack are glow in the dark bands, which can stretch up to 7 pegs.
Yet notice that even after being stretched, they still bounce back to their original shape.
Here's a pack I got from a pound shop (dollar store). It can stretch to 6 pegs and not lose its shape. 
So how do you spot bad quality bands?
Here's a mini guide. 
The left band comes from the DIY kit. The middle band is from Egg. The right one is form Rainbow Loom. Notice that the DIY band has that ^ curl, while the other two are perfectly round.
More often than not, that's where the breakage happens. The DIY band is also much thinner than the other two. The thinner the band, the more likely it'll snap. 

The point is there are cheaper (but still good quality) alternatives to popular brands like Rainbow Loom. You just have to watch out for them. With good bands, anyone can make loom band bracelets and other things. I'll leave you guys with a picture of all the bracelets I've made so far.
I post all my other loom creations and new ones on my instagram: @moreruki


  1. My little sistor do a lot of things with loom bands but I'm terrible with them jaja

    I'm a new follower, here's my blog if you want to see it :3

    1. hi there! thanks for following! i followed back : )

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I've always wanted to try looming but never got around to it~ *u* All the looms you made are BEAUTIFUL!!
    ~Kiyomi xx