Ever since I read how to do this in a magazine when I was eight, I've always enjoyed making pipe cleaner (aka Chenille stick) bracelets for myself and others. I even made ones in my school colors for my 5th grade class, and they were extremely popular (I ran out within five minutes).
The best part about these is that they don't take long to make, and you can personalize them however you want! Not only can you use any color combination, but you can also hang small objects off the ends, if you're that crafty. You can even wear them however you want: on your wrist, on your ankle, or (if you cut the sticks right) even perhaps a choker. You can be as simple or crafty as you want with these.
This Instructable will show you how to twist your own bracelets, but pictures will only be provided for the three-strand method. The two-strand method is far more straightforward and doesn't really need too many pictures. This Instructable will also tell you how to make your bracelet the right size for you
Step 1: Preparation
Gather as many strands as you want (for the purposes of this Instructable, grab two or three). Place them next to each other and hold them together with one hand, as the second picture shows. Make sure the tops of the sticks are in line.
How I normally start is by twisting the strands at the top, as seen in the third picture. This is a good way to keep the sticks in place while you twist and is an inevitability anyway. To do this, hold the sticks together near the top, and use your other hand to twist the sticks around each other. Make sure they go all the way around at least once; I normally do twice, just to be safe. Nothing special here.
Step 2: Twisting/ Braiding
So, as mentioned earlier, there are slightly different ways of doing this depending on the number of strand you have.
1. Take either strand and loop it around the other (note: if you only move one strand, the colors will not look blended. You should loop on strand and then the other, like a 2-section braid, to get the mixed color look)
2. If you have a good twist in the top, you can also just grab a both strands and criss-cross them tightly. This can be done with two or one hand, depending on your skill. This way is faster and less likely to curve as much as the first method.
1. Braid it like you would hair (if you know how to do that). Take the strand that ends up in the middle and place it over the right strand. That strand is now the middle strand. Move it over the left strand. Keep going right and left until you reach the bottom.
2. You can technically just twist them around, too. Braiding just looks better in most cases.
Notes- length of design
You can adjust the length of the twist or braid by keeping the strands downward (longer) or by twisting them tighter with the stands pointing outwards as you do so (shorter).
When You Reach the Bottom
When you have a small amount of stick left at the bottom, twist them together at the bottom like you did for the top. Make sure the ends of either side are either pointing straight out to the side or are tucked into the inside.
Step 3: Sizing and Application
Obviously, chenille sticks are too large for you to just twist the ends together and wear unless you want a necklace or something.
This is my fool-proof way of making sure you get the right size. If you are making the bracelet for someone else, get their actual wrist to do this on. You can use measurements, but I freehand this and don't know the exact math behind that, sorry.
This is harder then doing it on someone else, but it's the way I know best so you're ok. Hold one end of the stick in the pointer finger of the hand you are testing on and pin it either in your palm or in your thumb. Make a sort of pseudo-fist to hold it in, like in the first picture. Hold the other end with your other hand and loop it around the testing hand.
The way I test size is not by adjusting wrist. If you are doing a clasp-free bracelet (which I am), then the best way to determine size is to tighten or loosen based on whether you can get it off your hand in some way. Moving the bracelet in and out while adjusting the bracelet is the best. Stop when you reach the tightest place you can comfortably get the bracelet off. Pinch the two ends together with a pointer finger and thumb or with some sort of clip, like in the second picture.
Doing this on someone else is much easier. Have the other person shape their hand as if they were taking off a bracelet: fingers straight out and together, with the thumb and pinky slightly tucked underneath. Take one end of the strands on one hand and loop the bracelet around their kuckles with the other hand.Move the bracelet up and down the hand, adjusting and stopping when you reach the tightest size they can comfortably take the bracelet off at. Be sure to ask them for feedback on how they think size is. Pinch the two ends together with fingers or a clip and take it off their wrist like in the second picture.
Note that there is leftover. You can keep it or cut most of it (if you cut it, do leave enough behind for at least one twist around). My wrist is super small and I have never cut the sticks, so any wrist length shouldn't require cutting. (Oh gosh, that sounds so bad but I'm not sure how else to put it.)
Then you just twist the excess around the original bracelet. When you finish this step, make sure the ends are tucked into the inside of the bracelet, along the bracelet pattern. Normally sticks are flexible and can do this, but if it's not working out then try twisting tighter or more loosely or cut to a desired length (this is why it is better to not cut right away). This is actually a very important safety thing. You can't have sticks point outwards, and you don't want wrists being poked or scratched when one wears the bracelet.
The bracelet should then fit on your or the other person's wrist and look pretty awesome. Feel free to leave a comment if you have questions or suggestions.