I have a nice watch which had a metal band that I stopped wearing. I realized it was because I didn't like the metal band in the summer time. I also was interested in wearing a watch again to have a better idea of the time when I went running or on my bike and didn't have my cell phone.
I came up with a quick and easy way to make a watch band with as few materials as possible. Since I have lots of punctured bike inner tubes I thought that they would work great as sports watch bands. you could do something similar with any kind of fabric though.
Step 1: Design
The first step was to come up with a plan for the watch band. I came up with two ideas. The first (which I ended up making) is just a simple loop and not adjustable while the second is based more off the NATO style straps and is adjustable. The danger with the first style is if you get the size wrong you have to remake it, but since it's very easy to make and costs next to nothing I decided that wasn't a big problem.
Step 2: Materials
The next step is to gather materials. I had a whole bunch of bike inner tubes that I threw in a bag figuring I could use them for something eventually. I usually patch a tube a couple times then switch to a new one. you only need a small section of a tube to make a watch strap but I gathered all my tubes and washed them all with soap and water before I started.
The only other material you'll need is the contact cement from a patch kit! it works great for sticking patches to tubes and equally great at sticking tubes together. I figure most people who have extra tubes lying around probably also have some extra little tubes of contact cement too.
I also used a pair of scissors and the little piece of sandpaper from a patch kit.
Step 3: Prepare Pieces of Tube
After you have your tubes washed you need to cut out the pieces for the watch band. I think the easiest way to do this is to first cut a tube in half so it's no longer a complete circle (I usually just cut the valve out) then slit it down it's length so you have basically a long rectangle of rubber to cut pieces from.
the width of the pieces should be equal to the distance between the "lugs" of the watch. usually it's between 18-24mm. you just need it so it will fit through where the pins of the watch attach a normal band. In my case it was 20mm.
the length of the pieces is size you want the band to be. I wrapped the tube around my wrist so it wasn't too tight and cut it there. this is very particular to each person. the tubes stretch so you pull the watch over your hand easily, you don't need to worry too much about adding any extra length for that. just make it comfortable on your wrist.
once you have two identical pieces cut lightly sand one side of each (I chose the inside of both pieces) so the glue will adhere better.
Step 4: First Glue Up
The next step is to do the first glue up.
apply contact cement to half the length of each piece on the side you've sanded. wait the appropriate time then stick them together and hold them tight. take care that the two pieces are lined up nicely, you should end up with one long piece that's 1.5x the length you need for your wrist and the right width to fit between your watch lugs.
once the glue has set you can thread the band through the pins of your watch to prepare for the next glue stage.
Step 5: Final Glue Up
As with the first glue up apply contact cement to the exposed sanded sides of the pieces then stick them together. you should have a nice loop now that works as a great watch band!
Once the glue up is done you have to remove the pins of the watch to remove the band, or just cut the band and make a new one. I adjusted my strap so the outside seam between the pieces was up against the watch body. This makes it look like one continuous piece and prevents the seam from getting caught on anything. The inside seam doesn't look very pretty but it's up against my wrist and I never notice it.
Step 6: Glamour Shots
now you should have something which looks like the attached pictures. it cleans easily with soap and water. I haven't had any problems with UV, but if it does start degrading it's cheap and easy to make another one.
you could also do this without the watch if you wanted a bracelet.
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