In this Instructable I will show you how to make Stretchy Hair Ties out of Tights.
I wanted to make my own Stretchy Hair Ties because I like to wear them on my wrist when they are not in my hair. Most hair ties are not very comfortable on your wrist because of the metal clasps or line of glue holding the ties together are scratchy. Also, hair ties are usually too small to be comfortable on an adult wrist.
You can customize them by adjusting the strip width, adding patterns with permanent markers, using tights that already have a pattern, or by braiding multiple strands together for a woven look.
They also can be be made for very cheap depending on if you have the materials already. It's also a great way to repurpose tights that have a hole or a small stain, just cut off those area's and use the rest of them.
They also hold hair very well and they don't seem to slip down as much as elastic hair ties.
Step 1: Materials Needed.
Opaque stretchy tights (cotton tights aren't recommended because they will fray.)*
Metal Ruler (can use a plastic one if you want, but I prefer metal when using a rotary cutter.)
Rotary Cutter (this makes the project much easier and produces crisper lines, but scissors can be used instead.)
Tape (only if using scissors to cut the strips.)
Permanent Marker (only needed if decorating the hair ties.)
Small rubber bands (only needed if doing the braided hair tie.)
*I choose to use baby sized tights because they are the right size for my wrist without needing to tie them off. However, if you have larger tights that you would like to use, I will show you your options for finishing them off as well.
Step 2: Remove Top of Tights and Toe Seam.
Position the tights on the cutting mat so that you can cut off their top. Place the metal ruler at the top end of the legs using the mat's ruler to make a straight cute. Run the rotary cutter on the edge of the meta ruler closest to the top of the tights. Press firmly so it can go through both layers. You will now have two leg sections.
If you are using scissors you can use the masking tape to mark where to cut so you don't leave marks on the material.
Next, Position one leg on the cutting mat so that the top already cut end is straight on the mat's ruler. Use the metal ruler to mark the end of the leg right before the toe seams. Use your cutting mats ruler again to make sure you are making a straight cut with the rotary tool. Do the same with the other leg of the tights.
Continue this process with any other tights you may have. I have a 3 pack of tights, so I had two more tops and four more toe seams to go.
Step 3: Choosing Your Strip Width.
You can choose whatever width for your ties that you would like. Remember that the tights will curl into themselves, so no matter what width you choose they will be approximately the same finished size.
However, the strip width greatly affects the tightness of the tie. The narrower the width, the looser the tie, the wider the width the tighter the tie. The pictures above show the approximate stretch of a 1"wide tie (my preference) versus a 2" wide tie.The 1" wide tie stretched approximately 50% more than the 2"wide tie. A 2" wide tie has the tendency to uncurl more.
I used half inch ties for the braided hair tie because of the extra stretch and narrowness needed for the braiding. Half inch ties would not give much hold for your hair, but they do look fine just as a bracelet. If you wanted to use them in your hair, you'd probably have to twist them in the center to double them up (as shown in the picture above.)
Step 4: Cutting the Strips.
Position the legs so that the tops are along on of the ruler lines on the mat. Use the metal ruler to mark the straight line at your desired width (for me it was 1"). Cut along the metal ruler with the rotary cutter. Keep cutting strips until you have reached the end of the tights. Your last piece may or may not be the same size of the others. If so, you can either discard the final one, or just have a slightly narrower hair tie.
One leg of tights gave me exactly eight 1" strips. For this tutorial I only cut up one leg of tights per color, so in total I have 24 hair ties from three legs.
I used the other legs of each color to experiment with the woven and patterned hair ties.
Step 5: Putting a Pattern On.
If you would like to add a pattern you should do it before stretching.
Take one of the strips and carefully place it around a form. I used the box the tights came in. Then use a permanent marker to draw a pattern. Stripes, dots, or tie dye effect work really well. Remember that the pattern will be slightly distorted and parts of it will curl under when you do the final stretching.
Step 6: Finishing the Strips.
Take a strip from your pile and put it between your pointer fingers. Clasp your pointer finger with your thumb and pull at least 5 times to stretch and form the ties. You may need to roll them a few times between your thumb and pointer finger to get them to roll evenly.
If you are using larger tights, a narrow width strip, or want a tighter hair tie, then you can also finish off the ties with a knot instead. To do this, stretch the strips as explained above. Then use scissors to cut the strip. Finish off with a knot at the end, making sure to tighten it well.
Also you can just double the tie up onto itself (as shown in last picture) when putting it into your hair so you don't have to wrap it around as many times.
Step 7: Braided Hair Tie.
The braided hair tie uses three half inch wide strips. You can do them in any color combination you like. I liked the look of one strand of each color.
Stretch your strips as described for the 1" hair ties. Then take a pair of scissors and snip each tie once to make three strands total.
You can use a rubber band to hold the top strands together temporarily while you are braiding them. Or you can use one of the strands to tie a knot that holds all of the strands together.To do that, take the three strands and place them next to each other. Take the right most strand (now called the knotting strand)and put it under the two other strands, leaving a small portion at the top. Take the top of the knotting strand and bring it over the two other strands, while keeping the bottom of the knotting strand under the two other strands. Twist up the bottom of the knotting strand so that it is pointing up and on top of the shorter piece of the knotting strand. Then take the short piece and feed it through the hole that was created between the two other strands. Take your finger under the knot to gently wiggle and push the knot up to the top. Then, while holding the knot, pull down on the string that made the knot to tighten it. If this is unclear look at the pictures above for more guidance.
Now for the braiding! Have someone hold the end of the strands or tape it to a desk so you can braid them together tightly and evenly. Braid until you reach the end of the strands.
To secure the end of the braid take the left most strand and wrap it around the back of the braid. Then bring it around the front and down through the hole it's made. Make sure that it goes down not up so that it sits right next to the other two strands. If this part is unclear, there are pictures above as well to guide you.
Sometimes one strand will be slightly longer, so take your scissors and trim the ends to the same length.
To attach the two sides together, I used a very small rubber band (like for rubber band looms or small hair braids) and wrapped it around on the side of the knot closest to the braid. This is so the knot will hold the rubber band on when you stretch it open to use it as a hair tie. The knot keeps it from springing off.
Step 8: You Now Have Your Very Own Stretchy Hair Ties!
Thanks for looking at my Instructable and I hope you enjoy your new hair ties!
If you come up with other variations I would love to see them!