As most 2000s kids would know, accessories were always the key to any great outfit. Whether it be plastic Disney princess high heels or a snap-on bracelet, every pair of low-rise jeans and crimped hair took kindly to some fun add-ons. Not long after Silly Bandz—the peculiarly shaped animal elastics—took the world by storm, a more complex and endearing form of rubber band jewelry was born: Rainbow Loom.
First introduced in 2010, the colorful rubber bands and 3-tiered plastic loom quickly became a staple in the house of every elementary school child. Capable of making over 100 styles of jewelry, Rainbow Loom was most commonly used to make chunky-style bracelets, which kids tended to stack from their wrists to their elbows.
The viral DIY jewelry kit peaked in 2013 when it seemed like the colorful rubber bands could be found at every summer camp in the U.S. Rainbow Loom quickly had risen to an activity of camp prestige, sitting in the arts and crafts bins with other timeless crafts.
Though most used the kits to make fun bracelets and necklaces, select users have made more daring crafts such as purses and charms. These stand-out creations went far beyond the scope of the users manual, but now can be found in a simple YouTube tutorial.
Though the viral trend met its match in 2017 with the rise of TikTok and other popular social media sites amongst Gen Z, the colorful craft experienced a resurge in popularity during 2020.
Despite its limited success with today’s youth, who prefer spending time online to doing DIY crafts, Rainbow Loom is a lost fragment of the 2010s which deserves credit as a nostalgic item for today’s teenagers.