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During that time when I was wracking my brain for appropriate kids’ crafts, I came across this idea from Michael’s.  It’s a foam bottle holder that requires very little assembly and you can decorate it after.  I’m fond of crafts that are useful, so this project definitely had potential.  But I felt that it might be a little too easy for the kids I work with.  The original design called for just braiding three pieces of ribbon and then using that as the handle.  I replaced the ribbon and braiding with Chinese knotting (because I have LOTS of Chinese knotting string) and I had a good (and cost efficient) project for the kids.  Tada!

Here is the sample I made.

Materials:

  • Foam can holder (available at dollar stores or the dollar section of Michael’s)  [1$/ea]
  • Foamies stickers (or other foam pieces).  I used a package of ladybugs and leaves Foamies stickers, which was enough for 6+ bottle holders.  We also had some letters on hand.  [2.99$]
  • 1-24″ length of Chinese knotting string (basically satin cord), color of your choice.  This will be the core of the handle and the part that ties to the can holder.
  • 2-24″ lengths of Chinese knotting string, color(s) of your choice.  This will be the thicker handle.
  • Sharpies or related (optional)
  • Glue or a lighter to seal the ends of the string

Procedure:

  1. Just follow the directions you find on Michael’s site.  I’m including the Chinese knotting below.
    Some notes:

    • I made holes about 0.5″ from the top of the can holder.
    • You don’t need a hole punch to make the holes.  I used the awl on my Swiss army knife.  You could easily use a bamboo skewer to make the holes or the tip of some pointy scissors.  It’s foam.  It’s not hard to make a hole in it.
    • If you don’t want kids playing with sharp objects, you probably want to pre-punch all the holes before giving them all the materials.
  2. Tie or pin about 6″ from the end of the core string down to anchor it.  I had the kids tie one end to a table leg and they sat on the floor while they were knotting.  I have also used a push pin before and just pinned the end of the string to a board.  Or you can just have someone hold the end for you.

    I have already put all the supplies away. You'll just have to deal with poor illustrations.

  3. Tie the two handle strings in a double knot toward the top of the strings.
  4. Place the two handle strings under the core string and you can stick the pin through the core string into the middle of the knot.
  5. With the right side string, make a loop over the core string and under the left side string.
  6. Take the left side string and bring it under the core string and through the loop on the right side.
  7. Pull the knot tight.  You’re basically making a bunch of single knots around the core string.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 until you run out of string.  Always make the loop on the right side to make the twisted effect.  If you alternate sides, you’ll get a flat string of knots all the way down.
  9. Untie the original double knot you made at the beginning of the handle.  Cut off any excess and seal the ends with glue.  I normally use a lighter and just melt the ends, but I was working with kids and I didn’t want to bring a lighter for them to play with.
  10. Unpin or untie your core string and poke one end through one of the holes in the can holder.  If your holes are small, use a pencil to help poke the string through.
  11. Repeat on the other side.
  12. Adjust the lengths so that the handle portion is in the middle.  You want a really long handle (as in, use almost the full 24″ of the core string) you can firmly hold one end of the core string and pull the whole mass of knots that make up the handle.  It should move freely on the core.
  13. Tie down the core string on either side of the foam holder.  I used a fancier knot that would allow me to adjust the length of the whole handle.  I had the kids just tie double knots.  If you use double knots, make sure they’re tight.
  14. Cut the excess and seal the ends of the string.
  15. Decorate with the stickers and/or pens.  I went with a ladybug theme and made dots with a Sharpie.  The kids really liked the ladybugs and now I’m left with a bag of leaves.  They also but their names on their bottle holders with the Foamies letters.

Someday…someday…I’ll be home during daylight hours and then I can take nice, bright pictures with natural lighting.

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