I was brainstorming ideas for some fun projects to try with my new students in my Upcycled Crafting class, when I realized, I never shared one of my favorites from last semester! I like to work on projects that won’t have the parents saying, “Now what the heck do I do with this thing?” I want our creations to be useful, or beautiful, or both. This project wasn’t beautiful, but it certainly will be useful! I made a jump rope out of plastic bags, yogurt drink containers, and some craft beads. Right about now, you are thinking, “No way!” but guess what? Yes way! It works, and if your kids can braid, they can make this with minimal help. If they can’t braid, then they can learn while making the upcycled jump rope! Here’s what you’ll need…
Upcycled Jump Rope
2 or 3 plastic grocery bags
2 yogurt drink containers (or water bottles if you don’t have the narrow containers)
5 craft beads (or tin foil)
Painter’s tape or masking tape
Drill or sharp-pointed object
You will be using the bag as the braiding medium, but first you will have to cut it into string. Start out by laying a plastic bag out flat and trim off the gusset at the bottom and both handles. You will be left with a tube of a plastic bag. To begin making the string for braiding, cut into only one layer at one of the open ends and cut up 1/2″ and then cut perpendicular to the edge. Continue cutting perpendicular to the edge, going around the circumference of the bag tube until you reach the other end.
Once you have cut all of your string, it is time to braid. Cut three equal pieces of string about 3 feet long each. If the string is any longer than that, braiding your jump rope will be difficult. You can make it shorter if it is easier for you to braid; you can always add pieces on by double knotting a new piece to the end of the old piece and braid the ends into the jump rope. Tie a knot to join the three pieces together, and secure it with a piece of light-tack tape to a table. Time to start braiding!
Braid until the length of the jump rope is long enough that when you hold an end in each hand at your sides, the jump rope touches the ground and has a slight bend to it, rather than only skimming the floor. Tie a knot at the end and remove the tape from the starting point.
Using a drill, put a hole in the bottom of each yogurt drink container. Feed one end of the rope through the hole, from the outside to the inside. Pull it through, thread one bead onto the rope, and tie a sturdy knot. The bead will be between the knot and the inside of the container, and will stop the rope from pulling through. Before repeating this step on the other end, first thread three beads onto the rope. These beads will give some weight to the middle of the rope and help it fly over the top when jumping with it. If you don’t have beads handy, you can wrap some tin foil around the middle of the rope. Once the beads are on, repeat the first step of threading the rope through the container, through a bead, and then make a sturdy knot.
And that’s it! The result is a durable toy that can be enjoyed inside the house on cold, rainy days, and outside on all other days.
The best part about this craft is that you can make one for yourself while you help the kids, and you can all get a good workout from upcycling plastic bags and yogurt drink containers. How about that! – The upcycled jump rope is good for the environment and for your heart!
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