There comes a time when you’re a crafter when you suddenly need a quick crafty gift. But it can’t look like a quick crafty gift. It has to look special. Personal. A little different. So why not use your Craft Tray Bag, some mini pony beads and elastic thread and knock up a quick named friendship bracelet or charm? This one is actually designed to fit around a water bottle so that the owner can spot it at a distance, but it will fit on her wrist as well. This is a quick and relatively easy make, although it is a bit fiddly. I’d advise against trying to get clever the way I did and making it in a string, as that gets complicated very quickly. (You have to count the beads as you go to make sure you’re threading them on right, and you have to remember that the strands will turn to go up and down. This is because the elastic loops up and down, and then the second strand goes the opposite way. More pictures needed.) The craft tray bag is great for this kind of work as you can fasten your thread down with a safety pin really easily, and the beads don’t shoot all over the place as they would on a hard surface. Working with just two colours, I found it easiest to sort out all the beads I needed first, and you can work out how long a piece of thread you need by measuring how long a bracelet you want and allowing 2 cm *2 for each row of beads. I found that 2 rows made a cm, so 16 rows gave me the length I needed given there’s some stretch. Once you’ve done all the calculations and sorted your beads out, the only thing to do is get threading. Like I say, I started with a straight thread. Once I’d got a few beads on, I quickly realised that keeping track of what I needed where was complicated, so I pushed the beads to the middle of the elastic, and started to do the second threading. Basically you bend the beads in a zig zag and the other end of the elastic goes the opposite direction through each set of 4 beads, meaning that all except the first set are double threaded. So it starts to look something like this. And then as you tidy it up you can see how the bracelet is going to form. You can use this technique to do all sorts of things. We’ve made little animals and owls as keychains or phone charms. Or bigger animals like lizards as toys. To finish this off as a bracelet, I took the ends of the elastic and tied them off, then threaded them through the first row of beads as if they were new beads, so there’s no break in the bracelet at all. Pretty, quick, unique and cheap. An excellent craft in all sorts of ways.