Make an American Indian Armband

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People have lived in North America for more than 15,000 years. When Christopher Columbus arrived in North America, he thought he had arrived in India which is why the indigenous people there were called Indians!

These original Americans lived in tribes, some which you might have heard of  like the Apaches, Cherokees and Sioux. They made useful items like bags, belts and shoes that were decorated with beautiful beadwork. Originally the  beads were carved from natural materials like shells, coral, stone, teeth and bone, but later after the Europeans arrived, they used glass beads that they bought.

Each tribe made different patterns, some floral and some geometric. Most of the patterns are symmetrical. We thought we would have a go at making our own version of a beaded armband.

Make your own American Indian Armband

You will need:

  • some Hama beads in a variety of colours
  • a Hama bead board
  • a jar or glass which is the same size as you want your armband to be
  • an iron
  • a piece of greaseproof paper (or the paper that come with Hama beads when you buy them)

First make your pattern with the Hama beads. It is easiest to keep the pattern symmetrical if you make the armband in 3, 5 or 7 rows. Have a look at some of these original Sioux bands for inspiration:

362px-Collection_of_6_pieces_of_Sioux_Indian_bead_work_(belts?)_on_display,_ca.1900_(CHS-4055)

When you are happy with your design you are ready to iron it.

bracelet6 Ask a grown up to help with this bit. Get the jar ready. Once the beads have started to melt, take them quickly and wrap the band round the jar and leave it to cool. It should cool into its round shape.

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There, your armband is finished. You can try making different patterns and colour combinations. It can become quite addictive!

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Why not make a Tomahawk to go with your new armbands?

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