Would you love to add more variety to your singing time? Today, I’ll share with you how to make jingle bell bracelets — DIY, cheap, and really quick and easily!
Plus, I’ve got some tips below on how to hold the bracelets and singing time ideas to get you started using them in Primary.
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I love utilizing a wide variety of different Primary Music Leaders supplies including instruments and manipulatives in my lesson plans. It keeps the kids so engaged and having fun so they barely notice they’re learning and following along without complaint.
I’ve shared all my very favorite supplies with tons of ideas to get you thinking and an easy to save Amazon Wishlist for Primary Music Leaders so you can reference it later. Just hit the heart button at the very top at the end of the title to save the idea list to your Amazon account.
How to Make Jingle Bell Bracelets
Jingle Bell Wrist Band Supplies:
That’s it – just two inexpensive supplies!!
Should I Buy or Make Jingle Bell Bracelets?
This is one of the cheapest homemade instruments you can make! But, on the flip side, it also has the most obvious loss of quality between homemade and purchased.
That’s not to say this homemade version will be bad by any means, you’re just using very simple materials as a substitution.
In contrast, if you want to just pick up a set already done for you wrist bands, you can get this set of jingle bell bracelets inexpensive on Amazon!
I’ve been very happy with my jingle bell bracelets that I got from Oriental Trading. They haven’t given me an issues at all. But I will say, the Amazon sets have sets with really pretty color variety for the bands and they’re less expensive. I’d go with those, depending on sales and current prices!
I used a homemade set of bells, just like the ones I’ll show you in the tutorial below, for a full year before I upgraded. They worked just fine and were more compact for storage. They would sometimes need just a little shaping from being smashed together at the bottom of my nursery singing time tote, but that’s a 2 second fix.
I don’t think you can go wrong, whichever way you choose. If you have a little budget left to use, I’d go with purchasing a set that can be stored in the Primary closet and passed down to future music leaders.
I would recommend making homemade instruments (see that budget supply tips and alternatives post for lots of ideas!) for your own personal use, as a kids activity/craft, or when you’re on a tight budget.
You can even make DIY jingle bell bracelets to gift to your Primary children for Christmas this year! The kids would LOVE that and it can double as an ornament!!
Step-by-Step DIY Jingle Bell Bracelet Tutorial
Start with one pipe cleaner and 5 bells per bracelet.
Slip a pipe cleaner through the upper loop of the jingle bell. Slide the bell down and align it to just off center of the length of the pipe cleaner.
Now, create a traditional knot to secure your bell in place. To do this, keep one end of the pipe cleaner straight, and twist the other end over the top, then below, and back out again across the top. Just like the picture below. It will look like a pretzel, before tightening.
Keep tugging on the end you tucked through pulling the extra length through before completely tightening the knot. It gets harder to tug and tighten the knot because of the wire if you don’t try to remove some of the “slack” while you can.
Just keep feeding the extra line of pipe cleaner through until it’s almost gone, then pull tight to secure the knot.
I tested a few twists and alternates first, but tying a knot worked best for letting the bells ring freely and keeping them in their place so the bracelets look nice and consistent.
The 15mm size bells aren’t super heavy, so the wire should hold up relatively well.
Continue adding 3 additional bells with about 1″ spacing (give or take) between each bell and knotting them in place in the same way.
Now, you can add one final bell right at the two ends of the pipe cleaner, bringing it together to form a bracelet. I preferred doing my last knot here, when my spacing worked out just right. It gives a clean look and hides the last knot in a useful way!
For the last knot, simply weave both end through the loop at the top of the bell in alternate directions. Then, make an “X” with your two short ends and loop the front piece around to the back and through (a traditional knot).
Your ends will be short, but pull tightly and then wrap the excess pipe cleaner around the line from your circle a time or two and it will blend right in.
Note: If your spacing doesn’t work out to line up the two ends, just add your 5th bell and then tie a knot to secure the two ends.
Now, a note about size.
Traditional pipe cleaners are 12″ long. With a couple knots in there you’re also shortening that length, and it’s really not all that big of a bracelet.
But the sizing works great (even for adults) if you read on for the unique way I hold the bell bracelet, you’ll see how.
They’ll certainly fit on your Junior Primary wrists, but I don’t recommend using them this way! Even with my store bought jingle bell bracelets, I have the kids wear them around their palm (just like in the picture below).
Why, you might ask?
A Better Way to Hold Jingle Bell Bracelets!
I used jingle bell bracelets a TON in nursery (every single week, see my cute nursey singing time ideas here!) While me and the kids both LOVED using them, we spent a lot of time making sure they were just right getting them onto and then off of their wrists.
Then, they would sometimes slip up and down their arm to their elbows, which meant they got distracted checking that out! And next it was on to fiddling with placement.
Once I started having the kids hold them below their thumb on their palms they had much more control, it was a more tactile experience (hands-on), and there was much less messing around with placement – they just worked!!
Left (green) around the wrist and no control
Right (red) in the palm and controlled ringing
Now, I always have my kids hold their jingle bell bracelets across their palm. It means we don’t have to mess with the velcro at all (on the pre-made ones). Just slip them past the fingers and curl your fingers back and you’re ready to go!!
Singing Time Ideas Using Jingle Bells!
I’ve shared a variety of fun lesson plans for specific songs to help you get started using jingle bells in Primary Singing Time. Jingle bells using the living music learning style to help the children really connect with the song while having fun making their own music!
To get started, just visit any of these singing time posts to give you a variety of ideas and inspiration for using the bells with whatever song you choose!
Or, if you’re teaching one of these songs, you’ll love referring to this ready-made activity that won’t take any extra planning.
- An Angel Came to Joseph Smith Jingle Bells (bell ringing patterns printable)
- Choose the Right Jingle Bells
- Redeemer of Israel Jingle Bells (with a fun alternating pattern!)
- He Sent His Son Jingle Bels
- The Holy Ghost Jingle Bells
- Symbols of Christmas
You won’t want to miss our next DIY tutorial!! Head over now to see How to Make Homemade Ribbon Wands!! They look like a million bucks with the pretty rainbow ribbons.
What’s your favorite way to use jingle bell bracelets in Primary Singing Time?