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Upcycling Toothbrushes into Bracelets

First and foremost, we're so excited that Thrifty Decor Chick featured our blog on her series of newbies!  We're so excited to have so many new people visiting and we're equally stoked to welcome so many new followers!  Isn't Thrifty Decor Chick the bestest?  We think so.  Thanks, Sarah!  (If you're interested, you can see our highlight on the TDC blog here.)

And on to the crafty-ness...

When I was in middle school in California, I knew this gal named Kathryn who was super-cool.  You know, just one of those naturally cool kids--a trendsetter, too.  She wore a rad bracelet that she made out of a toothbrush and I thought it was awesome (naturally) so when she gave me the secret on how to make one, I rushed home to do it myself.  (See, even back then I was a DIY gal!)


Any-hoo, wanna make your own?  I thought you did! 

Here's what you'll need:

An old toothbrush (sans rubberized texture stuff)
Needle-nosed pliers
Vise grips (or you can get creative with whatever tools you have)
Tongs
A pot big enough to accommodate your toothbrush


You'll want to start with a super-plain toothbrush and avoid any of that grippy/soft plastic stuff that most toothbrushes have these days.  I use child-sized toothbrushes (What?!  I'm a small person with a small mouth... you wanna make something of it?  Obviously I have a short girl complex, too.) so they are pretty plain and perfect for making bracelets.


I used needle-nosed pliers to remove all of the bristles.


Umm, when you're using said needle-nosed pliers on the bristles, take it easy...  I teach by example guys.  So, learn a lesson from me be and gently remove the bristles from the toothbrush, and provide ample support to the neck of the toothbrush.


Obviously, I had to restart with a different toothbrush.  And I was much more gentle the second time around.


Doesn't the naked toothbrush look so awkward?


Once you have a naked toothbrush, boil that naked toothbrush for an hour.  Seriously, do it for a whole hour--don't skimp on time!  If you check it midway through, the toothbrush will seem like it will be pliable enough to form but if you bend the brush too early you may cause ugly white streaking (think: stretch marks) and possible snapping.


Once the toothbrush has boiled for an hour, you're ready to shape it into a bracelet.  You can use a bracelet you have as a size reference or you can just wing it.  I guesstimated and it came out fine!  I used tongs to hold the toothbrush in the middle and vise grips to shape the hot plastic.  If you make a mistake, don't worry--you can pop it back in the boiling water for 15-20 minutes and reshape. 

Common sense warning: that toothbrush is HOT!  You would be too if you'd just been boiled for an hour.  Be careful!


Once you're happy with your shape, drop the bracelet into a bowl of cold water to "set" the shape.  (I think that the Lemongrass Fiestaware bowl compliments the purple toothbrush quite nicely!)


And there you have it--a gorgeous toothbrush bracelet!

Pretty fun and simple, right?  I'm not a jewelry girl--but I think that even if I was, I'd much prefer for my husband to make me one of these for V-Day than to buy some generic piece of bling.  But that's just me.

Tristin Signature

25 comments:

  1. This was the in thing to do when I was in high school. We made them with the character tooth brushes.

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  2. Great idea! For make a bracelet. Thanks...

    Bracelets

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  3. Walked off with my boyfriend's toothbrush (mine is not really pretty) in the evening - and he wanted to know what I was up to... well, I bought him a new one by now. And his old one is on my wrist! Thanks so much for this awsome idea!

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  4. Hi, Tristin! That's a goodie! Wow, great tutorial with funny writing and so many helpful tips. I didn't know you had to boil for an hour - now I must try one of these. Luve it!

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  5. Very cute! Would be a cool thing for my little girl to wear. :)

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  6. This is great! How about making circles from them and gluing them together to make a toothbrush holder? Thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday! I'm saving the granny vest project of yours for a reader round up in the future.

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  7. I made these for Kaboose once. I used tweezers to remove the bristles :) Very cute!

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  8. I used to make these in high school as well, and I was just thinking about them the other day! I'll be linking from Dollar Store Crafts :)

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  9. Looks cute, but I don't know if I would be daring enough to wear a toothbrush on my wrist.

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  10. Awesome tutorial; I have to try this! Have tried something similar before with an old plastic knitting needle and a sink of hot water (obviously it didn't work!) had no idea it was necessary to boil for an hour!

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  11. And I'm thinking that even if you don't like the naked-toothbrush look, these would be a great way to make bases to cover/decorate.

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  12. I've seen these bangles before but I hadn't realized how long it takes to make one! Great idea to recycle as we are supposed to change toothbrushes fairly often!

    I just featured and linked your tutorial in my blog here - http://www.beadinggem.com/2011/02/toothbrush-bangles-anyone.html

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  13. If you pour boiling water from your electric kettle onto the bristles they should fall out by themselves. We had our mothers do it for us when we where kids.
    Excellent tutorial. Thank you.

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  14. Great tutorial and very funny when the head snapped off! I'm defo going to make one of these, but I'm wondering if I used the microwave could I shorten the time needed? There's a photo and link on my blog to a lady in Oz who does something like this with knitting needles.

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  15. so clever! love it.

    xx grace
    stripesandsequins.com

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  16. I have a whole lot of toothbrushes in awesome transparent colors, with the bristles removed and waiting for a long time to be given a shape..now i know what to do with them....thanks a lot for sharing!!

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  17. I can't get the bristles off.

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  18. Oh, how did you come up with this idea? Hehehe.... It's so creative! This toothbrush bracelet is cute! It can be a cheap gift for a kid who just came home from a visit to the dentist.

    Emmy Summers

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  19. LOOOOOOOVEE this idea, cant wait to show it off to my jewelry class! thanx!

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  20. Do you think it would work with knitting needles?

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  21. I love this. I do dental edu-tainment workshops with children an i think this would be an awesome addition to the workshop! who knew! love it, love it, love!

    Creative Dental Consultant/CEO
    The Dental Boutique

    Adrian Scott

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  22. Another good thing in buying and wearing trendy beaded jewelry is you do not want to spend thousands of greenbacks to have people who will appreciate your look and your image. Fashionable beaded jewelry like necklaces, earrings and bracelets are available in wide variety of styles and designs. You'll only spend one or two dollars to few hundred bucks depending on the kind of materials you select for your jewelry.

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  23. This is kind of interesting. I don't really understand the draw of wearing a toothbrush but then again, I'm not a girl. My nieces would really go crazy for something like this though. If I were to give them toothbrush bracelets, I would be the coolest uncle ever!
    Abed Nadier | http://www.luvmydentalcare.com/about_us.html

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