Counselor and three kids posing covered in mud

Craft Time: Milkweed Bracelet

Milkweed Bracelet

Milkweed is one of those really cool plants that serve a lot of purposes. It’s the host plant for the monarch butterfly. It is very sensitive to ozone and can be used to detect air pollution. We have an abundance of it in our prairie for the many butterflies that migrate through Cave of the Mounds area.  And now you can use it to make a bracelet. Here’s how!

You will need: Milkweed, Rubber Mallet, Time (There is a step that takes a few days), Water

  1. The first thing you’ll need is the main material, milkweed–you’ll be using the stems.  To find milkweed, it grows in fields, meadows, prairies and along roadsides.  ***Please do not use the ones at Cave of the Mounds*** We are trying to create a beautiful place for our butterflies.
  2. Take a freshly cut milkweed plant, remove the leaves and lay it on a hard surface. Lightly tap the stem with a rubber mallet to break the outer layer. This will make it easier to create the bracelet.
  3. Next, separate the strands. Try to keep the strands as long as possible. Find a warm, dry place to let them dry. You’ll need to give the strands a few days to dry.
  4.  When the strands are dry and you’re ready to start making your bracelet! Sprinkle the strands with water or soak them to make them more flexible. Take three pieces of milkweed cording about the same length and make a small loop or knot. This will be one end of the bracelet. If you are familiar with making braided bracelets, you may see where this is going.
  5. Now get something to hold the knot end down, like a heavy rock or a friend.
  6. Start braiding your milkweed cord. Keep braiding until your bracelet is the right length for your wrist. (If you’re tying knots at both ends, you’ll want to leave it long enough to slip over your hand.) Leave a little extra to tie a knot at the end. When you’re near the end, make a knot that will fit through the loop at the other end of the cordage. This knot and the loop make the clasp for your bracelet. Or, if you tied a knot at the other end, simply tie another knot, connect both ends together and slip the bracelet over your hand.