Wood bending Science: DIY Cuff Bracelets

cuff bracelets

I love browsing Pinterest for do-it-yourself craft projects. But my problem is I’m great at pinning but not always great at doing the project! I love when I find things that 1.) Allie can make with me 2.) are relatively cheap and 3.) involve science (of course!)

One day I found an interesting way to make cuff bracelets using wood craft sticks here.  I didn’t know that wood is bendable if boiled and thought this would make an awesome science experiment! Be warned though that this project takes 24 hours to complete!

I found some craft sticks and I had Allie try and bend one to see what would happen.  Of course it broke.

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Then we placed several craft sticks in boiling water for 10-15 minutes.

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I carefully took the sticks out of the water with tongs and bent them with my fingers into a glass cup.  Allie and I were both shocked at how the wood was flexible!  We were disappointed though that we had to wait 24 hours for the wood to dry.  Allie and I talked about all the ways we could speed up the drying process (using a hair dryer or putting them in the oven. I nixed the oven idea because I didn’t want to start a fire!) After 2 hours we took one of the craft sticks out but it snapped back into a straight shape!  In the end we decided to be patient and wait for the wood to air dry.

098The results were worth the wait! After 24 hours the craft sticks were dry and they looked like this!

Allie thought they looked like band aides so we made a few “cuff bracelet” band aides for her stuffed lambs to get a Doc McStuffin check-up.

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I decided to fashion a cuff bracelet for Mardi Gras by wrapping pipe cleaners around it.  So Mardi Gras chic don’t you think?

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Here’s the science:  Wood is made of fibers held together by a material called lignin.  The fibers are like a bundle of rods and the lignin is like the glue holding them together.  Lignin becomes weaker when the wood is boiled causing the wood to become bendable! Click here for more information about wood bending.

I also discovered that a boiling or steaming process is how wood is shaped for making furniture, boats, and violins! Fascinating! I never imagined how much science we would learn by making cuff bracelets inspired by Pinterest!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, science art Tags: , , ,