Bracelets have become very a popular accessory, not just because they can be customized to be as decorative as possible, but because of the many things you can do with them. Aside from carrying personalized messages and designs, these can also carry slogans that can increase awareness for various causes. This is why these thin rubber bangles are sometimes called awareness bracelets.
What are Rubber Bracelets?
Rubber bracelets sometimes go by the name baller bands or baller ID bands. They’re also called rubber wristbands and rubber bangles by some. These bracelets have a similar function as silicone bands and are used for a variety of reasons. Most rubber bracelets are manufactured with a width of .5 to .75 inches, and a circumference of 7 to 8.5 inches.
The thicknesses of these bands are often at 0.1 inches, although there are a few that are thicker. Thickness is usually dependent on the design of the wristband, and purpose they’re being crafted for. Most are the standard 1/10 of an inch though, and this is to ensure that these are easy to wear and totally flexible.
The original rubber bracelets were called gel bands, and these were first manufactured in the 1980s. These have been very popular since then, and this is because these are low costing and easy to customize. Rubber bracelets have gained even more popularity in recent years due to their use as fund-raising tools, like in the case of the Livestrong yellow rubber bracelets.
Why is Rubber a Good Material for Bracelets?
Rubber is one of the chosen materials for wristbands due to its abundant availability and ease of use. This material is easy to customize, is very pliable, and can be easily colored in many different shades. The main characteristics of the rubber used in bracelets are similar to that which you can find in silicone wristbands.
Rubber bracelets are waterproof, they have low toxicity, and they don’t support the growth of microbes. Rubber is also tough and resistant to shock, wear, friction and pressure. Synthetic rubber bracelets undergo a mixing and molding process that begins with the combination of the materials into a dough-like substance. The amalgam is then heated and stirred until the right consistency is achieved.
Once the rubber for these wristbands are made, it is then rolled out via a huge rolling pin, which does two things at the same time – roll the material into the right thickness and cool it down. When the rubber sheets are cool enough and have proper thickness, it is cut into strips, which are fed into a machine called an extruder.
It is in the extruder that the round shape of these bracelets is attained, with the rubber being shaped into a long continuous form that resembles a fireman’s hose. This tube is heated, cooled, then washed, and finally prepared for printing or marking. Once marked, the tube is cut into the thin bracelet strips that are worn by many people for many different reasons.
Where Rubber Bracelets Are Used
Rubber wristbands are used for many different things, much like silicone bracelets. These were first used to make people aware of a variety of causes and used by a lot of organizations to drum up support for these. These bracelets actually take after their predecessors: the awareness ribbon. These were used to also drum up support for various causes in decades past.
You can probably say that rubber bracelets have taken the place of these ribbons in terms of getting people to sit up and take notice of the many causes that need support and attention. This doesn’t mean, however, that these rubber bangles can’t and aren’t used for other things. These are also used for these other applications:
- Charities – as mentioned earlier, charities use these rubber ballers to show people that certain organizations are supporting many causes like research for cancer or for ALS. These charities also use these bracelets to get funding for projects that include clean water for other countries, to feed starving children, and other worthy missions. These can be offered for sale in events, in malls, and online, with the proceeds being used for these projects.
- Special Cause-oriented Events – when you say that ballers are used at special cause-oriented events, this can mean a lot of things. Most of the time, however, these events that use rubber wristbands as either souvenirs or tokens for donations, are for charities and for funding other events and projects as well. These can be used to raise funds for the building of a new school, a new hospital, a new children’s facility, and many others. The rubber bracelets are just tokens to show that someone has indeed pledged a specific amount at the event and the bracelet serves as a reminder of their donation.
- Political Uses – aside from being used at political sorties to unite supporters for a candidate, these can also be used during the campaign period and for fund raising as well. These bracelets can carry the party’s political colors, the name of the candidate, and what position they are running for. These can be used for local, national, and even for school student body elections.
- Promotional Uses – companies also find these rubber bracelets to be useful when they need something to remind people of their brand. These can be used as giveaways with specific purchases, or as a prize in the box that a customer has purchased. These can also be used to help promote a new brand, a new product, or to simply give buyers added incentive to buy more of an item.
- Sports – whether it is to support a team’s needs through fund raising with the use of these bracelets, or to show that you are supporting a team during a game by wearing these ballers, these bracelets are also seeing a lot of use in sports. Schools can raise funds for team uniforms, gas for away games, and other needs that the team may have that the school cannot easily provide. These can also be used to show players who are supporting them when people wear rubber bracelets in the team’s colors.
- School Events – proms, carnivals, fund raising parties, and PTA soirees can also use these wristbands for many different reasons. From fund raising, to raising awareness about bullying, to showing support for a local member of the school in their struggle to fight a terminal illness, these bracelets have also seen a lot of use in schools. These can also be used in lieu of entrance tickets to these events and as reminders of special school happenings.
- Community Needs – local organizations and committees can use these ballers to help raise funds for the many projects that they have for the year. Rubber bracelets can be used to raise awareness and funds for community parties, fairs, and other similar events. These can also be used as souvenirs for these events, sold as tickets, and given to participants during contests.
- Fashion Accessories – entrepreneurs can also order custom rubber bracelets for their business. These can be ordered in many different designs, with some that can be digitally printed with patterns, and others that can carry embossed scrollwork. These can be sold online or in a physical store, and can even be further customized with embellishments.
Customizing Rubber Wristbands
Rubber wristbands can be customized to fit a lot of the needs of different companies, organizations, and individuals. Customization begins at the manufacturing plant where the rubber used to create these ballers is made. This is because the color for these bands is added in at the rubber making stage, and the thickness as well as the circumference also has to be indicated before the wristbands are produced.
The molding process for these bracelets allows for the quick creation of these products, and mass production is made possible with this same procedure. Before these bracelets can be made, however, some information has to be given to the manufacturer by the person ordering these:
- Size – most wristbands come in the standard size that people are used to – 7 to 8.5 inches circumference, .5 to .75 inches width, and .1 inch thick. Some may choose to order thicker and wider bracelets, however, which should be indicated when the order is made.
- Color – most wristbands come in one color, but a few people may order their wristbands in dual colors. Since the color is integrated into the rubber during the mixing process, it is necessary for the color specifications of the material to be indicated at the beginning. Not all wristband makers can create rubber bracelets that are made using dual or multi-color materials, so it is a good idea to ask the manufacturer about this.
- Design – wristband designs also need to be shared with the manufacturer at the beginning. This will give them the chance to suggest changes and difficulties in the manufacture of the design. The information that is required when design is being discussed will include what messages will be printed, which colors will be used, will logos or images be in the design, and other similar considerations. This is also where the printing or marking method is discussed.
- Printing medium – rubber wristbands can be marked using a few printing methods, with silk-screen printing being the cheapest option. However, this is not the most eye-catching or distinct of the printing methods that are used with rubber wristbands. Here are other options you can consider for your rubber ballers:
- Embossing – this is a marking method that creates raised 3-dimensional designs on your ballers. This method uses heated stamps to create the messages and designs that can be found on these rubber bracelets.
- Colored embossing – this variation to embossing comes with the addition of paint or inks on the raised designs on the bracelets. Aside from giving off a 3-D look, the colors on the ballers make the design more eye-catching.
- Debossing – the opposite of embossing is debossing, and this is done with the same method, heated stamps, but with the design being recessed instead of raised.
- Colored debossing – to make the messages on the bracelets more noticeable, ink or paint is added to the recessed parts of the design. The colors used are often in contrast with the bracelet material, to help make these more distinct.
Interesting Information About Rubber Bracelets in Pop Culture
Livestrong Bracelets – these may be the most popular wristbands in the world, with approximately 80 million of these yellow bracelets having been sold since 2004. This fund raising bracelet was made by sportswear giant Nike to create awareness and support for people with cancer. Controversy actually surrounds this wristband and this is due to its founder, Lance Armstrong, who confessed to doping during his Tour de France career. He was stripped of his victories in 2012 and the foundation, which was formerly called the Lance Armstrong Foundation, was renamed into the Livestrong Foundation.
70’s Anti-fashion Statements – in the 70s and the 80s, these bracelets came in black and were worn to indicate a person’s departure from the normal wearing of traditional jewelry. Since rubber is of a significantly lower value than other materials used to create jewelry, it was seen as a form of rebellion or departure from the norm. Some artists perpetuated this belief by wearing multi-colored rubber wristbands on their arms, and these included such icons as Cindy Lauper and Madonna.
NBA Ballers – these have also gained popularity among sports fans as a form of support for their favorite NBA teams and players. These ballers carry not only the team’s colors, but also the logo, and sometimes the name and number of specific popular players. Some players wore these during their games and when they made public appearances.