Silicone wristbands became mainstream, so to speak, during 2004 with the rise of the bright yellow Livestrong “baller band.” Since then, there was no looking back for this humble bracelet. In fact, while the hype surrounding silicone wristbands has died down considerably, they still remain to be highly popular marketing and promotional materials, among many other uses.
Despite their popularity, however, not many people know about how silicone wristbands are made. Here’s a look at the most fundamental steps of manufacturing these accessories.
The first step in making silicone wristbands is processing the raw material, which is primarily the silicone. It’s the ideal material to use in these wristbands due to its flexibility. Silicone is also water resistant and can withstand a fair amount of heat and cold, unlike other materials that may shrink or become brittle over time.
The polymer usually come in blocks or cylinders, which are then fed into a machine that compresses the silicone to achieve the correct consistency. The time it takes to accomplish this step simply depends on the amount of silicone to be rolled and processed.
Once the desired consistency is achieved, pigments can then be added to provide the base color of the wristbands. The pigments and the silicone sheets are rolled together using the same machine. Wristband Creation uses the Pantone Matching System so the exact color is replicated onto the silicone. The pigments and the silicone may need to be passed through the rollers multiple times to achieve an even distribution of color.
Once the colors are mixed evenly into the silicone, they are rolled into sheets for cutting. Other customization options like glitters or DEET-free mosquito repellent may also added after the colors are mixed.
Preparation and Molding
After processing, the colored silicone is covered in a thin sheet of plastic and then passed through a machine to be cut into strips. The strips are then weighed and cut into smaller strips, which will then be placed into the mold. The size of the strips depend on the desired thickness of the wristband; for reference, Wristband Creation’s silicone wristbands are either 2mm or 3mm thick.
Depending on the design of the wristband, manufacturers can place as many colored strips of silicone into the mold, which will have grooves or stamps embedded onto the edges to emboss or deboss text and icons. Wristband Creation also offers blank wristbands; the mold for this kind of wristband has smooth, plain edges.
You can also choose not to have your wristbands embossed or debossed, but rather imprinted with a design using high-quality inks and paints. Once the silicone is molded to shape using the same machine used to mold blank wristbands, they will then be spray-painted with the corresponding design. Painting is also an additional step for deboss-filled wristbands and emboss-printed wristbands, in which the sunken or raised portions are manually filled or sprayed with paint, respectively.
After the molding process, the excess material will have to be removed. These are the thin, translucent sheets that form at the bottom of the mold, as well as strips of excess silicone at the edges. This process is usually done by hand using very sharp cutters and scissors.
From here, all that is left to do is to pack the wristbands for shipping, whether in bulk or in individual bags. Wristband Creation offers various individual packaging options, including transparent poly-bags, white opaque poly-bags printed with your preferred design, flat board packaging, and card insert packaging.
Customized silicone wristbands are very affordable to produce, indeed, but don’t let that cheap price tag fool you into thinking that it can’t do a good job. Whether you’re drumming up support for your chosen advocacies, raising awareness for a startup company, or promoting an established brand, the word-of-mouth marketing that a single wristband can generate can be worth thousands of dollars of publicity.