How to Make Rexlace Keychains

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Make Rexlace Keychains
Make Rexlace Keychains (Image: Linda Johnson)

Plastic lacing for craft projects has different names, such as Rexlace, gimp and even boondoggle, depending on the manufacturer. No matter what you call it, it is a great craft material for making keychains and bracelets. Stitches, or weaves, can be very simple, so making Rexlace keychains is a fun project to do with children. They'll be proud to give these colorful handmade keychains to friends and family for any occasion.

Things You'll Need

  • Rexlace in two colors of your choice
  • EZ Gimper
  • Keychain hook or circle
  • Pony beads
  • Scissors

Cut two lengths of Rexlace in different colors, about 24 inches long. The lace should be at least four times longer than you want the finished product to be. It's fine to have excess length, because you can quit stitching at any point, and cut off the ends. But if you don't have enough, you can't add more. Plan on about a 4-inch keychain.

Make a 3 or 4 inch keychain in two colors
Make a 3 or 4 inch keychain in two colors

Thread two strands through the EZ Gimper crossing over each other to make an X.

THe EZ Gimper  comes in Rexlace kits or separately
THe EZ Gimper comes in Rexlace kits or separately

Turn the EZ Gimper over to the other side with the four strands sticking out. Gently move the strands through the gimper so they are all centered and the same length.

Four strands ready for a starter stitch.
Four strands ready for a starter stitch.

Make a starter stitch with the four strands. Cross strand 1 over strand 2 to the right, pick up strand 2 and cross it over strands 1 and 3. Then pick up strand 3 and cross it over strands 2 and 4. Cross strand 4 to the left and thread it under the loop on strand 1. Basically, you're crossing strands over each other counter clockwise around the gimper. Pull the strands gently to tighten the stitch.

Make basic stitches on top of the starter stitch by crossing strand 1 to the right over strand 2, picking up strand 2 and crossing it over strands 1 and 3, picking up strand 3 and crossing it over strands 2 and 4. Then cross strand 4 to the left and thread it under the loop on strand 1. You'll be crossing color 1 over color 2, etc.

Gently pull on the strands to make a stitch tight before making the next stitch.

How to tighten stitches
How to tighten stitches

Keep making stitches until you like the length of the keychain, leaving 2 or 3 inches of unstitched Rexlace at the end.

Still connected to gimper, with loose ends
Still connected to gimper, with loose ends

Slide a pony bead over the four straight unstitched ends of Rexlace. Trim the ends so they're even.

Pull the top of the keychain -- the X -- out of the gimper gently until the holes give way enough to free the starting X.

Do one last stitch, but leave it loose. Make this finishing stitch by taking any one strand and bringing it around the strand on its left and up through the center of the last stitch. Then take the strand you just went around, and bring it around the one on its left and up through the center. Do that with the last two strands as well.

Open either a key hook or a circle and hook it on the X of the Rexlace chain.

Trim the four strands coming through the center with the scissors to make them the length you want as tassels. Add a key or keys to the hook, and use your new keychain.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rexlace is available at craft stores in spools and in kits that include EZ Gimpers, hooks and circles. Or each can be bought separately.
  • Instead of pony beads, try adding charms to the Rexlace that best represent your interests.
  • Choose colors for your keychain that fit the person your giving it to. Base it on their favorite outfit, favorite sports team, school colors or the color of their car.
  • Try to find pony beads with holes big enough to let all four strands pass through. Or use a finishing stitch instead of a pony bead.

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