Milkweed in the forest
finished milkweed bracelet

Milkweed is one of those really cool plants that serves 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. And, you can use it to make a bracelet. Here's how.

this is milkweed

The first thing you'll need is milkweed--you'll be using the stems. Milkweed grows in fields, meadows and along roadsides. Be sure you ask permission before taking plants from someone's yard.

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. 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.

tap the milkweed stem

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.

begin braiding the milkweed stem

Now get something to hold the knot end down, like a heavy book or a friend. 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.