Woohoo! It’s festival season again, and if this is your first festival or your not chances are you’ve gathered the basics of what’s about to go down. When prepping for the best party of a lifetime, you will need the essential C’s: comfy kicks, costumes, and candy… no kandi. Wait, kandi? If you’re not in the know, here’s your guide to everything you need to know about making Rave Kandi.
First thing you will need to do is acquire the appropriate bracelet making materials. For this you will need plastic pony beads (yes, the ones you used to make friendship bracelets with back in the day). I would suggest a bucket of basic colors from your neighborhood craft store or these beads from Amazon.com, which has them ironically labeled as Kandi Buckets. If you think 5,000 beads is overkill, you should consider that someday you may want to up the ante with kandi to making cuffs, face masks, necklaces, bras and tops at some point. For templates on how to make more than just bracelets, head over to KandiGear.com where they have a free pattern maker for non-bracelet designs.
Not included in the bucket of basic colors, but also a must, are acrylic beads with letters on them. Typically found in block formation, these white beads with black lettering or these black beads with multicolor letters look great under black lights and laser lights. Since orange beads are the only color that glow naturally, you will want to invest in glow in the dark beads and charms. Better yet, remember those plastic beads that you placed on the peg tray to make shapes, and ironed them to keep everything in place? Yes, fuse beads are back too. And you can make the most memorable charms from them, check out Kandy Land for kandi charm ideas. If you find a dabbing unicorn, you’re in the right place. If you are more of a pixiedust type raver, check out Lucky Stardust for other fun and functional rave charms.
Get ready to rev those creative juices because charm and bead acquisition is only the beginning. Now you get to compile all those pieces into creative patterns and phrases. Keep in mind these beads aren't just for your krew, they are for the journey ahead, and all those Kandi Kids you will meet along the way. Come up with phrases that are sure to describe those you are bound to come in contact with, sort of like making a scavenger hunt list. Girls and guys will inevitably be in costumes or celebrating some happy occasion, so come up with sayings such as: My Hero, MILF, Bass Bunny, Love Child, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Your Name, Happy Birthday, and Happy Anniversary. String is key to a sturdy kandi necklace that will endure many festivals to come.
Since most kandi will need to stretch for exchange purposes, but also need to be waterproof, its recommended you use this 1.2 mm elastic stretch polyester cord. Tying anything elastic is a task within itself, so if you are not a creative knotter, know that you will need several regular knots to get the job done right. Then hide the knot inside a pony bead to give it a seamless look. Make sure to have more than one spool on deck because chances are you’ll be making PLUR packs with your posse and you will want enough string to go around.
Rave Kandi is a ritual rich with passage. It was actually one of the things that got me hooked on festival life. It denotes a different lifestyle from clublife where you are just show stomping with your krew. At outdoor raves and festivals the air is full of beats, the entire world is your dance floor, and there are like minded people all around you are are there for the love of electronic music. You’ll see someone with a costume or kandi bracelet they really put thought and creative energy into and you’ll feel the need to go up to them and say hi. Go ahead! Strike up a conversation. Tell them how much you love their flare - their energy for being there. These conversations are where momentary friendships are formed (you’ll also need these people incase you momentarily lose your krew, which is inevitable). You’ll dance a few songs together. Show off your new two step, or shuffle dance, and when you’re ready to say goodbye you don’t just walk away, you give a little PLUR. That’s the exchange of Kandi (a secret handshake if you will).
- Put your hands in front of each other (right hands only) and make a peace sign saying, “Peace.”
- Form half a heart with your hand up against their hand that is forming the other half of the heart and say, “Love.”
- Intertwine your fingers while saying, “Unity.”
- Move one of your chosen bracelets from your wrist to thiers and they will move a selected bracelet from their wrist to yours. Never ask for a specific bracelet unless they suggest you choose and never perform this ritual with someone you haven't spent any time getting to know (this is a pet-peeve for many ravers and will get you labeled… for better or worse... a Kandi Monster 😲).
The key to rave kandi is the exchange and the forethought in the creative process. Of course you are making bracelets for your besties and krew members, but you are also making kandi in hopes of meeting new people. Most ravers know the rules of kandi exchange and know how to separate the bracelets that were made by their besties from the ones that were made in hopes of finding a bitty dressed in a bunny costume.
Here’s the skinny: only the kandi on the right hand is up for exchange. If someone gives you kandi that is specific to you and you want to keep it, place it on your left wrist. No exchanges occur with your left hand, so keep the cuffs and important stuff on the left wrist. Also, only bracelets are exchanged. Do not request any other items. If you do not want to make your own rave bracelets, you can purchase tons of pre-made ones from PLURfect Pieces.
Kandi isn't just a craft project. The bracelets, cuffs, masks, tops, and bras serve to commemorate our music era. Gather your krew on a weeknight for a kandi creation party before the festival and spend some time listening to dope music and coming up with songs, sayings, and DJ’s that are popular this festival season to put on your bracelets, because after the festival comes to an end, kandi serves as memories of those people and things that may not be here next season (P.L.U.R. Avicii).