by Loana McCabe-Gould
When I went to my first music festival in the US in 2014, the first thing my rave fam thought me was how to make Kandi and trade. Since then, making Kandi has become a really important part of raving for me and I’ve made so many friends in the community because of that. What is Kandi and why do people trade it at raves? Here are some instructions on the different types of Kandi, what you need, and how to trade Kandi so you’ll be ready for your next rave!
Types of Kandi
Kandi can come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. A lot of people bring singles (the bead bracelets ravers wear) but some people also bring unique necklaces, Kandi masks, Spirit Hood charms, etc. It’s all about being creative and making someone else’s day! The main types of Kandi I have seen at raves are singles, Kandi cuffs, and perlers. I’ll go through each of these types of Kandi and how to make them.
Singles are the most common type of Kandi I see at raves. They take the least amount of time to make, so many ravers would make a lot to trade with other people. They’re the easiest to make, so there’s a lot of room to get creative with these. People use letter beads to put phases on them, and sometimes you can find Kandi with cute charms or unique beads.
Materials: pony beads, letter beads, string (I usually use 1mm thickness since those don’t break as easily), scissors, charms or unique beads (optional).
Cuffs are a little harder to make, and they take more time than singles. However, I think the extra work is worth it since most people are extremely happy when they get traded cuffs! I personally love making cuffs because it gives me a lot of room to be creative. For example, last year at Paradiso I made a series of Disney Princess cuffs and I got to trade those with a lot of people I just met for the first time (you can find pictures of those on my Instagram @loanabanana82). If you want to make cuffs, best thing I recommend is looking at tutorials on YouTube or finding a friend who can teach you. I personally recommend Ginger Cand-e’s YouTube channel, she does an amazing job explaining each step!
Materials: pony beads (make sure you have enough of each color), string (depending on the size or type of cuff you will need a lot), and scissors. Charms, letter beads, unique beads, perlers, or plushies are optional.
Remembers those beads you used to make designs with, and iron when you were a kid? Those are perlers, and here’s a chance to make things with them again! Perler designs can range from simple to extremely complicated. Some people make perlers to put on singles and cuffs while others put them on necklaces. It’s all about your personal preferences and what you want to make! When I make perlers, I tape my perlers before I iron them. The heat from the iron can destroy your board, so doing this will help your board last longer!
Materials: perler beads, perler pegboard, parchment paper, iron
@basstato with her perler and wearing Freedom Rave Wear!
Now that you have all your Kandi, you’re ready to trade them with people at raves! I set up trades with people ahead of time so I know what to make for them. I also bring a lot of extra Kandi so I could trade with strangers I connect with at raves (this is a good way to make new friends!)
When you trade with people, don’t forget the PLUR handshake. PLUR stands for Peace, Love, Unity, Respect, and it’s an important concept for a lot of ravers!