How to Make Friendship Bracelets

Make Friendship Bracelets and Celebrate Your Friends

teens wearing friendship bracelets
Brook Pifer/Taxi/Getty Images

There are all different types and patterns of friendship bracelets. Plus, the inexpensive threads come in every color of the rainbow - endless combination of friendship bracelets are obtainable for very little cost as they are made with embroidery floss threads. 

Here are a few tips for teens to get started on a simple friendship bracelet pattern.

Use embroidery floss to make your friendship bracelets and keep them organized by color from the start using a thread holder or other organizer. Once these thin strings get tangled, they are a pain to unravel, so try to keep them from becoming a big knot.

In addition to embroidery floss, you'll need scissors, a measuring tape or ruler, tabs to twine thread on (helps keep them from turning into a knotted mess), a safety pin and pillow, a clipboard or masking tape.

Give yourself and your teen some time to learn the steps. Start with an easy pattern, but don't be too afraid to progress to the more difficult patterns once you know how to do the basic knot.

Use graph paper to plot out a recurring pattern with two colored threads when you're ready to make your own.

The History of Friendship Bracelets

Friendship bracelets originated in Native American handcrafts, where hand weaving, knot tying, and bright colors are predominant. If you are running a Native American camp or event for teens, this is an excellent craft to include.

A friendship bracelet should be tied on by the friend if possible, and worn until it falls off naturally. There are some friendship bracelets made for wishing wishes, those are very fun but tend to be thinner as the friends like them to fall off faster so that the wish can come true.

The Basic Friendship Knot

basic friendship knot on bracelet
Denise D. Witmer

This knot takes some practice but isn't too hard to master. One thing to always remember, unless a specific pattern says otherwise told: Do this knot twice. Doing this knot only once, which is really considered a half-knot, is the most common mistake people make when trying to do these bracelets.

To make the basic knot:

  1. Hold string 2 firmly.
  2. Place string 1 over string 2, then under, then through.
  3. While still holding string 2 firmly, pull up on string 1 until the knot is snugly in place.
  4. Repeat
  5. Move on to the next thread.

You will note in the picture that there is a right hand knot and a left hand knot. They will be denoted RHK and LHK respectively, in the friendship bracelet patterns.

Friendship Bracelets: Measuring and Holding Your Threads

friendship bracelet
Denise D. Witmer

For bracelets size 6 or size 7, you will need threads that are each four feet long. Add another foot for longer bracelets and anklets.

You can hold your bracelet still when weaving by using masking tape and attaching it to a table, using a clipboard, or safety-pinning it to a pillow.

Friendship Bracelets: Reordering the Threads

friendship bracelet
Denise D. Witmer

When you make a pass in a friendship bracelet pattern, you then reorder the threads, so that you can go on to the next step. This is very important and may be the second most common reason people make mistakes when making friendship bracelets. So remember, after doing a friendship knot, the threads have changed places. Put them in the new order and after completing the row, reorder the threads in your head.

Friendship Bracelets: Sizing the Friendship Bracelet

friendship bracelet
Denise D. Witmer

In order for the friendship bracelet to fit properly, you should measure the wrist. The best fit is when the two knotted ends leave a small gap on the wrist as shown in the picture so that there is room to knot the ends together.

Friendship Bracelets: Finishing off the Bracelets.

friendship bracelet
Denise D. Witmer

Finishing off the bracelets is pretty straightforward, simply braid the ends and knot the tips. 

Attaching a friendship bracelet can be done by placing the bracelet around the wrist and tying a square knot. You want it snug enough that it won't fall off, but not too tight.

You should be sure to do this when giving the bracelet as a gift, as part of the act of sealing the friendship for as long as the bracelet lasts (and hopefully longer!).

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