Let's make some ladder friendship bracelets! I will be showing you how to do two different variations. The first one is just a normal ladder with parallel beaded "rungs". The second one ends up looking like a zig zag. Both of them are pretty simple and should only take around an hour to make, depending on how quick you are at knotting.
All you will need are three colors of embroidery thread, beads that canfit over 2 strands of the thread you are using (I'm using 6/0 beads; it should say on the package) and scissors. Just quickly test the beads by cutting two little pieces of thread and putting them through the bead. You will probably have to use a little spit on the ends and maybe roll the two threads together. It should be a snug fit but shouldn't take forever to thread.
Step 1: Getting Started
Take the end of one of your chosen threads and wrap it around your wrist four times (a little loosely is fine) and cut it off. Then using that thread for measurement, cut off two strands of that length for each thread color. You should end up with 6 strands, 2 of each color. Tie them together, leaving an inch or two up top for tying the bracelet together when it's done. Tape the threads down to something (I'm using a large notebook) and separate the threads so there are two groups with all three colors in each. Now you will begin to knot!
Step 2: Begin to Knot
For anyone who saw my earbud instructable or has made any kind of spiral knotted friendship bracelet, this knot is the same (some friendship bracelet books call it the L2R knot for left to right). For the people just trying this out, take your first color of thread on the left and make it into a 4 shape over the unused threads (the blue and white in the pic). Then bring it under those threads and into the triangle the 4 creates. Bring it out over the vertical of the 4 and pull it tight at the top. It might be easier to understand from the picture. Continue tying this knot for a little while until you are happy with the amount of that particular thread color you have. The knots should curve inwards naturally and spiral around the two unused threads.
Note: If you are having trouble getting the knots to spiral, you are probably pulling the knot tight directly below the previous knot and not letting it spiral down. If you really can't get the knots to go around, you can cheat a little and just twist the finished knotted layer (the green in my case) around the unused threads and basically force it to go around. Whatever works :)
Step 3: The Other Side
Now you will work on the thread pile on the right. This knot is the same as the other side, except you make the 4 backwards. Make a backwards 4, pull the thread under the vertical part of the 4, and over the slant part of the 4.Keep knotting until the two sides are the same length.
Step 4: Thread the Beads
Thread the three beads onto one of the strands of the color you were just using (the green). Then take the other thread and pull it through the beads the opposite way. Pull both ends of the (green) threads so the beads are drawn up snugly against the previously knotted threads. Now you will move on to the next color.
Step 5: Repeat
To move on to the next color thread, just take it and knot it over the other two. Simple as that! Just make sure that you start your knots right next to the beads to keep them from coming a little loose. Also remember to make your knots on the right the opposite way you make the ones on the left. This way the knots on both sides will spiral inwards. Keep knotting and beading until the bracelet is as long as you like. When it's long enough, knot both sections of thread together (just a normal knot) and cut of the excess thread about an inch or two from the end. You are done! Unless you want to make a different variation...
Step 6: Replicate the First Three Steps
To make a zigzag version of this bracelet, set up a bracelet the exact same way, with two sections of three colors. The knots are also exactly the same. Above are some clearer pictures of what the knot on the right section should look like. Knot both sections until the lengths are even.
Step 7: Making the Zig Zag
First thread 3 beads and string them up like you did before. Pull them tight and then knot only on one of the sides (I'm doing the right but it doesn't really matter) with the next color. Then thread 5 beads onto the thread color you were just using, which should be pulled into a slant. This should form an angle with the horizontal beads you just added. If your slant looks weird, it's probably because the knotting you did on the one side is either too long or not long enough. The distance from where the beads meet the left section of thread to the new knots on the right should be exactly five beads. You may have to check the length by lining the beads up before you actually thread them.
Step 8: Continue the Zig Zag
On the thread section where the beads form angle, continue knotting for 2 colors (in the picture, the pink and black on the left side). Then thread 5 beads onto the third bracelet color that you just finished using (the black). Pick up where you left off on the third color of the side where the newest beads form an angle (black on the right side). Continue for that color and the next one, and repeat. There should be two colors of thread between each V-shape of the zig zag (besides the first and last one -- those should only have one color). When you are just about done with the bracelet, finish off like you started. Instead of doing 2 colors between each beaded section, do one color on each side and then string 3 beads on and pull them up.
Step 9: Finishing Up
After your last horizontal line of beads, knot one more color (equal on each side) and tie the ends in a knot. Of course, cut off the excess and put it on your wrist! Feel free to comment any questions about any of the steps or anything. Also, if there are any bracelets in the above picture that you have not seen and would like me to do a tutorial on, I would be happy to do so. I hope you enjoyed! :)