Friendship bracelets are a great craft that you can take anywhere! They're especially nice for people who have failed repeatedly at learning to knit and crochet. And as a bonus, I feel like learning how to make a friendship bracelet is one of those rites of passage you always do at summer camp, so this might just be like figuring out how to ride a bike again. :D
All you need to make a friendship bracelet is some embroidery floss! In this instructable I'll show you how to make the most basic of friendship bracelets - the candy stripe!
You can make them as thick or thin as you like, and you can easily learn how to make a friendship bracelet in less than an hour. You'll get quicker and quicker as you go, too!
I apologize in advance for using several different bracelets to demonstrate how to make a friendship bracelet - I did lots of the steps over and over to try to get the best photos. Getting pictures of tiny knots is really tricky. :P
Step 1: what you'll need:
embroidery floss/thin yarn
tape or pins/safety pins
The embroidery floss can be the cheap kind that comes in huge packs like this! You don't need anything fancy. Just make sure it's six stranded - otherwise it won't be thick enough for a nice bracelet.
Lion Brand yarn also has these tiny little skeins of yarn called Bonbons that are perfect. And lordy they are cute.
The tape or pins will keep the bracelet in place as you braid/knot the friendship bracelet. :)
Step 2: measuring + cutting
The general rule is to cut pieces of floss the length between your fingertips and shoulder - I would say right around 30 inches works well for me! I tried 25 with the first one and it cut it awful close.
My wrists are right around 6 inches, so let's just say measure your wrist and then multiply that by 5 to be safe. You don't want to run out of floss after all that knotting and not be able to finish it. :)
If you're going to be making a bracelet that is more than six strands it might be a good idea add another 6 inches, too! You'll be making extra knots with every row, and therefore going through each color a little quicker.
Step 3: determining the number of strands
The highest number of strands I've ever done is eight. I normally go for six - six is perfect for me - dainty but detailed, and ends up being about 1/4-1/3 of an inch. :)
Keep in mind that higher numbers of strands are harder to keep track of, and the bracelet can become a little warped with more strands, so you'll need to block it (see the last step for info on how to do this!) if you want it to lay straight.
And depending on what you'd like your pattern to be, you can use two alternating colors, or every strand can be a different color. You can get lots of pretty patterns with very little effort!
I've included a picture of a six strand bracelet next to an eight strand bracelet so you can get a better idea. :D
Step 4: how to start the bracelet
Begin the bracelet by taking your cut strands of embroidery floss and tying an overhand knot in one end.
Adhere this to a tabletop or your pants or a pillow and braid three inches down from this knot. Once you've finished your braid, make another overhand knot at the bottom of the braid.
And now we'll get to the fun bit!
(And just so everyone knows - each finished bracelet with be 3 inches of braiding on each end (so 6 inches total) and 3-4 inches of the knotting that makes up the actual bracelet.)
Step 5: start the knotting
The way you make the ridged, woven looking surface of a friendship bracelet is by making lots of small knots.
First you need to decide what order you want your strands to be in. This will determine the order of the color of your rows.
Once they're in order, grab the first two strands. The strand farthest to the left is going to create your first row. You'll be knotting it around the other strands of floss/yarn to achieve this.
Take the first strand, and pass it over the second strand, and then behind as shown in the photo. It is important you knot OVER the second strand, it'll give it the right look.
Now hold the second strand taut, and pull the first strand up and towards the large knot. Pull until you meet resistance, but not any harder! This will create a small knot on on the second strand.
Make another knot by tying the first strand around the second strand again - just repeat what you did before!
Continue moving across to the right, using the first strand to create two knots on each strand of floss/yarn in the bracelet.
Once you've knotted all the way across to the right and reached the last strand of floss/yarn, begin again using the first strand on the left. Make sure you're making TWO knots on each strand.
Keep going until you have 3-4 inches of knotting done.
Step 6: how it'll look as you go
I feel like this is a useful way to understand what you're doing. :D
As you can see, you're just working your way across with whatever color is on the left, making two knots on each strand to the right. The color you've just finished carrying all the way to the right will always hang off to the side, which will help let you know when you've finished a row.
If you miss a strand or accidentally forget to finish a row, it should be easy to spot. It's a good idea to keep a needle around to help you pick out any knots if you mess up - they're so tiny it's hard to do with your fingers!
Step 7: how to finish the bracelet
Once you've got 3-4 inches worth of knotting done, you're fine to finish up your bracelet.
Make another overhand knot right at the end of the main part of the bracelet. From that knot, braid three inches and then knot again.
Now cut off the extra floss/yarn from both ends of the bracelet. Now you're done!
Step 8: tie it on!
By braiding it the way we did, it'll be super easy to tie/untie it. And you'll be able to do it yourself. :D
No more having to wear them into the shower and wandering around with wet bracelets for hours after! (I swear this is what always happened when I made them when I was younger, or when a friend made me one and tied it on. There was no taking them off. You either wore them, or cut them off and ruined them. :P)
Step 9: additional stuffs
If you've knotted your bracelet with a fury, it could cause it to curl up a bit. To help combat this, you can pin it/tape it to a flat surface. Make sure it's pulled nice and taut.
Spray it with a good amount of water (soak it!) and let it dry like that. This is called "blocking" and it'll help it lay nice and flat. :)
Please let me know if you have any questions or if anything is unclear in the comments below!