How to Make a Friendship Bracelet

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About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

Intro: How to Make a Friendship Bracelet

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
  • scissors
  • 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Make another knot by tying the first strand around the second strand again - just repeat what you did before!
  4. Continue moving across to the right, using the first strand to create two knots on each strand of floss/yarn in the bracelet.
  5. 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.
  6. 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! 

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    51 Discussions

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    MissyC16

    Question 2 months ago on Step 2

    If i wanted to make a longer necklace, how should i measure that?

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    JamesA41

    3 months ago

    I was cleaning out my old room I made in the basement in high school and threw out some of the bead making (I kept the choker jig for some reason), bracelet and craft stuff. There was a period where I had to learn every hobby and craft, including what the ladies were doing (there were a few experiments I didn't try for sure that are just for the girls).

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    JamesA41JamesA41

    Reply 3 months ago

    Seems like I'd use a thumb tack for these style bracelets or tie to something and jam in the desk since I'd make in class sometimes. I forget what age range... like junior high maybe?

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    JamesA41JamesA41

    Reply 3 months ago

    I'm still struggling with the library of mine and not throwing out since what's left didn't have mildew or ??? growths on them.

    Basement leaking over the years... though when Dad had chemo & radiation that ultimately murdered him and I wasn't there to clean the eaves troughs, vacuum and maintain the dehumidifier..., the basement started growing things. Plus blow outs from the stoma sack that weren't disinfected or cleaned extremely well.

    Once Mom moved out, I came down to clean where after running ozone for a few weeks to months got the odor under control and most likely halted growth so whomever came over didn't smell until a washing or two. The smell lingered in my beard until I washed it a few times also. I still want to do a chlorine dioxide/chlorine final detox to kill off spores and eggs if any are left. Was thinking maybe peracetic acid hydrogen peroxide... though I will be etching the basement walls again to seal this time with a epoxy or at least oil based sealant... so muratic acid will be used for sure. Might pull a vacuum on the whole house also just to make sure good absorption.

    Yeah, is hard for me to throw things out also and not donate. Actually, I came down to having a bunch of my stuff already thrown out when my other siblings took a stab at cleaning out. They were going to pitch everything and I negotiated to give me a year or more to work on and maybe I'd even just buy the house.

    For the girls is more their gender type stuff that is a no go for Protestants for sure and not best talked about on instructables. I tried most my Grandmothers crafts too in her craft shop... not just the Grandpa's workshops and my Dad even was the person who taught me maintenance (he was an industrial master mechanic) and how to crochet.

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    SirCooksalotJamesA41

    Reply 3 months ago

    THREW OUT crafts?!? Blasphemy! Next time just hand them over to some young person who looks like they need a craft. Drop em at the library. Leave them at a school. Anything but throw them out. And hey, whattya mean just for girls? I tried it all, needlepoint, crossstitch. Rosie Grier used to knit.

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    NarkR

    3 months ago on Step 9

    not sure if I understand how you end it so you can "tie it on" by yourself. is there a loop on one side and a knot to go into the loop, on the other side? thank you for sharing. N

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    SirCooksalot

    3 months ago

    Always an awesome Ible from Jessy! Jeez, what a pro. This instantly brought me back to the 80’s and long summers and camp. YES, boys wore friendship bracelets! We just used manly cool colors. Also gimp bracelets and those boat-rope bracelets that don’t come off. Aaaand sleeveless belly shirts, sometimes tie dyed... Man, loved the 80’s!

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    BrittanyT20

    Tip 6 months ago on Step 4

    For me I like to use and clip board. I clip it right where the knot is. It helps me keep straight and tight. Also, if i have to stop in the middle or move or want to do it in the car it makes it easier. I can tape down where I've gotten to so far, as well as separate each strand and tape down until I can continue.

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    mdemeranBrittanyT20

    Reply 3 months ago

    I second the clipboard idea. I always keep safety pins on hand though because on occasion, especially in the car, it's easier to pin the bracelet to the seat in front of me to keep tension on it. I used to do it on my towels or gear bag during swim meets as well. Clipboards tended to rust or get blazing hot in the sun around the pool so we had to be creative.

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    always curious

    3 months ago

    well, finally in my 72nd year I may be able to do this bracelet. Always felt such a klutz when my primary school aged daughter (maybe 8 or 9 years old!) made these by the dozen! She tried to teach me then, but no go. You know,there are always some things in our lives that we want to achieve before we "leave". For me this is one of them. Plus your instructions are so clear. Thank you.

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    tay-rex

    1 year ago

    Super easy instructions to follow! Mine wasn't nearly as neat (first time), but it came out right! Thank you :)

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    -moonglade

    2 years ago

    I like this bracelet...just haven't made it yet :)

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    parisusa

    2 years ago

    My first friendship bracelet ever (I'm an adult!). My 11 yr old son tied it on my wrist & then asked for one in his & his friend's fav colors! Yay!

    16, 10:08 PM.jpg
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    JavaJack

    6 years ago on Introduction

    You can also divide the strands into two batches near the end, working each batch separately, to make a buttonhole. Then sew a button on the other end.

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    UniBotjessyratfink

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Up next in the next instructable... Learn how to make friends for your friendship bracelets!
    just a start: make sure your brand new friend is the right size for your bracelet.

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    Pawpaw9009

    2 years ago

    Im makeing thes fore me and all my friends