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Friendship Bracelets: How To (and how NOT to)

How To Make Friendship Bracelets

Remember friendship bracelets? Using lengths of embroidery floss you stole from your mother's sewing basket, you could show fellow eighth graders how much you cared by knotting it a zillion times until the floss became jewelry, which you'd tie onto your friends' wrists at recess - and there the bracelets would stay, until exposure to the elements eventually caused them to disintegrate and fall off.

I probably made eleventy million of them when I was a kid, and these little tokens of affection are making a big comeback. Hooray for nostalgia!

Not long ago, I was given the task of writing a tutorial on how to make friendship bracelets. I was super excited, because it was a chance to relive my youth and pass a little piece of it on to my kids.

Unfortunately, the passage of 25 years had pretty much erased any memory of the secret knot-tying formula. I skipped several important steps, got my threads all mixed up, pulled my knots too tight... The end result wasn't pretty. In fact, my first attempt became a friendship bracelet fit for an enemy on CraftFail.

Yes, it was that bad.

friendship bracelet fail
True love means wearing your wife's horrific mess of a friendship bracelet.

However, I soon got my groove back, and once the kids got the hang of it they quickly became little friendship bracelet factories.

tying friendship bracelets
Perching on a Hippity Hop is optional.

When my daughter ran out of appendages to tie them to, she started using them to randomly decorate a wooden zebra. Because... of course. Who wouldn't?

"Help. Me."

If you're looking to relive the Good Ol' Days, need a crafty activity to keep kids entertained on a rainy day, or have a wooden zebra that needs a little sprucing up, stop on by Home Made Simple where I'm sharing the secrets for making all different kinds of friendship bracelets - with some variations you might not have even seen back in the Good Ol' Days. **Note: Sad trombone - Home Made Simple is no more. BUT if there's such thing as a happy trombone, let's play it for reader Lorry Lee who was kind enough to track the post down on the Wayback Machine and send the link! So here it is, in all its glory:

Knotting friendship bracelets is a classic craft that's fun for all ages. It only takes a few basic supplies to add pizazz to wardrobes or make perfect gifts for friends.

Embroidery thread
Tape or Safety Pin

  1. Cut several strands of embroidery thread into 24” strips.
  2. Combine the threads 3” from the top and tie a knot.
  3. Secure threads by taping or safety pinning the knot to a flat surface.
  4. Fan strips out so colors appear, left to right, in the same order you want the finished bracelet.
  5. With the far right strand (Thread A), make a forward knot* over the strand next to it (Thread B). Hold Thread B taut during this step.
  6. Repeat, making a second, identical double knot. Make the same knot twice for each color.
  7. Continue this process, making two forward knots with Thread A over each strand, moving toward the right.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 with Thread B, which is now farthest left. Continue this pattern, using all threads, until the bracelet is the desired length.
  9. Tie all threads together at end of the pattern.
  10. Braid any remaining unknotted thread together for a few inches and tie a final knot.
  11. Tie bracelet around your wrist, leaving room for shrinking, and trim loose ends.

*Tip: Make a forward knot by folding Thread A over Thread B in the shape of the number 4, looping it under Thread B and back up through the opening.


  • Use several shades of the same color for a beautiful monochromatic effect.
  • Create fun, eye-catching patterns by using multiple colors.
  • Thread charms onto individual strands for extra decoration.
  • Reuse parts of old or broken jewelry you already have on hand to give it new life.
  • Tie a jewelry clasp to the end for easy removal.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


Abby Heugel said...

Oh good lord. I DID make eleventy million of them and had a little container full of a million different colors of thread, etc. After that we moved on to those weird plastic lanyard bracelet things. Martha Stewart was in no danger of me ruining her empire...not that she makes friendship bracelets, but in the craft department.

Robyn of HollowTreeVentures said...

I never did those lanyards, probably because my life savings was all tied up in embroidery floss. You KNOW you want a fresh new stack of bracelets lining your arm up to your elbow, though! Okay, maybe that's just me.

Carisa Miller said...

Thinking of my old embroidery floss organizer gives me energy I didn't think I'd be able to conjure today. Question is: Will I be using the energy to accomplish my long list of to-dos or are we off to the craft store in search of a replica? Better start limbering my fingers.

fishducky said...

Love the zebra!!

Robyn of HollowTreeVentures said...

She's a cherished family pet, as you can tell. ;)

Robyn of HollowTreeVentures said...

Craft STORE, craft STORE, craft STORE! All my embroidery floss is mangled together in a cheap plastic tub - sadly, organizing it sounds like much more fun than most of the stuff on my to-do list.

Karen said...

Haha, yes! My sister and I actually were so gung-ho, we set up a booth to sell these when we were tweens. Some guy placed a custom order, our busy hands got to work, and then he never came back. What a non-deserver of a friendship bracelet. But yes, good times, great memories. And how many godlovin shades of yellow floss can be produced? The answer is, 42. Love the zebra!

Christian at PCPPP said...

Oh man did I ever make so many imaginary friendship bracelets when I was a kid.

Noelle said...

I never got the hang of making friendship bracelets. I tried, but I never could "get it". It was tragic when I was 11.

Robyn of HollowTreeVentures said...

Truly! Mine were always all twisted around, and apparently the secret is double knotting - of course I was never going to figure that out on my own, and there was no Google around to save me. ;)

Robyn of HollowTreeVentures said...

I had lots of bracelets; it was the friends that were imaginary.

Robyn of HollowTreeVentures said...

That's anti-friendship bracelet behavior right there! I bet he was the same guy who agreed to pay my friends and me to pick the gazillion dandelions in his yard, and then paid us a quarter - for three people to share. There's so much wrong with that, I don't know where to start.

Jelly Andrews said...

I am glad you shared this one. It reminds me of my
elementary days. I also did the same thing back then. But it is not as good
looking as yours. But even though, my friend likes it.


shane bond said...

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Galt Toys Friendship Bracelets

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