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Friendship bracelets, made from cotton string and simple knots, are a timeless and cherished way to make something fun to share with someone you love. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to refresh your skills, this guide will walk you through each step of the process of creating beautiful friendship bracelets.
Materials Needed for Friendship Bracelets
To get started with DIY friendship bracelets you’ll need some basic materials, most of which you already have around your house!
- A clipboard or tape to hold your bracelet in place while you tie it
- A ruler or measuring tape (optional)
- Cotton thread in your preferred colors
Getting Started Tying Friendship Bracelets
Select the colors for your first bracelet. Bracelets typically have 2-4 colors, although more intricate bracelets can have many more. If you’re a beginner, start with two colors!
1. Cut your yarn approximately 72” (2 yards) long.
2. Fold the yarn in half, and make a looped knot at the top.
3. Secure your bracelet with a piece of tape on a table or heavy book, or with a clipboard.
Now you’re ready to get started!
Types of Knots in Friendship Bracelets
The forward knot is the most frequently-used knot in making bracelets. It moves the yarn from left to right.
Step 1. Hold the right yarn tight in one hand, and use your other hand to position the left yarn on top in a figure 4.
Step 2. Take the tail of the left yarn and pass it underneath the right yarn and up through the opening of the figure 4. Be sure to maintain tension on the right yarn.
Step 3. Pull the yarn toward the right and all the way through the figure 4. Pull upward to tighten the knot into position. This completes the half knot. Repeat Steps 1-3 to make a full knot.
The backward knot is used to move yarn from right to left, moving them backwards in the row. It is made the same way as the forward knot, but in reverse.
Step 1. Hold the left yarn tight in one hand, and use your other hand to position the right string on top in a backward figure 4.
Step 2. Take the tail of the right yarn and pass it underneath the left yarn and up through the opening of the figure 4. Be sure to maintain tension on the left yarn.
Step 3. Pull the yarn toward the left and all the way through the figure 4. Pull upward to tighten the knot into position. This completes a half knot. Repeat steps 1-3 to make a full knot.
Forward Backward Knot
A forward backward (FB) knot is used in more intricate friendship bracelet patterns to change the direction of the yarn mid-knot.
To tie a forward backward knot, first tie a forward half knot, and then a backward half knot. This lets your working yarn start and end on the left.
Backward Forward Knot
For backward forward knots (BF), first tie a backward half knot, then a forward half knot. The working yarn starts and ends on the right.
Friendship Bracelet Knot Symbols
Here is a key for understanding each type of knot in friendship bracelet patterns:
Reading Friendship Bracelet Patterns
We wrote a whole blog post all about reading friendship bracelet patterns. You can find it right here!
Once you are comfortable reading Friendship Bracelet Patterns and you’re ready to try your first bracelet, we recommend starting with a diagonal bracelet pattern as your first bracelet. You can watch our video about how to read a Diagonal Bracelet pattern and how to tie a Diagonal Bracelet.
Where To Find Friendship Bracelet Patterns
We recommend starting with our Beginner Friendship Bracelet Kit, It contains step-by-step instructions for 3 bracelet patterns, 4 tubes of organic cotton yarn, and enough yarn to make 30+ bracelets.
Once you have the basics down, our favorite resource for Friendship Bracelet Patterns is BraceletBook. You can find thousands of patterns of all skill levels, and even write and submit your own.
How To Finish Your Friendship Bracelet
Once your bracelet is as long as you’d like, there are a lot of fun ways to finish your friendship bracelet. You can twist the ends, braid them, or do other more elaborate options. Watch our video on finishing friendship bracelets to learn a few of our favorite techniques.
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