Friendship Bracelets

How to Read Friendship Bracelet Patterns

Making and gifting friendship bracelets is a fun and creative way to show your appreciation for friends and loved ones. You can learn to make simple bracelet styles by watching a friend or following a YouTube video.

If you want to make more complex patterns, you need to be able to read and follow a friendship bracelet pattern. In this guide, we'll break down the process step-by-step, ensuring you can easily follow patterns in our Friendship Bracelet Kit, and any pattern you find online.

Parts of a Friendship Bracelet Pattern

There are four main parts to a friendship bracelet pattern.

  1. An overhead view of the pattern represented by a grid. This shows how the bracelet will look when it is complete. 
  2. Numbers which correspond to the string colors below (on some patterns, these are letters). This shows you how you will order the yarn when you start a bracelet. Since the yarns are folded in half and knotted, each yarn is used twice in this pattern below, which is why each number appears twice. The yarn will be arranged in this order at the start of the bracelet, and also at the beginning of the repeating patterns. 
  3. Numbers with lines which correspond to each row of the pattern
  4. Circles with symbols in them, to indicate which knots to use, and which direction to tie them.

Below is a Diamond Friendship Bracelet pattern, one of the bracelets included in our Beginner Friendship Bracelet Kit.Friendship Bracelet Pattern

Basic Friendship Bracelet Knots

There are four basic friendship bracelet knots.  

If you need to learn how to tie each of these knots, check out our blog post Beginner’s Guide to Tying Friendship Bracelets.

Types of Friendship Bracelet Knots

How To Read the Friendship Bracelet Pattern

There are two ways to read and tie a friendship bracelet pattern—the row style, and the segment style.

For both styles, you first need to set up your bracelet by cutting your yarn, tying a knot, securing it to the table, and arranging it in the right color order. If you need help with any of these steps, read our Beginner’s Guide to Tying Friendship Bracelets first.

Row style

If you read a pattern row by row, you will follow the pattern as if you were reading, from left to right. In row one, you tie each of the knots on your first row from left to right. Once you do all of these knots, move on to the second row. 

One important thing to note is the bent elbows on the left and right-hand side of every other row. This means that the outside yarn is left untouched in that row, and only used in the next row.  When you see a thread color with elbows without a knot indicated, don't work it. 

FB bracelet

Once you reach the bottom of the pattern, you start again at the top, and continue until your bracelet is as long as you’d like. 

Segment Style

Another popular way to work a pattern is in color segments. Rather than working in these horizontal rows, you'll instead work all the colors in one segment at a time. This way requires less attention to the pattern—you'll just focus on working the each color as a group. 

When following a pattern with segments, you'll start from the middle segment of colors, or the shortest segment of colors if there is no middle. From there, work outwards following one color to its end, instead of working from left to right.Then you’ll pick up with the next color in the pattern, and follow that all the way to its end before continuing on.

As in the row style patterns, when you see a thread color with elbows on the edge without a knot indicated, don’t work it.


Where To Find Friendship Bracelet Patterns

If you’re brand new to friendship bracelets, we recommend starting with our Beginner Friendship Bracelet Kit! It’s come with enough yarn to make 30+ bracelets, and step by step written, illustrated, and video instructions, along with 3 printed patterns. 

If you have the basics down and are looking for more complicated patterns, our favorite resource is BraceletBook. On Bracelet Book you can browse thousands of patterns or design your own! 

Video Tutorial

Prefer to learn by video? Follow along with our step-by-step instructions on how to read friendship bracelet patterns.