Skip to content
Home » How to Make Friendship Bracelets

How to Make Friendship Bracelets

How to Make Friendship Bracelets

We’ve got videos and step-by-step instructions for three of the most popular beginner friendship bracelet patterns. Learning to make a friendship bracelets is a rite of passage for everyone and while they may look complex, they are actually pretty easy to make.

Whether you are making these as best friend bracelets, a summer camp craft, or just to relax, these friendship bracelets are easy and fun for adults and kids alike.

Related: Make Your Own Macrame Bracelet, Simple Macrame Table Runner DIY, Macrame Room Divider DIY, Macrame Handbag Tutorial

chevron, spiral chinese staircase, and candy stripe friendship bracelets

What do Friendship Bracelets Symbolize?

The giving of one bracelet to another is meant to symbolize friendship and a wish is made as the bracelet is tied on (the wish is supposed to come true when the bracelet is so worn it falls off). It is believed that the origins of friendship bracelets go back to Indigenous Peoples in Central and South America.

embroidery floss for friendship bracelets

What’s the Best Thread to Use for Friendship Bracelets?

The best thread to use for friendship bracelets is embroidery floss thread as it is thin but strong, easy to work with, and comes in lots of different color combinations.

The 4 Basic Friendship Bracelet Knots

The knots in friendship bracelets are actually two knots stacked on top of each other. Each single knot is called a “hitch” and so two “hitches” stacked together equal one knot. Whether you are tying them forwards or backwards makes the different combinations below … see the video to watch them in action!

  • Forward knot: forward hitch + forward hitch
  • Backward knot: backward hitch + backward hitch
  • Forward-Backward knot: forward hitch + backward hitch
  • Backward-Forward knot: backward hitch + forward hitch

Supplies

spiral chinese staircase friendship bracelet

How to Make a Spiral Staircase Friendship Bracelet

This bracelet (also called a Chinese Staircase) is one of the easiest friendship bracelets to make, so it’s great for kids and beginners! You can use up to 6-8 different colors (this bracelet is shown with 4), but just note that the bracelet will be thicker the more colors you use.

spiral Chinese staircase friendship bracelet
  1. Cut 4 strands of embroidery thread that are about 36″ long. Tie them together at the top with a simple knot. You can either tape them to a table or use a clipboard if you want to be able to move around as you work on it.
  2. Chose one color (can be any color) and use that thread to tie a forward knot around the other 3 threads bundled together.
  3. Repeat and tie a total of 10 forward knots with that color.
  4. Choose another color and tie 10 forward knots around the bundle of the threads with that color and repeat with each color creating your staircase.
  5. Once you’ve reached your desired length, you can tie your bracelet with a simple knot and your bracelet is complete.
candy stripe friendship bracelet

How to Make a Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet

This is an easy bracelet to start with because you only need to know how to tie forward knots to make this variety. You can use up to 6-8 colors (this bracelet is shown with 5), but the bracelet will get wider the more colors you use.

  1. Cut 5 strands of embroidery thread that are about 36″ long. Tie them together at the top with a simple knot. You can either tape them to a table or use a clipboard if you want to be able to move around as you work on it.
  2. Take the first string (A) all the way on the left and make a forward knot on the second strand (B).
  3. Repeat by using that first color string (A) and making a forward knot on each string (C, D, E), working your way across the strands.
  4. What was your second strand originally (B) is now your first strand, so you’ll use that to make forward knots on each thread all the way through to the end again (C, D, E, A).
  5. Repeat with each strand as they become the first strand in line and you’ll start to see your candy stripe pattern appear!
  6. Once you’ve reached your desired length, you can tie your bracelet with a simple knot and your bracelet is complete.
chevron friendship bracelet

How to Make a Chevron Friendship Bracelet

This bracelet is a little more fancy, but still a great choice for beginners as it only uses forwards and backwards knots. You can use up to 6-8 colors, but the bracelet will get wider the more colors you use.

making a chevron friendship bracelet
  1. Cut 4 colors of embroidery thread about 72″ long. Holding all your threads together, fold in half and make a knot close to the fold so you have a small loop as the top of your bracelet.
  2. Order your thread colors so that they mirror each other (ABCDdcba).
  3. Take your first thread on the left side (A) and tie a forward knot around the second thread (B).
  4. Continue to use your first thread (A) to tie forward knots around your third (C) and fourth (D) thread as well.
  5. Now you are going to repeat the process but backwards on the other side. Take the first thread on your right side (a) and do a backwards knot around the second thread in (b).
  6. Continue to use your first thread (a) to tie backwards knots around your third (c) and fourth (d) thread as well.
  7. Now that both of your first threads are in the middle (A and a), take your left-hand thread (A) and do a forward knot on the right-hand thread (a) to finish off the “V” shape.
  8. Repeat this process with each outermost string (which is now B and b) and your chevron pattern will start to emerge.
  9. Once you’ve reached your desired length, you can tie your bracelet with a simple knot and your bracelet is complete.
chevron, spiral chinese staircase, and candy stripe friendship bracelets

Friendship Bracelet FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get my friendship bracelet to lay flat and straight?

If your bracelet is curving or curling, try wetting the bracelet and then tape it so it lays flat and straight on a surface while it dries (candy stripe bracelets are the most prone to curling to one side).

You also want to try and tie your knots evenly at the same tightness throughout the bracelet making process so it will be more even overall.

Why does my bracelet have holes between knots?

If you are seeing holes between your knots, it means that you need to adjust your tension (how hard you pull) when you are pulling your knots tight. If you are tying your knots too loose, the knots won’t be sitting snugly next to each other and you’ll end up with space between them.

Try watching carefully as you pull each knot tight and make sure it’s sitting right next to the knot beside it to avoid holes.

How long should your string be for friendship bracelets?

You’ll want to have about 36″ of each color string for your friendship bracelets. If you need two colors of each string (like on the chevron bracelet pattern), then you’ll want to start with 72″ of string and fold the strings in half, knotted at the top, so all your strings are 36″ long.

What do I do if I run out of string?

You can add more string by tying another strand of the same color onto the short strand. Continue weaving your bracelet but when you get to the knot, keep the tails of your knot on the backside of your bracelet and then snip the tails off once the bracelet is finished.

You can also do a dab of super glue on the knot to make sure it stays together.

chevron, spiral chinese staircase, and candy stripe friendship bracelets

Tips for Making Friendship Bracelets:

  • When tying your knots, you want to pull the knot firmly tight but not too tight. It should feel like a gentle but firm tug to tighten it rather than pulling really hard.
  • Try and keep all your knots tied at the same tightness to keep the bracelet looking even.
  • It’s easiest to work on a table or a large clipboard so you can tape the bracelet about a foot away from you and have the strings hang down over the table or clipboard edge.
  • Try making different color combinations for holidays or special occasions!

Looking for more bracelet DIYs? Check out:


Print

get the how-to
Get the How-To

Video and photo instructions to make 3 easy beginner friendship bracelets

Cost .50¢

Yield 1 bracelet

Prep 2 minutes

Cook 1 hour

Total 1 hour 2 minutes

Instructions

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet

  • Cut 5 strands of embroidery thread that are about 36″ long. Tie them together at the top with a simple knot. You can either tape them to a table or use a clipboard if you want to be able to move around as you work on it.

  • Take the first string (A) all the way on the left and make a forward knot on the second strand (B).

  • Repeat by using that first color string (A) and making a forward knot on each string (C, D, E) working your way across the strands.

  • What was your second strand originally (B) is now your first strand so you’ll use that to make forward knots on each thread all the way through to the end again (C, D, E, A).

  • Repeat with each strand as they become the first strand in line and you’ll start to see your candy stripe pattern appear!

  • Once you’ve reached your desired length, you can tie your bracelet with a simple knot and your bracelet is complete.

Spiral Staircase Friendship Bracelet

  • Cut 4 strands of embroidery thread that are about 36″ long. Tie them together at the top with a simple knot. You can either tape them to a table or use a clipboard if you want to be able to move around as you work on it.

  • Chose one color (can be any color) and use that thread to tie a forward knot around the other 3 threads bundled together.

  • Repeat and tie a total of 10 forward knots with that color.

  • Choose another color and tie 10 forward knots around the bundle of the threads with that color and repeat with each color creating your staircase.

  • Once you’ve reached your desired length, you can tie your bracelet with a simple knot and your bracelet is complete.

Chevron Friendship Bracelet

  • Cut 4 colors of embroidery thread about 72″ long. Holding all your threads together, fold in half and make a knot close to the fold so you have a small loop as the top of your bracelet.

  • Order your thread colors so that they mirror each other (ABCDdcba).

  • Take your first thread on the left side (A) and tie a forward knot around the second thread (B).

  • Continue to use your first thread (A) to tie forward knots around your third (C) and fourth (D) thread as well.

  • Now you are going to repeat the process but backwards on the other side. Take the first thread on your right side (a) and do a backwards knot around the second thread in (b).

  • Continue to use your first thread (a) to tie backwards knots around your third (c) and fourth (d) thread as well.

  • Now that both of your first threads are in the middle (A and a), take your left-hand thread (A) and do a forward knot on the right-hand thread (a) to finish off the “V” shape.

  • Repeat this process with each outermost string (which is now B and b) and your chevron pattern will start to emerge.

  • Once you’ve reached your desired length, you can tie your bracelet with a simple knot and your bracelet is complete.

Notes

Tips for Making Friendship Bracelets:

  • When tying your knots, you want to pull the knot firmly tight but not too tight. It should feel like a gentle but firm tug to tighten it rather than pulling really hard.
  • Try and keep all your knots tied at the same tightness to keep the bracelet looking even.
  • It’s easiest to work on a table or a large clipboard so you can tape the bracelet about a foot away from you and have the strings hang down over the table or clipboard edge.
  • Try making different color combinations for holidays or special occasions!