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How to Read Friendship Bracelet Patterns

How to Read Friendship Bracelet Patterns The Neon Tea Party

Once you’ve mastered friendship bracelet knots and have tried your hand at one or both beginner patterns, Candy Stripe and Chevron, it’s time to learn how to read friendship bracelet patterns! There are endless pattern possibilities for friendship bracelets, and you can find tens of thousands of them on friendship-bracelets.net, which is the go-to source for friendship bracelet patterns. There you can find classic diagonal patterns that include diamonds, X’s and the like, as well as playful icon patterns such as cacti, peace signs and smiley faces.

If you’re in need of supplies to make friendship bracelets, our Friendship Bracelet DIY Kits contain everything you need to get started including the colorful yarn pictured above, airplane-approved Fiskars scissors, bright washi tape & more!

 

Elements of a Friendship Bracelet Pattern

Here’s an example of a repeating pattern featuring interlocking diamonds and X’s. This is the pattern that we teach in our Friendship Bracelets 101 Workshop. On this and all patterns you’ll see a variety of elements:

  • A visual of the pattern at the top
  • Letters which correspond to string colors below
  • Dashed lines on the sides with numbers next to them – these indicate the rows within the pattern
  • Bubbles with arrows which indicate the direction of each knot
  • Bent edges without bubbles to indicate skipping those strands when knotting a row

The Neon Tea Party Interlocking X Diamond Friendship Bracelet Pattern

 

The Four Basic Friendship Bracelet Knots

There are four basic types of friendship bracelet knots, which are essentially all the same knot just tied in varying directions. Friendship bracelet knots consist of two knots stacked together (one strand tied around another strand twice), so you have the following four options:

Friendship Bracelet Pattern Arrows

Forwards knot = forwards knot followed by forwards knot

Backwards knot = backwards knot followed by backwards knot

Forwards-Backwards knot = forwards knot followed by backwards knot

Backwards-Forwards knot = backwards knot followed by forwards knot

To learn how to create all four friendship bracelet knots, head to our Friendship Bracelet DIY page.

 

How to Read a Friendship Bracelet Pattern

  1. Cut 32+” of Omegacryl yarn or embroidery floss for each strand indicated at the top of the pattern underneath the capital letters. Tie strands all together with an overhand knot 3″ down and secure to fabric with a safety pin or to a hard surface with tape. Lay out the colors in your desired color order according to the order indicated by the letters on the top of the pattern.
  2. You’ll work through the pattern one row at a time. In other words, you’ll start with Row 1, which is indicated by the “1–” on both sides of the pattern. After you complete all the knots across Row 1, you’ll move on to Row 2, and so on. It’s helpful to use a ruler, book or any other straight object to keep your place on the pattern.
  3. Before working a row, pair together the two strands of yarn that will get knotted together in the row. If you refer to the pattern above, in Row 1 you’ll pair together strands A+B, C+D, E+F, F+E, D+C, and B+A.
  4. Starting from the left, you’ll knot the first pair together according to the direction indicated by the bubble. The color of the bubble indicates the color knot that will be formed, so that is the strand that will do the knotting. The other color will be the strand around which the knot is formed. Once your first knot is complete, move onto the next knot to the right and continue until the row is complete.
  5. VERY IMPORTANT: If your row begins and/or ends with a bent edge that has no bubble, this means that you will skip that strand for that row. For those rows, I recommend placing the blank strands above your bracelet up near the knot to keep them visually out of the way and avoid possible confusion. Once the row in complete and the following row begins with a bubble, you can bring the strands back down join the rest and proceed using those strands in the pattern for that next row.
  6. Once you’ve completed the pattern, repeat by beginning again at the top of the pattern. With many patterns, such as the one pictured below, the string colors may no longer match up on the second round the way they did the first time around. If it’s confusing to go off of the pattern when the colors don’t match up, you can always write the name of the new color next to the corresponding string letter at the top of the pattern to create a color guide. The color order that the strings are in once you finish the first round of your pattern is the order in which you’re going to want to write them in at the top. It’s best to write in pencil with an eraser handy, that way when it’s time for the 3rd, 4th, etc. round of the pattern, you can erase the colors from the previous round and write in the new ones. Continue repeating the pattern until your bracelet is long enough to fit your wrist or ankle.
  7. Be sure to tie your knots tightly to keep an even tension throughout your pattern. If you make a mistake with a knot, you can use a pin to undo your knots and start again. One incorrect knot can mess up the rest of the pattern, so I recommend fixing mistakes to ensure your pattern comes out as pictured.

 

More Fun Patterns!

Once you’ve completed the simple, repetitive pattern above, try giving this one a go! This is the beautiful pattern pictured at the very beginning of this post. It is pattern #9726 from friendship-bracelets.net, however there were a number of errors in the pattern so I’ve corrected them in the accurate pattern below.

Friendship Bracelet Pattern 9726 - Revisions by The Neon Tea Party

Here are some other patterns I love and recommend trying out!

CLASSIC DIAGONAL PATTERNS

ICON PATTERNS

Reading friendship bracelet patterns can be a little confusing at first but keep working through it and reading these handy diagrams will soon become a breeze! Be sure to leave any questions in the comments below.

Let us know if you try your hand at reading friendship bracelet patterns by posting photos on Instagram and tagging @theneonteaparty or email them to me directly at marisa@theneonteaparty.com! I can’t wait to see what you create!

Peace, love & neon,
Marisa

34 Comments

  1. Krin on May 9, 2019 at 6:16 am

    How do you know how much macrame or embroidery floss you’ll need?

    • the neon tea party on June 25, 2019 at 11:59 am

      Hi Krin! Thank you for your question! You want to measure approximately 3x the length you want your finished project to be, so a 12″ friendship bracelet will call for 36″ of string. 32-36″ is the amount we recommend for an average bracelet for a woman’s wrist. Always better to cut more than less! I hope this helps! -Marisa

    • Taylor on April 6, 2020 at 4:28 pm

      I feel so stupid asking this but I forgot, how do you tie different knots and what are their def. or like…..*confused*.

  2. Camille on June 9, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you so much! Plus, your website name is FABULOUS! I can now read and use friendship pattern bracelets! Thanks!

    • the neon tea party on June 25, 2019 at 11:53 am

      Hi Camille! Thank you so much for you kind comment! I’m so glad you found this post helpful!! Be sure to tag @theneonteaparty on Instagram so we can see what you create after learning how to read friendship bracelet patterns! Happy crafting 🙂 -Marisa

    • Geneva on January 1, 2020 at 1:58 am

      Once finished with the first row, starting from left, do you continue by starting the next row on the right?

      • the neon tea party on January 2, 2020 at 2:46 pm

        Hi Geneva! When you move onto the next row, start again on the left, always. I hope that helps!! Let me know if you have any more questions! Happy crafting!! xo, Marisa

  3. Skyler on July 12, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    What about patterns with rounded ends?? Do I still leave them out for that row?

    • the neon tea party on July 15, 2019 at 10:26 am

      Hi Skyler! That’s a great question! Though I’m not sure what types of patterns you’re referring to… Feel free to email me a photo at marisa@theneoneteaparty.com and hopefully I can help! 🙂

  4. elif on July 16, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    thank youuu i love this blog and i try now bracalet again thank you :DDDD :****

    • the neon tea party on July 16, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Thank YOU Elif!!! So glad you found it helpful!!!! Have fun making friendship bracelets!! -Marisa

  5. Bianka on July 19, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    If I finish a bracelet and it isn’t long enough do I start from the beginning with the current string colors or do I match them up with the colors I started with?

    • the neon tea party on August 5, 2019 at 10:30 am

      Hi Bianka! You can always tie a new piece of string in the same color onto the end of the too-short string, then keep making your bracelet as usual! You’ll have a little knot in your friendship bracelet somewhere but it will be discrete and allow you to finish your bracelet to length. I hope that helps! -Marisa

  6. Sammy on August 8, 2019 at 12:32 am

    Hello! What kind of string are you using in the photo above? I love the colors!

  7. kayled on August 16, 2019 at 12:15 am

    how do i repeat the pattern on the second pic? it’s confusing, i don’t know how to continue.

    • the neon tea party on September 24, 2019 at 10:15 am

      Hi Kayla! Once you finish the pattern, you start right back at line 1. The colors will no longer match up the way they did the first time around. If it’s confusing to go off of the pattern when the colors don’t match up, you can always write the name of the new color next to the corresponding string letter at the top of the pattern, that way you have a color guide. The color order that the strings are in once you finish the first round of your pattern is the order in which you’re going to want to write them in at the top. It’s best to write in pencil with an eraser handy, that way when it’s time for the 3rd, 4th, etc. round of the pattern, you can erase the colors from the previous round and write in the new ones. I hope this helps!!! – Marisa

  8. Elizabeth on September 3, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    I cannot for the life of me figure these things out no matter how hard I focus. I’ve watched so many YouTube videos on how to read these but I still don’t understand lol

    • the neon tea party on September 24, 2019 at 10:22 am

      I’m so sorry you’re still struggling Elizabeth! I know it can be challenging to learn from online tutorials, rather than having someone help you in person. I’ll be releasing a video on how to read FB patterns later this year — it will be as clearly explained as possible, so mine will help you! Be on the lookout for it. Best is to sign up for our email newsletter at the bottom of our website as we’ll send an email once FB videos are live! Best of luck in the meantime!! <3

  9. Geneva on January 1, 2020 at 2:01 am

    Once finished with the first row, starting from left, do you continue by starting the next row on the right?

    • the neon tea party on January 2, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      Hi Geneva! When you move onto the next row, start again on the left, always. I hope that helps!! Let me know if you have any more questions! Happy crafting!! xo, Marisa

  10. Ashlyn on February 5, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Every time I have tried to make a bracelet the top few rows are alway a giant mess. Is that how it should be then flattening as you proceed?

    • the neon tea party on February 5, 2020 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Ashlyn! Thank you for your question! The first row of any friendship bracelet is usually quite messy, as that row is what gets all the strings lined up for the rest of the bracelet. By the second or third row it should start to come together neatly. My best advice to ensure a flat bracelet is to pay attention to your tension and make each set of knots snug up next to the previous set of knots, almost locking them into place. If your knots snug up nicely next to each other, you’ll get the flat bracelet you’re hoping for! Don’t hesitate to reach out with any follow-up questions! Thanks, Ashlyn!! -Marisa

  11. Mel on April 10, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    I was found a few patterns that have white and black arrows. Do the white arrows mean something different?

    • the neon tea party on May 5, 2020 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Mel! Not to my knowledge! Probably just different people making the patterns and using different colors. 🙂

  12. Zteddy75 on April 11, 2020 at 1:37 am

    I know you have said that you always start from the left… But I have seen aome YouTube videos that go from left to right and then the next row is right to left because of the pattern and I have also seen them come from left to right until the middle one then right to ledt until the middle… That is the only thing I’m not understandin… Is how to tell if the pattern calls foe left to right always or especially if the pattern calls foe it to come from both ways

    Thanks for your help in advance…
    Zteddy75

    • the neon tea party on May 5, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      Hi there! If you’re reading patterns, it should matter whether you start right to left and left to right. If you’re free knotting, going from left to right will result in an diagonal line going downward left to right; and vice versa if you start right to left. I hope that helps!

  13. Sydney on May 6, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Hi! I am wanting to do the bracelet pattern #9726 which is like the colorful bracelet you have started at the top of the page. But I am sooo confused! Am I supposed to be working from left to right on every row? Or going from A-F on the left, and then A-F on the right to meet in the middle? Or am I supposed to start from the middle (FF) on row one and keep working with F outwards until I get to row 6? Or something completely different? I hope this question makes sense to you! I really wish you would do a video tutorial on this pattern bc I love it and can’t find a video tutorial anywhere for this pattern. Thanks!!

    • the neon tea party on May 11, 2020 at 6:48 pm

      Hi Sydney! Thanks for your questions! There’s lots to unpack here… sending you an email now!

  14. Person on June 9, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    what does it mean when the arrow points sideways on bracelet patterns?

    • the neon tea party on June 17, 2020 at 10:18 am

      Hi there! If an arrow is pointing sideways, it is a “forwards” knot. However, that means you’re probably looking at an Alpha pattern in which the knots travel back and forth horizontally, rather than on an angle. You can find more info about reading Alpha patterns here: https://friendship-bracelets.net/tutorials/2 You’ll see the bubbles have diagonal arrows in this tutorial, but you can apply these instructions with -> and <- arrows. I hope that makes sense / helps! Happy Crafting! -Marisa

  15. Camille on June 14, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    Hi, love the bracelet pattern! However, when reading pattern 9726 I’ve noticed that there is a forward-backward knot on the pink string in row 23, but the string still ends up on the right side. Is this meant to be a forwards knot or is the pattern supposed to mirror the right side? Thank you!

    • the neon tea party on June 17, 2020 at 10:23 am

      Hi Camille! Thanks for your question! If you do a forwards-backwards knot there, it SHOULD move to the left position if you’re letting the knot fall to it’s natural position when the knot is complete. The forwards-backwards knot (second knot, row 23) mirrors the neighboring backwards-forwards knot (fourth knot, row 23). I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any followup questions! -Marisa

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