Friendship Bracelet DIY

Friendship bracelets are a nostalgic craft that never go out of style.

Formed by a series of knots that create a woven pattern, friendship bracelets are actually a type of macrame. Use Omegacryl yarn or embroidery floss and follow the instructions below to master the four basic knots and learn two beginner patterns, Candy Stripe and Chevron. Then have fun playing with patterns and adding embellishments to create friendship bracelets that are all your own!

You can find our Friendship Bracelet DIY Kit plus additional yarn and supplies in our shop.

Start Here: The Four Basic Friendship Bracelet Knots

There are four basic friendship bracelet knots, which determine the direction the knot will travel. Friendship bracelet knots consist of two knots stacked together using the same two strands, so you have the following four options:

  • 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

Forwards Knot

Forwards knots allow your knots to travel from left to right in a forwards direction. You can remember forwards as the same direction we read in English.

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet DIY 2 The Neon Tea Party

To make a forwards knot, take the strand on the left and bend it on top of its neighbor to the right, creating a “4” shape.

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet DIY 3 The Neon Tea Party

Wrap the tail of the left strand (pink) around its neighbor (orange) by going under it and pulling the pink tail out through the space between the pink and orange strands.

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet DIY 4.1 The Neon Tea Party

Hold the interior strand (orange) straight and pull knot up towards the top knot, tightening to secure. The pink strand will now fall to the right of the orange strand. Tie a forwards knot once more using the same two strands to complete your forwards knot.

Backwards Knot

Backwards knots allow your knots to travel from right to left in a backwards direction. You can remember backwards as the opposite direction from which we read in English.

Chevron Friendship Bracelet DIY 4 The Neon Tea Party

To make a backwards knot, take the strand on the right and bend it on top of its neighbor to the left, creating a backwards “4” shape.

Chevron Friendship Bracelet DIY 5 The Neon Tea Party

Wrap the tail of the right strand (pink) around its neighbor (orange) by going under it and pulling the pink tail through the space between the strands.

Chevron Friendship Bracelet DIY 6 The Neon Tea Party

Hold the interior strand (orange) straight and pull knot up towards the top knot, tightening to secure. The pink strand will now fall to the left of the orange strand. Tie a backwards knot once more using the same two strands to complete your backwards knot.

Forwards-Backwards Knot & Backwards-Forwards Knot

Forwards-backwards knots and backwards-forwards knots are used to change directions in a pattern, so if your knots had previously been traveling in one direction, a f-b or b-f knot will turn the knot to travel in the opposite direction.

  • Forwards-backwards knots are formed by tying a forwards knot followed by backwards knot
  • Backwards-forwards knots are formed by tying a backwards knot followed by forwards knot

How to Read Friendship Bracelet Patterns

Much like other fiber crafts such as cross-stitch and knitting, friendship bracelets have diagrammed patterns you can follow to create infinite beautiful designs. With just a little know-how, you can quickly learn how to interpret patterns and create intricate designs within your friendship bracelets!

Get Knotty: Beginner Friendship Bracelet Patterns

candy stripe banner

Candy Stripe

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet DIY 01 The Neon Tea Party

Cut as many strands of yarn as you'd like to 32” and tie them together 3” down. Separate strands in the order of the pattern you want to create. The more strands you incorporate, the wider your bracelet will be.

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet DIY 2 The Neon Tea Party

Working from the left to the right, tie a forwards knot by taking the left-most strand and bend it on top of its neighbor to the right, creating a “4” shape.

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet DIY 3 The Neon Tea Party

Wrap the tail of the left-most strand (pink) around its neighbor (orange) by going under it and pulling the pink tail out through the space between the strands.

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet DIY 4 The Neon Tea Party

Hold the interior strand (orange) straight and pull knot up towards the top knot, tightening to secure. Repeat once more. *Remember, each knot in a friendship bracelet consists of two knots.*

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet DIY 5 The Neon Tea Party

The pink strand will move to the right. Repeat the same process of tying two forwards knots around the next string (yellow).

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet DIY 6 The Neon Tea Party

Continue forwards knotting each strand with the pink yarn until the pink ends up all the way to the right.

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet DIY 7 The Neon Tea Party

Repeat the process with the new left-most strand (orange), working your way across each strand of the bracelet.

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet DIY 8 The Neon Tea Party

Stripes will form down the length of your bracelet. Continue until you’ve reached your desired bracelet length!

Candy Stripe Friendship Bracelet DIY 9 The Neon Tea Party

To finish your bracelet, braid a 2.5” braid and tie a knot to secure. Undo the starting knot and braid that end as well.

A Brief History of Friendship Bracelets

Friendship bracelets originate from Central America, namely Guatemala, and made their way to the States only as recently as the 1970s. Friendship bracelets are a form of macrame since the woven patterns are created by knots. It is traditional to make and give a bracelet to a friend as a sign of long-lasting companionship. As the maker ties the bracelet onto the wrist of the recipient, the recipient can make a wish on the bracelet. When the bracelet falls off, it is said the recipient’s wish will come true!

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Chevron

Chevron Friendship Bracelet DIY 1 The Neon Tea Party

Choose as many colors of yarn as you'd like can cut two strands of each color to 32". Tie all of your strands together 3” down. Separate strands so that the color order mirrors itself.

Chevron Friendship Bracelet DIY 2 The Neon Tea Party

Working from the left to the right, tie a forwards knot by taking the left-most strand and bending it on top of its neighbor to the right, creating a “4” shape.

Chevron Friendship Bracelet DIY 3 The Neon Tea Party

Wrap the tail of the left-most strand (pink) around its neighbor (orange) by going under it and pulling the pink tail out through the space between the strands. Repeat. *Remember, each knot in a friendship bracelet consists of two knots.*

Chevron Friendship Bracelet DIY 4 The Neon Tea Party

Follow the same steps using the right-most string but instead bend the string creating a backwards “4.” This is a backwards knot.

Chevron Friendship Bracelet DIY 5 The Neon Tea Party

Wrap the tail of the right-most strand (pink) around its neighbor (orange) by going under it and pulling the pink tail through the space between the strands. Repeat to complete your backwards knot!

Chevron Friendship Bracelet DIY 6 The Neon Tea Party

Both outside strands should have moved one spot closer to the center.

Chevron Friendship Bracelet DIY 7 The Neon Tea Party

Repeat the process, knotting around the next neighboring strands (yellow) until the pink strands are both in the center.

Chevron Friendship Bracelet DIY 8 The Neon Tea Party

To comeplete the chevron, knot one pink strand around the other twice (it doesn’t matter which one!).

Chevron Friendship Bracelet DIY 9 The Neon Tea Party

Reapeat steps working the outside strands to the center until your bracelet is desired length. See last step of "Candy Stripe" pattern above to learn how to finish your bracelet.

There's more to learn when it comes to making friendship bracelets!

Discover the thoughtfully curated (and totally stylish) elements of our Friendship Bracelet DIY Kit on the TNTP blog. Stay tuned for more fun patterns and project ideas, also on our blog!

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