Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tutorial: Woven Friendship Bracelets

Friendship bracelets are a fun, inexpensive summer craft. You do NOT have to tie these bracelets in a knot to get them to stay on your wrist. The friendship bracelets in this tutorial are thick, but you can follow the same steps to make thin bracelets. Thinner bracelets take a lot less time :)

  • Embroidery Floss - can be bought at craft stores or places like WalMart. Choose a few colors that go together well.
  • Scissors
  • A piece of cardbord - an old cereal box would work, but thicker cardboard is sturdier. If you're making a thin bracelet, you may not need this.
Step One

Cut your embroidery floss. For a thick bracelet like the one pictured, you will need 15 - 20 strings. For a small bracelet, you can use as few as five strings. All of your strings should be the same length, but cut one string longer than all of the others; this will be the string you use to weave.

Make sure your strings are long enough to go around your wrist, and give yourself a few extra inches for your knots.

Tie the ends of your embroidery floss into a knot. Don't tie the knot too tight, because you will have to undo it later.

Step Two

Take your cardboard and cut a slit for each thread. Make the slits relatively narrow and close together.

Put one string through each slit. Make sure you put them in the order you want them to appear in your bracelet. Your extra-long thread should be on the end; this is REALLY IMPORTANT!

Once every thread is placed, pull them so the knot is as close as possible to the cardboard. 

Step Three

Start weaving! Take your long string and weave it under the first string, then over the second, then under the third, and so on. When I weave, I usually use the middle of the long string instead of the end.

Once you've brought the long string one way, do the same thing in the opposite direction. Don't worry about pulling it tight just yet. Do the same thing a third time.

After you've woven the string a few times, hold the bottoms of the stationary strings and pull the long string tightly. 

You will have to make adjustments to the placement of the long string as you go. Sometimes, I'll loosen the long string along the edges so I can pull it up a little higher. Don't pull too tightly on the long string, otherwise your bracelet will look lumpy.

Step Four

KEEP GOING. Make adjustments when necessary.

Thin bracelets can be finished quickly but thick bracelets take a little bit of time. The nice thing about this project is that you can leave it and come back later because the strings won't unravel. Last summer, I kept all of my bracelet materials in a ziploc bag that I took back and forth from the beach.

If you take too long, your crafting partner may fall asleep.

Step Five

You're finished when the woven part of your bracelet can go completely around your wrist. Make sure you leave some room at the bottom for a knot.

Take the long string and tie a knot around the bottom of your bracelet. 

Using all of the strings, tie a second knot about a quarter inch down from your first knot.

Remove the top strings from the cardboard. Undo the knot you originally made and retie it where the bracelet starts.

Cut any extra string that you have on either end. Your bracelet is finished!

How to Tie your Bracelet

Hold the end with the two knots. In between the knots, separate the string.

Wrap the bracelet around your wrist and pull the knot through the hole.

Wrap the knot around the outside of the bracelet and pull it through the hold a second time. Pull on it. If the bracelet fits you well, it should stay put.

Beautiful! Now make one in every color, and throw in some thin ones for extra flare.

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