How to Make Friendship Bracelets With Letters and Numbers
Before You Start
Before you start, you're going to need a few things:
- Embroidery floss
- A Homemade 'loom'
Embroidery floss can be found at any craft store, so far I haven't been able to find it at Walmart or Target. Embroidery floss can come in packs, or you can buy separate skeins. The price for a pack is around 8 dollars and for a single skein it usually costs under a dollar.
While making this bracelet, you're going to have a lot of loose strings everywhere. To avoid getting everything tangled and to make things a little easier I made myself a 'loom'. All you have to do is:
- Get a cardboard box and cut off one side of the box.
- On the top edge of the cardboard, cut one slit in the middle about 1 inch long.
- On the bottom edge (spread these out evenly), cut 11 slits about 1 inch long. Now you've got your very own loom, and you're ready to start.
Cutting Your String & Getting Started
- First you're going to have to pick the colors you want. For your first name bracelet you should keep it simple until you feel comfortable with it. So pick two colors that you want your bracelet to be. One color will be the color of the letters/numbers, and the other will be the background color.
- Once you pick your colors, you need to cut your string. Using the embroidery floss that will be the color of your letters/numbers, measure from your finger tips to your elbow. Once you do that, double it and cut that piece. Repeat this process until you have 5 pieces this length. (in my example, my letters will be yellow).
- Now take the embroidery floss that will be your background color and pull out some string from the skein. In my example my background color will be green. You will be using this color the most, so you need plenty of it.
- Fold the 10 strings in half, and take your background color, and make a knot at the top. This knot will be used to tie your bracelet onto your wrist later.
- Put the knot into the top slit of your cardboard loom. You should have 11 strings total.
- Place each string into a separate slit at the bottom of your cardboard loom, and make sure your background color string is in the slit all the way on the left.
Two Knots You Must Learn
- Backward Knot and Forward Knot
Before doing anything else, make sure you know how to do these two knots.
Starting Your Bracelet
When starting your bracelet, your going to have to do a few rows to start out. This shapes the bracelet and makes it easier for you to see the letters. On average I start out by doing 5 rows of the background color.
- To make a row, take your background color (green) and make a forward knot with the string to the right of it.
- After you make a forward knot on that string, put it in the slot to left of its original slot. This way you know what the next string is that you need to make a knot on.
- Then proceed to make forward knots on the rest of the strings.
- Once you get to the last string, you've made a row.
- Now take your background color and repeat the process, but this time going in the opposite direction and using the backward knot.
Repeat this process until you have completed about five rows.
How to Add the Letters
Now, it's time to add your letters.
In my example, my bracelet is going to say 'ABC 123'
This is going to seem complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it it's easy to do.
Below is a picture of the alphabet and numbers 1 through 9.
I'll show you how I made it easier on myself to learn.
Drawing Out Your Desired Letter
To make it easier on myself, I draw out how it's going to look. This helps me figure out whether or not to make a backward knot or a forward knot.
The letter on your bracelet will be placed horizontally. So to help me out, I draw my pictures sideways since that is how I see them as I make them on the loom. I'll show you an example, and I'll walk you through how I made my 'A'.
- First, to draw out my A I use two different color markers and my little sketching notebook.
- Looking at the picture of the A, I started by drawing the first row on the left. The first row on the left is just another row of the background color. So all ten of my marks are blue.
- On the row next to it, there is one knot of the background color first, then 7 of the letter color, then two of the background color again.
- On the third row, there are four knots of the background color, then one of the letter color, then three of the background color, one of the letter color, and then one of the background color.
- This row is repeated so you draw it again as your fourth line.
- And line five is the same as line two, so you just draw the same thing.
Drawing out your letters and numbers isn't required, but it is useful.
Using Your Drawing to Make Your First Letter
Now take a look at your drawing, and focus on the top row.
Usually, when starting a letter, the top row is a full row of the background color. You can choose to skip this if you want to. I chose to skip it for now since we made five rows of our background color.
Your background color string should be all the way to the right.
- To make my A, I need to make two backward knots with my background color string.
- Now, using the yellow string that is to the left of my background color string, I need to make a forward knot. Making the forward knot with the yellow string will make this knot yellow.
- I need to repeat this process seven times, and then I make a backward knot with my background color to complete the row.
For my second row:
- I need to use my background color to make four forward knots.
- Now using the yellow string to the right of my background color, I make one backward knot. Using my background color again, I make three forward knots.
- Now using the yellow string to the right of my background color, I need to make a backward knot.
- Then to finish the row, I use my background color to make a forward knot.
For my third row, I just make it match the second row. And for my fourth row, I make it match the first row.
After your first letter is finished, you should make two rows of your background color so that there is some space between your letters.
Now you just repeat the steps for each of your letters.
- Make sure that you make your knots tight. But not too tight, embroidery floss can break, and it's a pain trying to work with short strings.
- Drawing out your letters will help you. I definitely recommend it.
- To tie off your bracelet, take all eleven strings and make one knot. (the same knot you used when you first started this bracelet, before you put it in the loom.) After you tie them off, split the eleven strings into two groups, and braid each group. now you can use these braids to tie on your bracelet.
- http://hbernb.atspace.com/ is my 'go to' site. It is extremely helpful.