How to Make Friendship Bracelets With Names, Letters, and Numbers
Have you ever wished that you could add your friend's name to a friendship bracelet? Well, you're in the right place! I created this tutorial laying out all the steps and other information you'll need to create amazing, personalized bracelets out of embroidery floss.
Think of the possibilities! Create your own design that includes names, lucky numbers, or birthdates. The only limit is your imagination (and the size of your friend's wrist)!
Here's What You Need
Before you start, you're going to need a few things:
- Embroidery floss
- A homemade loom (instructions below)
- Embroidery floss can be found at any craft store. So far I haven't been able to find it at Walmart or Target, but maybe you'll be lucky and find it there. It usually comes in packs of various colors, or you can buy separate skeins. The price for a pack is around $6, or under $1 for a single skein.
- While making this bracelet, you're going to have a lot of loose strings everywhere. To avoid getting everything tangled I made myself a simple cardboard loom.
Choose a Short Name!
Letters and numbers can quickly fill up the space on a bracelet. Pick a short name (or nickname) so you don't run out of room.
Making the Cardboard Loom
- Get a piece of cardboard (a side of a box will do) of about 12 x 12 inches.
- On the top edge, cut a 1-inch slit in the middle.
- Cut 11 evenly spaced 1-inch slits along the bottom edge.
- Now you've got your very own loom and you're ready to start!
Preparing the Thread to Make a String Bracelet
- Pick the colors you want. If this is your first name bracelet, keep it simple and pick just two colors: one for the letters/numbers and another for the background.
- Once you've picked your colors, you need to cut your string. For a child or slender teen/adult wrist, hold the floss that will be the color of your letters/numbers and measure from your fingertips to your elbow. Once you do that, double it and cut that length. Repeat this process until you have five pieces this length. (In my example, the letters will be pink).
- For an adult wrist, measure from your fingertips to your elbows and then add another half-length of thread.
- Now, hold the floss that will be your background color and pull out some string. (In my example, the background color will be light green.) You will be using this color the most, so you need plenty of it.
- Fold the 10 letter/number strings in half. Take your background color and make a knot at the top. You may find this knot helpful to tie your bracelet onto your wrist later.
- You should have 11 strings total (depending on the size bracelet you are making). Put the knot into the top slit of your cardboard loom.
- Place each of the other strings into slits along the bottom of your 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. The instructions on this site are really helpful!
How to Begin a Friendship Bracelet
The first step is to make a few rows. These rows make the background on one end of the bracelet before the letters. I usually start out with five rows of the background color.
- To make a row, take your background color (light 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 the left of its original slot. This way you know what the next string is that you need to make a knot on.
- 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 in the opposite direction and using the backward knot.
- Repeat this process until you have completed about five rows.
- Don't cut your background color thread until the bracelet is done or you run out.
How to Add Letters to Your Friendship Bracelet
Here's a really helpful tip: Draw out how your letters are going to look first. 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 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 sketch 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!
What to Do if Thread Gets Short
After a while the letter strings will get short for the loom. You may need to adjust the length of the loom a couple of times.
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.
- 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 before you put the threads 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.
Finishing Your Friendship Bracelet
- After you have completed all of the letters you want to add, continue braiding with your background color floss until you've reached the desired length.
- Leave about two inches of threads at the end and braid them together into three separate strands.
- You can also cut the loop you made at the beginning (not to make it shorter, just to separate the threads) and braid those into three strands.
- Use these two tassels to tie your bracelet around your friend's wrist!
- Alternately, keep the loop intact and weave the braided tassels through to fasten the bracelet.
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© 2010 Lindsey