Nikki's Notebook

My journey as a fiction writer and a place for my projects, writing and otherwise.

Friendship bracelets

with 2 comments

Fire friendship braceletFor the winter after school session, my coworker and I are teaching a jewelry making class for 3-5th graders. The first couple of classes we taught them how to make friendship bracelets, which actually required that we ourselves had to relearn how to make friendship bracelets. Though not all of the kids cared for the challenge of or had the patience for friendship bracelets, the craze swept the AmeriCorps office, and soon we were all sitting with a safety pin in our pants, concentratedly tying knots. We didn’t get as far as teaching the kids the more complicated woven ones, but I searched the internet to learn how, and quickly became addicted to the satisfaction of creating a little band just from tying knots around string. These woven ones are really fun, though it takes a little practice to figure out just how tight the knots should be tied. I made a practice one that wasn’t too perfect, and by the end of that, I pretty much had the hang of it. One thing that I would like to teach these girls is the art of accepting that the first project might not be perfect, and to just let themselves be not that good at something right away. Some of them are good at that, but others get pretty upset if they can’t do something well right away. I feel lucky to have learned that, and I think I have knitting to thank for it. Just this morning I had to rip out about three hours’ worth of knitting, and it didn’t upset me too much.

For when we finally do get to teach the girls the more complicated woven friendship bracelets, I brought the example of my first, horribly twisted screwed up one, my second, variable tensioned one, and then the actual good example. However, so far most of them seem to be just thrilled to spend the whole time with some stretchy string and a bucket of plastic beads, so we plan projects and then bring beads to keep the easily frustrated from getting bored. Here are some of the results of my obsession. More of the skinny round ones, like the blue one, have been given away.
friendship bracelets

I have some frustrated attempts at jewelry of my own. First is this black hemp bracelet which I tried to string beads on the tying strings instead of the center strings. Instead of doing one on each side, I alternated sides, and it made the knots end up going kind of zig zaggy, which I liked. At first I was tying four knots in between each bead, but as I went along, I kept losing count of how many knots I tied, and fudging more and more, so the space between knots got wider and wider. At that point I gave up and left the necklace unfinished. I liked it, though, so perhaps sometime I’ll try another and be more careful.

oops necklace

And then there is this twisty necklace with blue beads and a star. I started it in the evening in a dim room, so it wasn’t until the next morning that I noticed that one of the beads was a significantly different blue than the rest. Had I realized it, I could have placed it at the end as a toggle bead, but now it’s stuck in stark contrast to the rest on the necklace. It’s not too bad, so I’ll still finish this one, but it bugs me, ya know?
IMG_1620 IMG_1621

If you want to learn to make friendship bracelets yourself, these are some of the websites I used:

Artists Helping Children – a list of links to friendship bracelet tutorials, so you can find one that suits your tastes and learning style.

This WikiHow article was helpful and has some pretty good illustrations, albeit a bit small.

This tutorial at was my favorite, both because of the large, clear images and the fact that the image can be easily printed for showing or instructing others.


Written by nikkinbird

January 31, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Jewelry Making

2 Responses

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  1. Hi. I WOULD LOVE if you could e-mail me explaining how to make that blue skinny bracelet in your second picture. its the third one to the right i believe. ive been searching everywhere to try to figure out how to make that bracelet. it would be amazing if you could e-mail me a link or something showing how to make it. THANKS SO MUCH ❤

    Sheena Hinkle

    August 13, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    • A friend showed me how to do that one, but the instructions here give a pretty good idea of what to do. Hope that helps!


      September 4, 2010 at 3:22 pm

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