A Sweet and Sentimental Project for Every Generation
A screen-free activity that keeps kids busy on a rainy day or during a road trip and doesn't generate a huge mess? There's a good reason why making friendship bracelets is a timeless favorite. They're meant to be knotted around the wrist, so don't worry about buying and using special jewelry closures. Set out a bunch of embroidery thread and beads and join your children for a sweet activity with an even sweeter end result. Whether you exchange your finished bracelets with one another or pass them on to other pals, making friendship bracelets with your kids is bound to help you bond—or at the very least, kill some time until the rain stops.
Super-Simple Beaded and Braided
Cut the Strands
Measure the cord you'll use to make the bracelet. You may also use embroidery thread or thin yarn, but cord is easier to work with and knots well. Check for size by loosely wrapping the cord around your wrist or around your child's wrist. Estimate the length of cord you'll need to make a bracelet fit comfortably without sliding off, then add about four inches. Cut three pieces of cord in that length.
Gather the three strands so their ends line up and tie a knot about one inch from one end of the strands. Tape the knot down to a table, with the three strands facing you. Braid the top inch or so of the strands together.
Bead the Strands
Any bead color or any type of beads that fit snugly on the cord or string you're using is fine for this project. Small seed beads or bugle beads work best for thin cord or embroidery string, but you can use chunkier beads if you like.
String beads onto one, two or all three of the strands. You may want to tie knots in the cord between beads if you like that effect or slip one bead onto two strands. Leave about three inches of space at the bottom of the strands.
Tie the Bracelet
Once you've finished stringing beads, braid the ends of the strands together. Tie a knot in all three strands at the end of the braid. Remove the tape that holds the bracelet to the table.
You should have a bracelet with beaded strands in the middle, small braids on either side and knots at both ends. Wrap the bracelet around the recipient's wrist and tie the two knotted ends together to make one larger, secure knot.
Camp-Style Embroidery Bracelet
Prepare the String
Choose five or six long strands of embroidery string of the same color or different colors. Have fun personalizing the color selection. Cut each string to a length of about 24 inches and gather the strands so their ends line up.
Fold the group of strings in half. Tie a knot just below the looped end and tape it to a table. You should now have 10 or 12 strands of string facing you.
Knot the Strands
Pick one color to start with. Consider this piece of string the "active strand." Using your left hand, pull the active strand out to the left of the others and wrap the knuckle of your left index finger around it to keep it separated from the rest of the string. Use your right hand to drape the end of the active strand across and under the other pieces of string, looping the end of it up through the space you've created with your left index finger. Lift the end of the active strand and gently pull it tight. You should see a knot in the color of the active strand form at the top of the bracelet.
Finish the Bracelet
Repeat this process with the same active strand to create a colored band around the top of the bracelet. Choose a different color to be the new active strand and repeat the process, covering the bracelet in a rainbow of colored knots. You may want to do exactly 10 or 15 knots of each color, or do a different number of knots of each color to create a less uniform look.
Keep knotting the bracelet until the knotted section is long enough to wrap around the wrist of the recipient. Cut off any excess length and tie the ends together.
Kathryn Walsh has more than 20 years of experience working with children and has been writing about children and parenting topics for more than 10 years. Her work has appeared on sites including TheBump, Working Mother and Mamapedia.