Written by Michele Wheat
Friendship bracelets are a way for friends to show how much they mean to one another. Traditionally, close friends will each create a wristband and present them to each other as gifts. They are usually woven from embroidery floss and can be created with any color scheme or pattern in mind. Friendship bracelets have a rich, meaningful history dating back to the Indians of North, South, and Central America. They are unisex and tend to be very popular with kids and young adults because of how fun they are to create and share. When you receive one as a gift, it is traditional to tie the bracelet on your wrist and wear it continuously as a symbol of your friendship.
The History of Friendship Bracelets
The handwoven knots used to create friendship bracelets can generally be traced back to Native Americans, although knot-tying also has a history in China and other parts of the world. In China, some of the earliest forms of decorative knots date as far back as 481-221 B.C. The Chinese used knots for many reasons, including decorations for clothing and other things. Macrame, the process of tying decorative knots into beautiful patterns, was around as far back as the 13th century Arabs. The craft then spread to France and Italy. It was later picked up by sailors, who used many macrame knots in their work at sea. Macrame became very popular in 19th century England and was revived in America in the 1960s and 1970s, when weaving and other crafts became popular with kids and teenagers. It was used in many crafts, including jewelry-making.
Native American tradition is that the creator of the bracelet makes it with love for the other person in mind. The recipient is entitled to one wish. If they do not take off the bracelet ever and just let it fall off naturally, their wish will be granted. Another Native American tradition says that removing a bracelet before it has worn off naturally is a sign that the friendship has ended.
Popular Styles Throughout the Years
Some of the most popular friendship bracelet styles are based on Native American patterns. Most of these use the half-hitch knot. Some of the most common patterns include the chevron, broken ladder, totem pole, and diamond. Some of these patterns are based on the styles of Navajo weaving. Navajo weaving dates back as far as the 16th century, when these Native Americans would create blankets and other fabric on looms. Their diamond pattern is particularly popular for friendship bracelets because of how great it looks with lots of different colors.
Nowadays, friendship bracelets can be created with any pattern in mind. You can easily find patterns online inspired by your favorite music, movies, TV shows, and much more. Beads and feathers can also be added as extra decorations on your bracelets. In the Native American tradition, the creator of the wristband might choose colors that represent the person they will give it to; for instance, black represents strength, blue stands for loyalty, and red is for honesty.
Friendship Bracelets You Can Make With Your Friends
There are also many other types of friendship bracelets you can make that do not require weaving or knot-tying. Young kids might enjoy making no-sew bracelets created from strips of cloth. All you have to do is cut the fabric into long, thin strips, and then braid them together. Stretchy cotton jersey fabric (like T-shirt fabric) is great for making this type of bracelet. Washi tape and duct tape can also be used to make friendship bracelets. Duct tape and washi tape come in many styles, colors, and patterns and are perfect for creating fun crafts. Just make a bracelet big enough for your wrist out of duct tape, and then decorate it with torn-off strips of washi tape in different colors. Colorful straws are another thing you can use to make bracelets; straws can easily be cut into "beads" that can then be strung onto yarn or embroidery floss. In the summer, bracelets can even be made from long pieces of grass, wheat, straw, or even flowers!