The Guide

A Guide to Friendship Bracelets

A Guide to Friendship Bracelets:

Friendship bracelets (commonly known for colourful woven threads or beads) are more than just an accessory. A symbol of connection, these bracelets can be a sentimental reminder of moments, people and places. But with a current resurgence in the trend, we’re looking into the fascinating history of friendship bracelets, exploring their cultural significance, and the types you can create or find. 


A Journey Through Time: The History of Friendship Bracelets 


The exact origin of friendship bracelets remains shrouded in mystery. Some believe they originated in Central and South America, where woven bracelets were exchanged as tokens of affection and respect. Pre-Columbian cultures in Peru created intricate Khipu, knotted string records, which some consider a precursor to friendship bracelets. Across the Pacific, similar traditions existed in China, where colourful threads were used to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. Evidence suggests that the exchange of woven bracelets was also practiced in Europe during the Middle Ages, often incorporating religious symbols and knots.  

The modern iteration of friendship bracelets likely emerged in the 1960s and 70s, coinciding with the rise of the hippie movement. Embracing peace, love, and self-expression, hippies adopted the practice of exchanging friendship bracelets, often with vibrant colours, beads, and peace symbols woven in.  


More Than an Accessory: The Cultural Significance of Friendship Bracelets 


Friendship bracelets can also hold cultural significance in various parts of the world, representing: 

Friendship and Camaraderie: The act of giving or receiving a friendship bracelet signifies a special bond between two individuals. It's a tangible reminder of shared experiences, inside jokes, and unwavering support. 

- Love and Commitment: Friendship bracelets can also represent romantic love, with couples exchanging them as a symbol of their devotion. Permanent bracelets, such as welded ones, have become a huge leader in this trend.

- Good Luck and Protection: In some cultures, specific colours or patterns woven or beaded into friendship bracelets are believed to bring good luck or ward off negativity. 

- Cultural Identity: Friendship bracelets can be a way to express cultural heritage. Woven patterns and specific colours might hold deeper meanings within certain communities. 

- Fan Culture: Started by fans of Taylor Swift for The Eras Tour because of the song lyric ‘so make the friendship bracelets,’ friendship bracelets have become synonymous with fan culture. Originating with Taylor, the trend of making bracelets for concerts (and then swapping them while you’re there) has been adopted by more than just the Swifties, with friendship bracelets popping up on wrists at concerts, sporting events and all over TikTok.  


A Resurgence of Cool: The Rise in Popularity of Friendship Bracelets 


Friendship bracelets have enjoyed periods of immense popularity, particularly in the 1980s and 90s. They were a staple amongst teenagers and young adults, with camp counsellors in America and celebrities like Madonna sporting them. The rise of social media in recent years has seen a renewed interest in friendship bracelets. With the release of Taylor Swift’s album ‘Midnights’, the song You’re on Your Own, Kid’s lyrics ‘ make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it...’ quickly peddled a trend of fans in online spaces spreading the message of creating and trading bracelets at The Eras tour. From there, social media-led DIY tutorials, the increase in celebrities and influencers alike wearing them, and the inherently shareable nature of these colourful creations fuelled their comeback. 


A World of Creativity: Types of Friendship Bracelets 


The beauty of friendship bracelets lies in their versatility. From braids to beads, simple patterns to intricate designs, there’s a type for everyone.  

- Classic Braid: This is the most basic type, using two or more colours woven in a simple over-under pattern. 

- Classic Bead: Using a string or elastic, beads are stacked in a row, with various colours in a simple pattern.  

- Chevron: This pattern uses string to create diagonal stripes using multiple colours, resulting in a vibrant and eye-catching design. 

- Alphabetical: Friendship bracelets can be personalised by weaving letters into the design, often to spell out names or initials. This can be done on string or beaded bracelets.  

- Peyote Stitch: This advanced technique allows for intricate geometric patterns and images to be woven into the bracelet using string.

- Macrame: Friendship bracelets can be created using macrame knots, resulting in a more intricate and textured look. 


Beyond the Basics: Adding Your Personal Touch 

The beauty of friendship bracelets lies in their customisation. Here are some ways to make your creations unique: 

- Colour Choice: Select colours that hold personal meaning for you and your recipient. 

- Charms: Attach small charms to the bracelet to represent shared interests or hobbies. 

- Beads: Incorporate colourful or patterned beads for added texture and visual interest. 

- Braiding Techniques: Experiment with different braiding techniques to create unique patterns. 

- Friendship Bracelet Kits: These kits offer pre-cut embroidery floss and patterns for beginners. 


Friendship Bracelets: A Sentimental Purchase 

If making your own feels out of your comfort zone, you aren’t alone. If you’re looking for a long term, super wearable representation of friendships, buying matching or similar bracelets with your friends is a great way to create a memory or share a moment.  

Buying beaded bracelets or charm bracelets to match with your friends can be a great gift, or a ‘just because’ moment. Picking the same style of bracelet, but with different colour beads (birthstones, favourite colours) or metals (if they’re the gold to your silver) helps represent your personal style within your matching. Plus, they’re a great ‘if you know you know’ gift. 

Welded bracelets are the perfect choice for a friendship bracelet if you’re looking for something more permanent. This forever piece symbolises a commitment, a strong bond of friendship, or a significant life event. These clasp-less bracelets can be personalised with charms or engravings and can be used as friendship bracelets with matching chains or matching charms.  


Friendship Bracelets: A Timeless Tradition 

Friendship bracelets are more than just colourful threads and beads. They represent a universal human desire for connection, belonging, and expressing love. Whether you're a seasoned crafter or a curious beginner, there's a friendship bracelet waiting to be created, gifted, and treasured.