I DIYed It: Friendship Bracelets
Buy the real thing right here
In case you hadn’t heard, friendship bracelets are no longer just for trading on the playground. So, while working on this post for College Fashion I came across this set of bracelets from ASOS (above). I love the mix of tribal and classic bangles, and I especially couldn’t resist that black and white chevron friendship bracelet. Being the cheapo that I am, I couldn’t bear the thought of paying $14.00 plus international shipping for a few bracelets.
I did a little Google research on how to make friendship bracelets with no luck (well, almost no luck–I’ll tell you about that in a sec.). After some brainstorming I remembered that I used to have one of those Klutz books on friendship bracelets (did anyone else have a huge collection of these books? I also had fingernail art, pot holders, and clay molding ones). After a house-wide search I finally found it in the attic.
As I mentioned earlier, my Google search was not a complete bust. I actually came about this:
You can buy the actual thing here
These gorgeous bracelets by Frieda and Nellie are actually vintage bracelets with unique friendship bracelets woven into them. They range in price from $125-$200, and you know if I’m not willing to pay $14, this is definitely out of my price range.
I decided I could DIY both bracelets for a fraction of the price, so I set off to my local Hobby Lobby to gather a few supplies. This is what I ended up with:
* 10 small packages of embroidery string
* 1 package of silver beads
* 1 faux rhinestone bracelet (which I already owned)
Black and White Chevron
All the supplies I bought came to a grand total of $4. 29, which beats $140 dollars any day. I decided to start off with the black and white chevron, because it seemed easier to tackle, especially since I hadn’t attempted to make a friendship bracelet in umm, I don’t know–10 years?!?
I found a guide for chevron bracelets in my handy Klutz book and got down to business. You can find a similar guide here (it’s actually a video so you can follow step by step). I realized right away that pulling the strings too tight is not a good thing. The beginning of my bracelet ended up looking kind of squished, but once I loosened the knots it came out pretty nice, if I do say so myself:
I have been wearing this one by itself, but I can also pair it with gold and white bangles that I already own to get the look of the ASOS bracelet. If I did this over again, I would have added more “rows” of each color to get a thicker chevron pattern, similar to the original bracelet.
Frieda and Nellie Bracelet
This is where things started to get a little more complicated. I decided to try two different methods for achieving the look of the jeweled/friendship bracelets. The first method was with silver beads (you can see them in the picture of my supplies above). I knew I needed something shiny and glamourous to juxtapose against the homemade/crafty feel of the friendship bracelet in order to mimic the look of the actual bracelet.
I decided on the bordered chevron with beads pattern from the Klutz book. It was actually pretty complicated, but you can find a guide on how to do it without the beads here (in the video, she is using a special “friendship bracelet maker” but you can just use a clip or safety pin). Fast forward to the result:
It turned out okay, but it didn’t have the same feel as the original bracelet–I wanted something that looked like real jewelry and not a summer camp craft (and this definitely could–when I showed Nic he mumbled something about his 5 year old niece).
So, with method one behind me, I moved on to Plan B. I had an old, fake, extremely cheesy rhinestone bracelet that I bought for one of my homecoming dances in high school sitting around on my jewelry stand. Since I no longer frequent high school dances, I figured I could somehow weave the bracelet, in all it’s tackiness, into a friendship bracelet.
I started off by securing the knotted embroidery string to the bracelet. I decided to go for a preppy meets glam feel, so I ended up using a super preppy combo of pink, navy, teal and white.
After flipping through the book, I decided the “Broken Ladder” pattern would work best for weaving the bracelet into the string seamlessly. You can find an easy-to-follow guide here (again with the “friendship bracelet maker”). I was working on the patio, so I used a binder clip to attach the bracelet and string to a pillow:
I started out by weaving the chevron pattern on top of the rhinestone bracelet.
After I had one of chevron of each color I stopped and brought the rhinestone bracelet to the front to begin the “ladder” section of the bracelet. The ladder is created by knotting the outside color on the left side, in my case pink, around the three other colors ten times, and then repeating on the right. It turns out something like this:
You can see the pink ladder peeking out the sides of the rhinestone bracelet at the top of the picture. I then made four more chevrons under the rhinestone bracelet, followed by another ladder (this time navy). I continued this pattern, making sure to rotate the chevrons over and under to expose the rhinestone bracelet. When I finished, I attached the ends of the embroidery string to my original loop. It turned out reallllly snazzy:
I’ve been wearing it all day, and as a plus, I think it looks great layered with my black and white chevron (I also think it would look good with my basic silver watch).
So there you have it, my first official DIY post. How do you feel about friendship bracelets? I see celebrities like Miley Cyrus wearing friendship-ish bracelets a lot, but I sorta’ feel like a kid wearing them all the time (well, I guess Miley IS a kid). Oh, and if you aren’t the DIYing kind no worries–Elle UK has a great post on their favorite friendship bracelets for 2010 (and we’re talking serious friendship bracelets. Dior even has one!).