Before there were silly bands…

Bracelets. Jewelry. Girls of all ages and personalities (sporty, girly, princess, diva, tom boy, musical, academic, ballerina, etc.) wear them. Shoe laces and hockey laces, beads of all shapes and sizes, Lance Armstrong inspired bands to promote causes, wrist bands from amusement parks, leather bands with studs, diamonds that sparkle in the sunshine.

They are all unique. All special. Just like the girls that wear them around their wrists.

With the recent popularity of “Silly Bands,” and my recent time spent with a bunch of mainly MN girls (some from IL) – elementary, middle and high school, and college age, I was once again reminded of bracelets. Sure, girls wore Silly Bands on their sweaty wrists (it was a sports camp) and traded with friends at camp, but they also made bracelets for one another – gave them to friends and roommates.

It got me thinking. Thinking about girls. Thinking about relationships and friendships. Thinking about camp and counselors. Thinking about what it takes to make it work – to make a friendship strong.

The answer is in the friendship bracelet. Fragile and colored. Strings of varying lengths and strengths. Each bracelet hand-made with a specific person in mind. The colors, bright and contrasting, yet always complimenting. Supplies of little expense.

Though the time spent weaving and braiding, tying and twisting can be laborious and long, it is never without reward. The bracelets may last for years, or be lost after a few hours or days. But they exist. As a sign to the world – a sign that friendships take work and time – work and time that is worth the effort.

Seeing the colorful floss spread out on bunk beds and dorm room floors, Scotch taped to girls’ legs while they created various designs (I only know one design…and it’s the most popular — aka – the easiest), I was reminded of friendship bracelets I used to make. Of friendship bracelets I used to wear.

They are long gone. Thrown out with the left over hotdish of the night. Tucked back in my years of sleepovers and car pools. The pictures from my younger years prove that I spent hours on end with my friends at camp, youth events, and friends’ houses creating Klutz friendship bracelets and trading them with each other. Every bracelet received was a precious gift – symbolizing more than a BFF heart necklace on a cheap string ever could.

They were gifts. Of time. Labor. Love. And friendship. Gifts that cannot be re-gifted or returned. Gifts that are now just memories – reminders of the friends from my past. The friends who knew and still know everything about me.

Kind of odd. Don’t ya think?

Those friendship bracelets were supposed to last forever.

Those friendships were supposed to last forever.

But we let them fray to a point beyond repair. We let them slip off our wrists – misplaced and tossed. We let scissors snip them off – cutting all ties to our friends. We let ourselves forget the friendships woven into the strings.

Why did we let that happen? What could we have done differently? How many other girls have clipped their bracelets off? Had I known how much I cared about those bracelets, those friends, I wouldn’t have played with scissors.

As sad as it may be, it is in the past. I can’t focus on lost bracelets from middle school. Because there are new bracelets to be braided. New friends to create with my one and only friendship bracelet pattern…

Right now, well, my most current friendship bracelet was made for me at camp by a camper. I picked my colors: bold and boyish. She tugged and twisted the colors into a pattern. Minutes after choosing my colors she revealed the bracelet. At first it looked like it would fit on Barbie’s wrist or waist. There really is no difference between the two. I wrapped it around my wrist and tied the loose ends. It fits perfectly.

That was August 6. It’s now August 18. Short time, yes, but that bracelet remains on my wrist.

Stretched and faded. Washed and fraying. Comfortable and colorful.

I wear it with pride. I wear it with remembrance. I wear it because it was created to symbolize friendship – with all its knots and kinks, frays and fades, patterns and prints.

This post on bracelets, friendships – silly and not – is more than just about the dyed yarns and “how-to” books. The deeper issue for me is the loss. The loss of bracelets and friendships.

So, my hope is that this new Silly Band kick everyone is so obsessed with does not replace the most irreplaceable bracelets of friendship and loyalty, of childhood and adolescence. I hope girls don’t forget what it takes to make a friendship work – to set it up, to lay a foundation, to build it from nothing, to weave and re-weave, to add life and meaning. I hope girls don’t forget to take time from all their silly banding and remember who their friends are – remember who they want to tie to their hearts to – in whatever pattern they choose – in whatever colors they like.


I ask. You answer.

  1. What is your experience with Friendship Bracelets?
  2. Do you still remember a specific bracelet?
  3. Seriously, why do we forget the meaning of the bracelets? The friendship behind them?
  4. Is it wrong to place such value on a piece of string tied around your wrist? Should we use something else to “symbolize” friendships?
  5. When was the last time you made a friendship bracelet? Received a friendship bracelet?
  6. Am I in my own life boat, or do other people only know how to make one pattern? The three-colored one — you cross one color over the other two and pull…you keep going and it starts twisting that color and then you switch…Did that make sense?!

87 thoughts on “Before there were silly bands…

  1. That’s the only friendship bracelet pattern I can rememember. I don’t think I have any of mine. If I do, they’re packed away in my parents garage with other stuff from my youth.

    I didn’t know kids still made friendship bracelets. I’m glad they do. I like that you have to put some effort into them. I think means more than a random Silly Band. But maybe to children, it’s all the same.

  2. Great post!
    I used to write words and names in the bracelets I made- my putting the knot in the other direction even though working in the other (if working that row towards the right, that knot went towards the left). I always wore my bracelets with pride until they fell off. Especially as a camp counsellor. I thought of them as friendship bracelets but also reminders for the reason we work at camp- to empower young people and give them a positive experience. I remembered the importance of that each time I looked at my wrists.
    The last time I received a friendship bracelet, was last year from a high school best friend. We are both over a decade out of school and I loved receiving it with a hand-written letter. Some arts are not forgotten and it is up to us to make sure they continue.

  3. I love friendship bracelets.
    Those & wristbands I have in huge collections from each place I go to. I don’t think its wrong to place so much value on a piece of string either. They’re put on the wrist for a reason, it’s a place you always see them and a place that is connected with intimacy. (:
    I remember the arguments we’d have in lower school when someone broke or traded the bracelet you made. They mean a lot when you’re younger and I think, for me, those traits carry on in me.

    There are other patterns, this is a good one:

  4. i love friendship bracelets and i miss them.
    just like you i think it’s sad that they have been replaced by silly bands. i never really thought about the meaning behind making the bracelets, but i do agree with you that in a sense the act of making them is symbolic of a friendship.
    recently i’ve gotten back into the bracelet kick and i’ve been working on them as well as teaching younger kids i work with how to make them. i used to know a bunch of patterns and maybe one day i’ll relearn them all…who knows. interesting post 🙂

  5. I don’t remember making friendship bracelets at church camp in the 80’s. Everyone (but me) made boondoggle – braided plastic cord for lanyards and keychains. I finally made my first boodoggle in 2001, during our family vacation. Only in the past five years have we begun making friendship bracelets as part of our vacation activites. The 14 year old wears many varieties on her wrists. (She’s too sophisticated for Silly Bandz. Same goes for the 12 yr old male twins.) I thinks friendship bracelets will continue long after the Silly Bandz and subsequent fashion trend come and go. She makes them for her friends and they make their own when they hang out at our house.
    As far as your meditations on friend, there is a good poem about friends that circulates e-mails from time to time. I’ll post it on my own blog, “Mia Familia” – you’re welcome to peruse and read the comings and goings of my family.

    Congratulations on being “Freshly Pressed”!! Deb

  6. Awesome post! The answers:
    I make them for my friends 😀 I am lazy so I may promise to make one now and give it to you next year but I will, for sure 🙂
    Yes, I remember many 😀 Sweet ❤
    Its in the mind, what's old lies unkempt, kind of forgotten but always there somewhere…a memory, we focus on the now, we're selfish or may be just fit for survival or may be not 😛 🙂
    No it is not 🙂 You could use anything to symbolize a friendship or anything for that matter, its all in the mind after all 🙂
    Just last year, but I think my friends misplaced them already, but its alright, I just hope they remember how it felt around their wrist, how they smiled when they received them, it means a lot to me 🙂
    No, you're not alone, the only pattern I know is that three coloured strings…and blah blah 🙂

    Love the blog 🙂 Will keep coming for more 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤
    Take care, lots of love.

  7. Love this! The friendship bracelet I remember the best is the one from James Avery – two hands clasped together – so sweet. I think the friendships are going to come and go, just like bracelets. To me, it’s all about having friends – past, present, and future. Great post. 🙂

  8. Love making friendship bracelets. I was a camp director for several years and even the administrative staff made them for each other. You brought back many happy memories with this post. 🙂 Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  9. I have a confession..I am 33 years old and this past christmas I made friendship bracelets (the real ones with the braided strings) and gave them as presents to all my girlfriends. I made little folders with about 8 pockets and placed cute quotes in each pocket and in the last one was their bracelet. They all said it was one of the best gifts they received. It made them smile and it made me smile.

  10. I’m too old for friendship bracelets but I love your analogy here. I sadly lost touch with each and every close friend I had growing up. These losses were sometimes my own fault while other times it was simply the process of growing up and apart. Great post and great reminder of what friendship means. 🙂

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  12. First of all that was absolutely beautiful!!!! My sister and I got a sports pack (I would have rather gone with the fashion pack) and we split it down the middle 12 for her, 12 for me. Your story got me thinking even if we say we hate each other or hit or push out of our rooms; we’re always sisters. No matter what!
    1) Last winter I spent a rather long time weaving this friendship bracelets for my friends at school. All of the girls have them to this day around their backpacks, as do I.
    2) Yes, I do. it was when I was in Kindergarten only 7 years ago. What I thought would be my friend forever (We’re still friends just not very close) and I went to her house and we braided and weaved for hours.
    3)Maybe because we haven’t found anyone worth giving all our secrets to or you maybe have had poor relationships.
    4)I think it isn’t. Maybe if we could find a more durable material for a small price perhaps, but what you said about it does require labor; hunched over for at least 10 minutes. I think anything could symbolize friendship because it my have sentimental value (ex: Maybe you met your BFF at a water park you could buy some charms from there and make a necklace or charm bracelet.)
    5) Last January
    6)I just know one; which is the braid. (Do it just like you were braiding hair.)

  13. I still to this day only know how to make a Chinese staircase (or at least that is what it was called when I went to school. Wow, how old does that make me sound?) Making them is something I will never forget. During study hall in middle school all the girls would pull out their boxes of string and make bracelet after bracelet.
    The last one I was given I do believe I have. It was made for me by a camper out of beads and had my name on it. Everything any of the campers made for me at camp I still have and that was 5 years ago.

  14. Yes I remember friendship bracelets! I remember spending hours at Michael’s picking out the perfect colors to make bracelets for all my friends at school, my best friend that lived two houses away from me, even my older sisters. I miss those bracelets dearly, and everything they symbolized, I even recently thought of making some new ones when I saw those Silly Bands, and you know what?! I think I will! But that is still the only pattern I know and the only one I’ve ever known hahaha!!!

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  16. The friendship bracelet craze started after I had reached adulthood, though I do remember my niece making them with her friends. I always loved the colors and secretly wanted a few of my own. Sadly I am also too lazy to take the time to learn how to make them myself. I found some at Claire’s but they’re to pretty and precious to wear and I simply enjoy owning them.

    Maybe I’ll raid that ton of floss I have (since I don’t seem to be pursuing my career in cross-stitch either) and see if I can create something of my own to share with my daughters & friends.

    Thanks for the wonderful post!

  17. I have been thinking about “friendship bracelets” recently too–and remembering (or trying to remember) how we MADE them. And, how we made them for friends. I actually can’t remember how to literally weave the string, but I do remember the process of thinking about who I would make my next one for — or making a new REAL friend and then the thought of making them a bracelet would pop into my head, and I would think about that friendship while making it and wearing the bracelets that friends made for me. I especially miss the fact that “back then” there was no Internet to log on to in order to learn how to make friendship bracelets. You had to ask a friend to take a little time to sit down and teach you or vice versa. That’s what I miss most about friendship in the days of friendship bracelets–enjoying however much time doing not much of anything with a friend without any need to “find time.” I never forgot the meaning of a friendship bracelet. In fact, I become sappy and nostalgic for the handmade bracelets and the worn-in friendships every time I see a colored rubberband in the shape of a cookie cutter on a kid’s arm or, more often, lying on the ground–easily forgotten.

  18. Ohhhh my friends and I used to make these for each other when we were younger (I’m 30 now). Like you, I know know the one pattern (3 strings you braid). Ah well…

    I grew up in the 80’s so I remember those “slap” bracelets that have since been banned as well!

  19. I just turned 20 and friendship bracelets are very much still a part of my life. I know I am young, but my childhood feels like ages ago. I still have my Klutz book with ten designs and instructions to make bracelets, but recently I have started making more intricate patterns I have found online. Initially I started just to keep myself busy before heading back to college after my summer job ended. However, I found that people around me, family and various forms of friends really like getting them, or indulge my creativity enough to accept them, which I deeply appreciate. I agree with you, it’s something about the effort put into them and the uniqueness of each bracelet, anklet, keychain, or bookmark that represents your relationship to the person you give it to.

    I don’t think it’s wrong to place value in something as simple as some knotted string. I can’t remember any bracelets I have received, but I think I was the lone girl interested in making these bracelets in my group of friends. I have alway been fascinated by crafts of this sort, like knitting, where something starts and seems to be just a jumble of colors with no pattern, yet after a few minutes the colors come together and you can see the pattern. It amazes me that any combination of colors can turn out looking good, and it is often the colors you wouldn’t expect to go together that look the best.

    I could go on for ages about this topic, and I fully agree with you about the loss of bracelets and the loss of friendships and how they often coincided.

    My favorite pattern right now is plaid.

  20. I just got back from a troop Girl Scout camp, which I enjoyed with girls I’ve known for 7, 8, 9 years. We spent a lot of time making bracelets.
    I remember one friendship bracelet. Well, actually I had one and my friend Allie had one to match. We made it with my favorite color (yellow) and hers (purple). We never took them off all summer and they got all gross.
    And not to brag but I know 3 patterns. Girl Scouts will do that to you. 😉
    I like the effort to make a bracelet but at the same time, there are so many other things I treasure from my friends: letters we wrote to each other when we were little (like, six years old), birthday cards made or picked out for me, Myrtle Beach keychains (broken now), a seashell, a piece of brick, some silly doodles, a giant fake flower, a crumpled note I found in my winter coat pocket scrawled with a code I no longer remember…
    Gosh you’re making me miss my friends!! I’m calling all of them right now!!

  21. Gosh, yes. I recall when my elementary school kids made them, wore them, exchanged them, and even wove them at school every free moment they had… even on the sly.

    OMG! I even got one as a gift!

    But then beads came into play. Assorted ones… plastic, glass… in all sizes and shapes… with and without letters. And, pretty much, the woven ones were passe.

    Over the years, I received many bracelets… from my girls, mostly… which I still have among my cherished possessions. And then there’s my treasure-trove… a necklace that Roger, one of my mainstreamed sixth-graders, made especially for me.

    Oh, the memories your post conjured!


    Now that I’m no longer in the classroom, I bead friendship bracelets and necklaces unlike the others “out there;” and I gift them to both kids and adults. And I create puppets for very special little tykes, too.

    What a celebration of friendship… regardless of age, distance, time between visits.

    Thanks for your post’s wonderful thoughts! It was a delightful read!

  22. I just wanted to say I really enjoyed this post. I very fondly remember making and receiving friendship bracelets – choosing the colors carefully, the sensation of a friend tying it on my wrist. It really was special.

  23. This is such a great post. We felt the same way about the wonderful nostalgia of making bracelets that we came out with this product and people are loving it. We call it the My Friendship Bracelet Maker and people are so happy to use it and recall their fond memories of tying a couple pieces of thread to a door knob and creating awesome bracelets. Friendship bracelets are a timeless token of friendship and are so fun to make. They don’t fit the fad category because generation after generation have found a way to make them one way or another. Check out our product and see what you think.

  24. Very nice sentiments…I didn’t have much in the way of friendship bracelets. But I did use to make beaded pins for friends and we all used to pin them to our shoelaces. A month or so before my father passed away in 2003, I was visiting with him and discovered something on his running shoe – a beaded pin that I had made for him years before. Ah…memories…

  25. I really like how you described the bracelet – because it just more than a bunch of string knotted together. I still have some – I stuck them in my yearbooks so I wouldn’t lose them. They hold more memories than I can. And I like that.

  26. I have been a Girl Scout for almost 30 years now, I spent 15 of those years working at summer camps. I have lost many bracelets over the years but I do still have some that were very close to my heart. I have a beaded one that has different symbols that represent different events in a two week backpacking trip I took in high school. Another one is a bracelet that all of the CIT (counselor in training) in my group received from the camp staff once we had moved on from being campers to staff members. Many of those old bracelets of mine now live on a display I made for them that hangs under my camp staff pictures. Every time I look at them I can still remember who made them for me and the day they were given to me. Some are beautiful and some are childish but I cherish them just the same. I too hope that kids today will slow down a bit and find the magic you put into a bracelet while you take the time and energy to make one,

  27. I’m too old to have made friendship bracelets of the kind you describe — though I learned how to make your kind about two months ago at a farewell party for a co-worker! — but my friends and I made and gave each other bracelets. Beaded, braided, crocheted … we were always adorning each other.

    I love that you posted this today. Last night I got a message from a friend I’ve been mostly out of touch with for years telling me that a friend I thought was lost to me forever wants to hear from me. I’ve been thinking all day — through each of the meetings I’ve had to attend, though the work that’s been moving across my desk — of what I think of that, of what it means and what I’m going to write about it when I get home. Your lovely, thoughtful post will surely be linked to somewhere in that …

    Thanks for sharing!

  28. i love friendship bracelets, and just bracelets in general!

    on my left wrist i have a “check yourself” bracelet for keep a breast, a frienship bracelet my sister made, a hand woven bracelet i bought at the fair, and a friendship bracelet one of my roomates had me make so i could teach her how to do it!

    friendship bracelets are fun and i am always bummed out when i have to cut them off because the strings get dingy and stinky 😦

    but each bracelet is like a little memory…each special and equally amazing 🙂

  29. Loved your post! Here my answers:

    1. I loved them, we would sit in the park and make them all day long, it was a great time!

    2.Yep, I still have one in my jewelry box, I hope that she sticks there a long time 🙂

    3. We don’t really forget it, sometimes it just seem to be not in the current topics, but you never forget it, even if it remains only a memory, but it’s still there 😉

    4. Not necessarily…

    5. Like 5 years ago, when I was leaving for my study in Germany 🙂

    6. You’re not alone, I can make multiple colored ones too 🙂

  30. 1. I went to camp and made friendship bracelets like no other person made them and wore them. As a camp staff we still made them and shared them with each other. Girls made them for staff, staff made them for girls. We all taught each other designs the other did not know. I want to bring back the friendship bracelet.
    2. I remember so many specific bracelets that it is insane. One I will share is from when I had some homesick girls at camp and we sat up late night, them teaching me a braid I did not know.
    3. I think the world tears us apart, tells us other things of beauty and how we should live in the world. We forget those things that brought us together in the first place. We are told how we should be based on so many things.
    4. The friendships we have should be kept in our hearts, but being the people we are, having a labor of love to carry with us is a constant reminder. This especially when we are far away from others. To know someone cared enough to make something for you is a great feeling. It is like exchanging wedding rings as a symbol of love.
    5. I have worked on ones that I have started many times, but none that I have made to give. It has been on my mind to send them to people randomly, especially camp friends. I have not received one in a long while, but would love it and wear it if I was given one.
    6. I know that one well, but I know a bunch others. Well, the stripped one, the v shaped one, this other complicated one, finger weaving, four string braid, a basic braid, then you have all those landyard ones….I am a geek.

  31. I used to make those bracelets all the time for friends, they were so much fun when I was growing up.
    I remember a blue, white and black one my best friend at the time made me, it was my favourite.
    I’m not sure why people forget about them, I myself haven’t made or received any since I was younger, but if I got one today, I would definitely wear it.
    I remember the 3 coloured one you mentioned, but I was also good at making the one that looked like alot of V’s on top of each other. I also had a book, so i tried more difficult ones at the time. I still have the book somewhere too.

  32. I’ve also been thinking about friendship bracelets lately (a href = “”). The ones from my youth are mostly lost. But I kind of like the idea of forests and basketball courts and ice cream parlors scattered with friendship bracelets of all the girls. Hopefully, it’s something I’ll have in common with my daughter some day.

  33. Thank you for bringing back some lovely memories. I spent hours making friendship bracelets as a teenager, I knew some really complicated patterns (that I can’t explain sorry) and I still have some faded and tattered remains in my jewellery box.

    I think they work as a perfect symbol of the intricacy and effort of friendship, as you said, but also the fact that not all friendships last forever. That doesn’t devalue the care you put into them or the impact those people make on you. But it would be impossible to keep every friendship going at the intensity it has at the time you make a friendship bracelet.

    I wish it was acceptable to still give them in your 30s. Why don’t we have an alternative? How come only teenagers make the effort to symbolise their feelings?

  34. Great post! I am 24 and I still love making friendship bracelets. Since I was little, my sisters and I have always made friendship bracelets on vacation. When I was a camp counselor (in MN!) a few years ago, it was like nonstop bracelet making for two entire summers! The girls at camp would spread out and sit all afternoon making them. I always felt so special when one of them chose to bestow their creation upon me. I have slowly learned a few more patterns (you can make a heart pattern!). One thing I have to admit though…I have a hard time keeping them on for very long. Anyway, great post, and I like the picture at the top!

  35. Friendship is SOOO important to girls!! It is too bad that the friendships go away, like the bracelets, some are refound on Facebook, but it’s not the same!! Good luck to this younger generation, I hope it bodes well for them!!

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  37. 1. I love friendship bracelets! I’ve only gotten a few actual bracelets, but anklets are more popular in my area.

    2. I remember when I was 8, one of my camp buddies made me a great anklet that lasted me the entire summer until around Christmas.

    3. I think kids would like to spend more time with video games and computers than creating a bracelet to share with a friend. Many don’t seem to recognize the symbolism behind such. They might think “Oh cool, a bracelet. Thanks.”

    4. I can’t think of anything more symbolic of friendship than a personalized bracelet created just for you by your BFF.

    5. I just made a friendship bracelet a few months ago. I received one a few months before that.. Then Silly Bands came and no one cared about string.

    6. Haha, that is the ONLY type of bracelet I know how to make, besides a strand with some beads on it. Once, my friend tried to teach me how to make this complex pattern, but I said screw it and went back to basics.

    ~stand-point of a teenager~

  38. What a powerful, emotional post. I think often of friendships that have gone awry or just faded away, and one of the real tragedies is that it can come on you all of a sudden, as if you wake up one day and realize that you haven’t talked to your old chum in months if not years. I guess sometimes life moves you along and you crowd your days with other things to do, but it’s a shame regardless.

    The time we make for things is at a high premium. You’d think the online world would make staying in touch easier, but oddly enough, it doesn’t if the people you want to stay in touch with don’t use the same platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc). Will we one day see a return to preferring face-to-face over anything else?

    That’s my stream-of-consciousness speaking. Back on track, I have a friendship bracelet that a very dear friend made for me in college. I’ve never made one myself, didn’t think I had the skill; so I gave her something else at the time that I no longer remember. She’s someone who I only really knew for a year, but we stayed in touch after she left. I stayed at her mom’s summer home in Amsterdam with my friend and her husband and new baby a couple years ago. But since then we haven’t communicated! As I said before, life does get in the way, but it really, really shouldn’t.

    Every time I see that bracelet, I am flooded with snapshot memories of how we were in college. I did use to wear it, but worried it would get frayed and worn out, so it resides safely in my jewelry box.

    So I say placing value on bits of string, buttons, twine, anything dear friends make for each other can never be too much.

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  40. Thank you. Two simple words to convey all of the happy emotions I have welling within me. I was at work all day today and then grabbed a bite to eat with friends. But I saw, while at work, the e-mails of my “WordPress comments.” I was busy with my tasks and responsibilities. But I paid attention. And now that I’m home, I read all of your wonderful comments and related to all of your stories on friendship and friendship bracelets. Thank you for taking time to read my “freshly pressed” blog post. I didn’t even remember what “freshly pressed” meant. I’m still a “rookie” blogger.
    I definitely sense a friendship bracelet movement! 🙂
    ~ Megan

  41. I had ones made of plastic. I remember a light blue and purple one my cousin made for me, we were like sisters growing up. I was so upset when the plastic became brittle and snapped! I made hemp bracelets and necklaces all the way up to my freshman year at the U of A. I sold my hemp utility box with beads (some I made, some I bought) and hemp twine at a garage sale to a young girl – about the age I was when I really got into it. i was glad that these tools would hopefully be used by someone like her. I wonder how many friendships have now been forged through the weave of string and beads….
    Great post darlin 🙂 such memories!

  42. # What is your experience with Friendship Bracelets?
    I grew up with my mum wearing them. Then the friendship bracelet craze hit in the early nineties when I was about 9 or 10, and I started making them – first for my friends, and noticing the market, I made extra and started a cottage industry. It meant I actually had money for lollies after tennis practice (we were quite poor).
    # Do you still remember a specific bracelet?
    There was one I used to make called the Mermaid’s Tail. I made my mum one in a variety of blues.
    # Seriously, why do we forget the meaning of the bracelets? The friendship behind them?
    Not everyone does. When I am making carepacks for friends, I tend to include them.
    # Is it wrong to place such value on a piece of string tied around your wrist? Should we use something else to “symbolize” friendships?
    No. They are both pretty and meaningful.
    # When was the last time you made a friendship bracelet? Received a friendship bracelet?
    I made one for my mum’s last birthday. I haven’t received one since the nineties that was hand made.
    # Am I in my own life boat, or do other people only know how to make one pattern? The three-colored one — you cross one color over the other two and pull…you keep going and it starts twisting that color and then you switch…Did that make sense?!
    I know a number of different knots and braids to use. The more variety in colour, the better! I like making them in shades of one colour as well. I am planning on having a market stall and those will be part of my stock.

  43. Pingback: Reminiscing about Friendship Bracelets « Black Threads

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  45. I have quite a lot of these friendship bracelets and I’ve received them from very dear people to me in the last couple of years. whenever I hold one in my hand or simply look at one, I can easily see all the love and care and good times and our amazing moments with that friend who’s given me them and it just lifts my spirit.

  46. I spent hours and hours in my teen years making bracelets. We used the plastic like string and the string. We made names, pictures, favorite sayings, and favorite music artists. I probably wore 20 on each arm for many years. I still have a few that didn’t totally fall apart.

    I recently taught my daughter how to make simple ones. For the life of me I can’t remember how to do all the “fancy” stuff. I must have had a heck of a lot free time to dedicate so much time to make so many for so many friends.

    Great blog.

  47. You asked . I answer.
    1. What is your experience with Friendship Bracelets? I have never made one – not a huge thing here in Aussie land but I did buy a pair and gave one to my best friend in high school. We also had a pair of earrings where we each had one of the pair.

    2. Do you still remember a specific bracelet? In the end it frayed and broke but I’m sure I still have it around somewhere. She probably has hers too.

    3. Seriously, why do we forget the meaning of the bracelets? The friendship behind them? Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. For a while my friendship bracelet partner and I were not friends. The friendship had frayed and eventually broke. For a while I’m sure we actively hated each other. Now we are still each other’s BFF and I am an un-official Auntie to her recently born son.

    4. Is it wrong to place such value on a piece of string tied around your wrist? Should we use something else to “symbolize” friendships? I don’t think anything is necessarily wrong or right. If it works and has meaning for the two people doing it then who am I to argue. Hopefully the friendships themselves are the important things and people are still able to nurture them. I know that my friends treasure anything that I make for them – paintings, scarves, bracelets, other jewelery. They know I made it just for them and that there is no other item like it in the world.

    5. When was the last time you made a friendship bracelet? Received a friendship bracelet? High school.

    6. Am I in my own life boat, or do other people only know how to make one pattern? The three-colored one — you cross one color over the other two and pull…you keep going and it starts twisting that color and then you switch…Did that make sense?!
    I don’t think that you’re in your own life boat at all. As I said before – it’s never a craft that I learned as it wasn’t as big a part of child/teen culture as it is in the US. Weaving in general is something that I have wanted to learn for a long time – originally so I could make the bracelets. 🙂

  48. I used to have a few.. right now I wear a thin thread in pink, a colour I actually detest, because it has been given to me by a friend. She brought them from a trip to Brasil for everyone and all my friends (the guys, too) have been wearing them for more than half a year now. It’s amazing! You have to have somebody tie them with three knots and make a wish for each knot. When the string falls off your wishes will have become true.. let’s see. ^^
    It’s not the traditional friendship bracelet but it connects everyone just like that, not just the girls.. (:

  49. I’m 18 and got back from a christian festival (Soul Survivor) on monday, during the festival members of our youth group were going round the stalls collecting as many wristbands as possible. (me included). I have a few rubber ones, I have a material one which says ‘we wont forget’ and supports the Haiti hospital appeal. But the one that means the most is a yellow friendship bracelet made by my best friend. Its beautiful and has so much more significance than the others. By the end of the week my friend had passed on her bracelet making talent to most of the youth group. The bracelet acts as a memento, but in the process of its creation it also bought a lot of people together. It will always be more special than the others.

  50. This is such a beautiful post, I love it and the metaphor that you have of bracelets being just as fragile as friendships, and symbolizing the friendships that you had and that you’ve lost. I never made any bracelets for girls back when I was a kid, but I’ve saved every card I’ve been given pretty much from old friends and co-workers.

  51. 1. Its was four of us & we all had a bracelt that said best friends & it felt great becuase for that time i recently moved to Puerto Rico and i didnt know anyone and my spanish was horrible xD. But i found 4 great friends and i felt that i wasnt alone and I thought that we were going to last. We did everything together always in the same class & would go out and that bracelt would go every where. haha =)
    2.I remember that it was Pink and sliver with stars in like a chain like way and in the middle it said friends.
    3. we really don’t forget the meaning because we will always know the meaning everytime you meet someone new that you feel the same way about her/his friendship as your friends that has been with you since you were born. Now You don’t forget the friendship either. Sometimes its better that you seprated because you started to appreciate your friendship more.

    4.There is nothing wrong what soO ever! & no you shouldnt simbolize friendship with nothing else because its a great tradition and u have to admited it that its a beautiful thing if you are already a mother and you are picking up ur daughter from school and her best friend in front of you gives a braclet you know that ur daughter is not alone and she has another person to confine to and watch over her when ur not there.

    5.Its be a long time because in Puerto Rico You dont use them that much anymore but my friends and Ii still make braclets but they just dont say best friends o something like that we just make them to match with our clothes!

    6.Am I in my own life boat, or do other people only know how to make one pattern? The three-colored one — you cross one color over the other two and pull…you keep going and it starts twisting that color and then you switch…Did that make sense?!

    Well what i understood was that You start with a great friend and while time passes you switch to another friend, and if i understood good friends come and go & more for the fact that u cant really trust many people But once u really fine q friend that u really trust hold on to that person. everyone… well atleast alomost ever girl wants to have a that best friend well has to have a best friend but its hard because there is’nt that much honesty in this world & friendship is like a relationship u have to have trust to make it work. But I love the idea u propos. We need more friendship & we need to show it more so that means we should make more barclets to have more happy faces!

  52. My daughter LOVES Silly Bandz, and friendship bracelets, and making her own jewelry. She and her friends have been making jewelry together for years now.

    I do still remember several different patterns though, at least more than just the crossover. I guess I was more of a knot tying geek than you?

    Anyways, great post, I loved it and it brought back some great memories.

  53. This is actually a really touching post you wrote here! It’s really good. The words really got me thinking. Friendships used to be those kind of things, and now, they are just drama. Girls think they aren’t cool enough anymore, but then the silly bandz come along. And stuff like that changes a lot of things. Friendship bracelets were really fun! Really, super fun! Your post made me want to go make one, and I think I’m going to look for my old bracelet stuff, and make one for me, and one of my bestest friends! I love my friend, and I want something to symbolize our friendship. And those bracelets are exactly what I need! Thanks for that amazing post! I am a regular reader now! You are GREAT! Thanks! Keep it comin’!!

  54. Thanks for the continued chatter on the matter of friendship bracelets and friendships. I appreciate your comments and encouragement and am so happy this is bringing people back to “those” days. Best wishes in your friendship bracelet making endeavors and in all of your friendships!
    Thanks again!


  55. Very well thought out post on freindship bracelets. I grew up in Scandinavia where friendship bracelets were not that common… but we made bracelets out of flowers in the summer for each other… not as lasting as other bracelets but really beutiful and unique…

  56. I’ve got good impressions and experiences with friendship bracelets, however, I can’t seem to remember any specific bracelet. I do remember a friendship keychain which I and my good friend bought over eight years ago.
    It seems to me that, unfortunately, time waters down everything – including memories, friendships, and friendship bracelets and it’s too common to drift apart as we grow and change.
    Yet at the same time, it is not wrong to place a value on a piece of string since the important point is that at the time of the giving and at the time that we tied the bracelet around our wrists… it was a sincere gesture.
    The last time I received a friendship bracelet was over a decade ago. I’ve come across many different variations of friendship bracelets.

    Awesome post!

    Cheers, Niconica

  57. I totally love you post. It’s the best one I’ve read! I just can’t get enough of it! It’s amazing! I keep reading it over and over again! You truly have a gift!

  58. Hmm… I think the last time I made a friendship bracelet was a few summers back — and also with the Klutz book! 🙂 I had them all over my wrist and loved how colorful they looked! But then I went to the beach and the sand and salt made them shrivel and fade.
    I think bracelets can be important to some people, but, like niconica said, you shouldn’t always attach that much importance to them. Even if the bracelet comes off, you’ll remember that special person that made it for you.
    Love your post! 🙂

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  60. it seems like all the replys here are female

    well im a dude, 17 and definatly enjoy making and recieving these bracelets. it shows great appreciation from the maker and is a symbolo for all the memories and experiences between the two.

    recently i met a girl and boy named Gabi and Bryan from dallas. living here in ottawa, i showed them around and we had a great 2 weeks. they both stood out to me and were a big part of my summer. i made gabi, a black and pink dyed chineese staricase with letters “Bubblyyy” mixed in . for bryan i got 2 beads and a gold chineese staircase style going.

    they already had some on but i figured one more on each wrist wouldnt hurt. i pu tit in there suit cases right before they lift with a little note for each and they replied via email a couple days later =]

    • Max –
      Thanks for commenting! Ottawa, eh? Sweet.
      One of my favorite friendship bracelets as a kid came from one of my guy friends, so I’m glad you jumped into the bracelet-making conversation. I love that you gave your two Dallas friends “surprise” bracelets. That’s awesome!

  61. I love coming back and seeing how many more people have commented. I smile and laugh a little whenever I hear of silly bands being banned in some schools. I never heard of friendship bracelets having that issue. I might have to bring them back at the school I connected with now!

  62. Pingback: 13 going on 30. No, really. | Megan Nyberg's Meditations

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