It’s the same technique practiced by summer campers everywhere. But when fashioned in sophisticated colors and luxurious strings and yarns with metallic accents, these knotted bracelets become great adult accessories.
Photography: Aaron Dyer
Source: Martha Stewart Living, July/August 2013
Summer, for the 10-and-under set, has always meant time to make friendship bracelets. But even adults may find this kind of micro-macrame surprisingly relaxing —and stylish. A few things you might have forgotten since those rainy camp afternoons spent busily knotting a bracelet or an anklet for your BFF du jour: Each string represents a stripe in the bracelet; arrange and tie them in the order in which you want them to appear. For wider stripes, place same-color strings next to each other (you can also go monochromatic). Start with much longer pieces than you think you'll need—all the knotting significantly shortens each strand, and it's easier to trim to fit than to start over. For a diagonal pattern, cut a little more than 35 inches and knot one end to start (or cut 70 inches, then fold in half and tie a loop). For a chevron, start with 70 inches, fold in half, and tie a loop.
For more ideas, scroll through our entire collection of Handmade Bracelets.
String, yarn, or embroidery floss (Pictured: Assorted silk, cotton, and linen threads, annieandco.com)
Tape (or a safety pin)
Diagonal Pattern (Watch the How-To Video)
Anchor strings with tape or pin. Loop string 1 around string 2 as shown, above, pulling tight toward top. Repeat. Use string 1 to make 2 knots each on strings 3, 4, 5, and 6. String 2 will be on the end. Repeat process with all 5 remaining strings.
Chevron Pattern (Watch the How-To Video)
Loop strings and arrange them so colors mirror one another. Starting from left side, follow instructions for diagonal pattern, left, for half of the strings. Repeat from right side. Double-knot the 2 strings in the middle. Repeat for next row.
Chinese Staircase (Watch the How-To Video)
Finish loose ends by looping one string (which should be much longer than others—add on, if needed) around all other strings or groups of strings, pulling knot tight toward top. Repeat. As spiral pattern appears, reposition bracelet, if needed, so you're still knotting in front. To make a four-strand round braid (as shown here), continue to the next step.
Four-Strand Round Braid
Arrange four strands so you have two in each hand.
Bring strand 4 behind strand 3; pull it between strands 1 and 2, and then to the right.
Bring strand 1 behind strand 2; pull it between strands 4 and 3, and then to the left.
Repeat process, alternating outermost strands, until braid reaches desired length. Knot to finish.