Friendship Bracelets are the hallmark of my childhood. They always remind me of summer camp, days at the lake, and making giggling crafts together with friends. It’s never too late to stop making these! A friendship bracelet makes a great gift with a personal touch, or you can just make one for yourself because it looks cool.
This design features a rainbow fishtail braid. You may have put a fishtail braid in your hair before. This is a similar concept, with some slightly more intricate knots and a little more organization. The fishtail braid is much easier and faster than the macrame knot bracelets I grew up with. This project should only take about 30-45 minutes.
Fishtail Braid Friendship Bracelet Materials
For this bracelet, I used waxed cotton cord. It holds up well to everyday wear and tear. I’d also recommend waterproof cord for everyday convenience. These are usually made out of plastic, and the loose ends can be melted together rather than bound with glue. The wax cotton cord needs to be bound together with an adhesive, like jewelry glue or clear nail polish.
2 12 inch red wax cotton cord .5mm
2 12-inch pink wax cotton cord .5mm
2 12-inch natural wax cotton cord .5mm
2 12-inch gold wax cotton cord .5mm
2 12-inch lime wax cotton cord .5mm
2 20-inch light blue wax cotton cord .5mm
3 12-inch medium blue wax cotton cord .5mm
I made my bracelet with 12-inch colored cords, and that was plenty. The standard size for women’s bracelets is about 7 inches. You can either measure the bracelet against your wrist as you make it, or against a measuring tape as you go. Remember that it should be about 7 inches, after it has been clasped.
Two 20-inch light blue cords will make the end pieces of the bracelet, and one 12-inch medium blue cord will make the macrame slip knot clasp. The multi-colored cords make the fishtail braid body of the bracelet.
Fishtail Braid Friendship Bracelet Instructions
Begin the bracelet with one of the 20-inch cords. Firmly press your left thumb at the 8-inch mark, and with the right hand, twist the cord clockwise. Keep twisting until the cord begins to buckle.
Twist a little more, and then fold the twisted part in half. The cord should buckle on itself and make a cute little spiral endpiece.
Take the sets of two 12-inch rainbow-colored cords and one 20-inch light blue cord, and organize them in a bundle so that all of the end pieces are nicely lined up on one side. Line these up just above the base of the twisted light blue piece, and carefully tie a big knot. Make sure both ends of the light blue piece come through the knot. Tighten the knot one cord at a time. It should be a very firm knot that will not come loose. Trim any excess cord off the top of the knot.
It should look like this.
To set the bracelet up for the rainbow fishtail braid, secure the light blue end-piece with a piece of tape. Loosely organize the cords in rainbow order, with the red on the outside and the dark blue on the inside.
Cross the right red cord from the right outside, over to the left inside. Cross the left red cord from the left outside, over to the right inside. Cross the right right pink cord from the right outside, over to the left inside. Cross the left pink cord from the left outside, over to the right inside. Continue to move through the colors in this crossing pattern. As you cross the cords, organize the braided cords at the base of the braid in their rainbow pattern.
Once the friendship bracelet reaches the right length, stop the fishtail braid pattern. The longer light blue cord will be used to make the end piece on this side. Repeat the clockwise twisting method that we started the bracelet with, and fold it on itself to make an end piece that is the same length as the one on the other side. Gather all of the cord ends together, and carefully tied a knot at the base of the braid. Firmly tighten each cord to secure the knot. Clip off the loose ends. Bind the loose threads with jewelry bonding glue or clear nail polish. Make a small knot in the end of each light blue tail. If you like, you can also put a cute gold bead on the ends.
Macrame Slip Tie Finish
For the slide knot tie, you’ll use the remaining 12-inch medium blue cord. This bracelet has a regular macrame clasp, so if you ever made hemp bracelets in high school or middle school, that’s what this is.
Cross the bracelet ends over one another, like you would when you wear the bracelet. Fold the medium blue cord in half behind the light blue ends of the bracelet.
Cross the left cord over to the right on the frontside. Loop the right cord over that left cord, and cross it under to the left on the backside. Send the end of the cord through the loop made when crossing the frontside cord. This should look like a loose pretzel knot. Carefully tighten the knot firmly around the light blue cords.
Continue in this knotting pattern for about 4 knots alternating sides for frontside/backside. Since the left side began frontside, on the next knot the right cord will begin frontside. Loosely cross the right cord over to the left frontside. Send the left cord over this cord, and cross it under to the right backside. Send the end through the loop made by the right cord, and carefully tighten the knot.
The alternating frontside/backside pattern makes a row of knots that lay flat. If you always cross over on the same frontside/backside, you’ll make a row of knots that spiral.
The macrame slip tie only needs to be about six knots total on each side. So, after you finish the first few starting knots, loosely thread about three more.
Turn the bracelet over, and thread the two end pieces through the back of the loose knots. Carefully tighten all of the loose knots you made, starting with the top-most knot, and working your way down. Lastly, firmly pull the two end pieces through to tighten them too. You should have a small row of macrame knots with the end pieces finished in the middle. Clip the extra medium blue ends off. Secure all of the cord ends with a little dab of jewelry bonding glue or clear nail polish, and enjoy!
These friendship bracelets are so fun for layering. Pile them on with other bracelets of different textures and materials.
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