July 30 is the International Day of Friendship! No, Hallmark didn’t make it up—the United Nations did, to celebrate how friendship leads to understanding and peace.
There are all kinds of ways we can let the people around us know how much they mean to us. In the past several decades, handmade tokens of friendship have been popular. Here are some things you might not know about friendship bracelets and jewelry, plus simple instructions to make your own.
Inspired? Create and share with #hallmark.
This craft, which originated among the Mayans in Central America, became popular in the United States in the 1970s. It became traditional to make two identical bands, giving one to a friend and wearing the other one yourself, day and night, until they fell off naturally. Because the bracelets are cotton, they can be worn all the time, even while swimming, which makes them a great summer accessory.
Some people associated different colors in the bracelets with different meanings:
- Blue: Loyalty
- Red: Honesty
- Yellow: Happiness
- Green: Generosity
- Orange: Closeness
- Purple: Creativity
- Pink: Kindness
- Black: Strength
- White: Peace
Of course, you can just make one in your friend’s favorite colors, and they don’t have to wear it constantly. Here’s how to make three different kinds of braided and knotted friendship bracelets!
Made with embroidery floss, pearl cotton or yarn, this easy friendship bracelet comes together in two shakes, or rather, twists.
This is the traditional bracelet we made as kids for friends to wear until they fell off. They’re fun to make on road trips because they’re portable—but they take a LONG time. These instructions show you how to make a chevron-patterned friendship bracelet.
In the 1980s, girls started to make little gifts for each other by putting colorful beads on safety pins. These friendship pins were usually attached to shoelaces, so you only had to look down at your sneakers to remind yourself of how much you were liked. The pins could also adorn a jacket or a bag.
We’ve put together instructions you can follow to make these traditional friendship pins—as well as pendants and bracelets, just to spice things up. To make any of these projects, you’ll need some safety pins and lots of colorful seed beads.
For the pendants, grab all your friends and set aside a little time for you to do them together. They’re quick, easy and fun. They also make a great project for a team.
Here’s how to make a pretty pin to give to your best friend. You can put both your initials in it to display your BFF status, or make a pretty pattern with her favorite colors. (Or make one of each!)
And for those of you crazy for bracelets—we’ll show you how to make one to give to a good friend—or keep for yourself. These are pretty time-consuming but VERY ADDICTIVE to make. You’ll find all sorts of patterns you’ll want to try out. Just be sure to work in a well-lit area or your eyes may cross!
And if you’re wondering when someone is too old for things like this, the answer is: never (like Shannon and friends demonstrate in the bonus video below!). It’s always a good time to celebrate the people who make us smile. Hope these projects inspire you to give your friends a handmade token of friendship.
Shannon and friends show a super simple technique for making twisted friendship bracelets, along with an easy and refreshing glass of wine. Get Shannon’s recipes and see more Cocktails & Creativity episodes here.