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 them, plus simple instructions to make your own.
Braided and knotted friendship bracelets
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:
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!
Download the twisted friendship bracelet instructions
Download the braided friendship bracelet instructions
Download the knotted friendship bracelet instructions
Safety-pin friendship jewelry
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.
Download the friendship pendant instructions
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!)
Download the friendship pin instructions
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!
Download the friendship bracelet instructions
And if you’re wondering when someone is too old for things like this, the answer is: never. 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.
Stacey Donovan has been a writer and editor at Hallmark for more than 20 years. She also writes romance novels (under a pseudonym), and has collected a wealth of obscure knowledge in the process.
Additional contributions from Jeanne Field.