After I attended The Compact summer camp last summer, I got very into making friendship bracelets. Using this Honestly WTF tutorial along with an $8 pattern I downloaded from Purl Soho, I’d put my phone in airplane mode, put on an episode of Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America's Best Idea *, and braid until my brain didn’t feel on fire anymore.
If you’re looking for a new hobby or activity, making friendship bracelets is a good one! Here are a bunch of reasons I enjoy it so much:
The action itself — the braiding/knotting/etc. — is very soothing and meditative.
You don’t have to be creative or crafty to be good at it.
It’s cheap! You can make several bracelets for under $10, and possibly under $5.
The fact that it’s so inexpensive / that embroidery floss is so plentiful means there’s a lot less pressure to make every bracelet perfect, or to even finish. More than a few times now, I’ve started a bracelet and then messed it up, or got halfway done and decided I didn’t like the colors and I just...abandoned ship. I’ve also finished bracelets and not done anything with them afterward. You don’t have to give it to a friend or wear it yourself. Knowing this makes it easier to just sit down and do it, particularly if you’re a uhhhh….slightly-uptight perfectionist who hates being bad at things.
But also: friendship bracelets are honestly pretty cute, especially if you choose a more ~sophisticated~ color palette.
It’s a very portable hobby and the supplies don’t take up a lot of space.
You can do it outside! I’ve spent a few truly lovely afternoons sitting outside on a patio, chatting with good people while working on a friendship bracelet.
It’s a great travel hobby/activity. If you’re planning, say, a weekend at a cabin or some kind of family trip and need some fun and light activities to do by a fireplace or on a front porch, or for ~ family-friendly ~ things to do, this is a good one. You can stock up on a bunch of embroidery floss and a grab a pack of safety pins before you go and you’re...pretty much set. (You may also want to pack a small pair of scissors.) I like it for trips because you can do it alone (while, say, everyone else is reading or playing a game) or a bunch of people can do it as a group. In my experience, it’s something that most people haven’t done since they were young, so they don’t realize how fun it can be...but once they get going, they find themselves really enjoying it and/or easily being able to execute complicated patterns they mastered when they were tweens.
It’s a great way to not be on your phone. If you want to stop scrolling through Instagram or Twitter, you can pick up a friendship bracelet in progress and work on that for a little while.
Get the tutorials: DIY Friendship Bracelet, Honestly WTF and Classic Friendship Bracelet Pattern, $8 from Purl Soho. Also, I haven’t mastered this yet, but it’s lovely: Monochrome Friendship Bracelets, Purl Soho.
PS If you want to make your bracelets a little sturdier / less likely to fade, you can use knotting cord instead of embroidery floss.
*I definitely need to write a separate post on why Ken Burns documentaries are good shit. ✨