Music Mix #2: Friendship Bracelets.

Yes, that’s right—it’s mix tape for making friendship bracelets to.

About a year ago, I was talking to Jenna and Sara on the Twitter about…well, probably about Doritos or iced coffee or something like that (roughly 90% of my tweets are about snacks and coffee), and the subject of friendship bracelets came up. I vowed that night to bring back the friendship bracelet—not knowing in my uncoolness that they’d already been “brought back”—but I never actually got around to making one.

Until yesterday.

This is the correct view when making a friendship bracelet. If you see anything other than embroidery floss safety-pinned to denim, you’re doing it wrong. Binders and tape are for cheaters. And don’t even breathe the word “yarn”.

Now, this is a view I hadn’t had in a long, long time. Like…probably about 25 years. The last distinct memory I have of making a friendship bracelet is from 1986. I was sitting on my friend Melissa’s bed, knotting away (I’d like to say I was wearing Guess? jeans, but I wasn’t that cool), listening to INXS, when a frantic phone call came in from our friend Terrill to TURN ON THE RADIO because something REALLY BAD had happened.

Yes, that’s right: It was the sad, sad day that Wham! broke up. Tears were shed. Bracelets were exchanged. Andrew Ridgeley filed for unemployment.

Friends, I am not the knotter I was when I was 11 years old. At a distance my bracelet looks alright, but up close it’s kind of a mess. I had a lot of trouble getting my knots even and tight-but-not-too-tight. Either my pre-teen fingers were just way more nimble, or I’ve become more discerning in my old age. Probably a little of both.

I’m kind of proud that I did this FROM MEMORY, though. Okay, I forgot about making a loop at the top before tying my knot (Evan reminded me about two hours in—oh well), but aside from that, I’m pretty pleased with myself. I can’t imagine ever having time to make another one (apparently I had a LOT more free time when I was 11—go figure), but for now I’ll just wear this one and be my own best friend.

There are already 9 bazillion friendship bracelet tutorials on the internet, so I won’t bother repeating the steps here, but rest assured anyone over the age of 6 or 7 should be able to make their own bracelet in a few hours. I highly recommend taking the time! It was pretty relaxing, and lots of fun. Plus, now you have the right soundtrack to accompany your knotting.

p.s. The Swatch watch is not there for effect, I swear! I’ve been wearing Swatches since…well, since the last time I made a friendship bracelet, and they’re the only watches I really like. I still have all of my old Swatches, and yes, they all still work. (I only wear one at a time these days, but you never know…)

p.p.s. You can find and follow me on 8tracks as doorsixteen. My first mix was Summertime Jams!

BONUS!!! I tried to find a picture of myself from 1986, but the best I can do is my 7th grade class picture from 1987 (dudes, Joyce in the front row is wearing a FRIENDSHIP ANKLET!!). I’ll give a gold star to anyone who can pick me out of the group. Click to enlarge!

UPDATE!! Dee has correctly identified me! I’m in the back row, fourth from the right in the oversized cardigan, black hairbow, and body-wave perm. Yesssss. That’s Terrill next to me. Rest in peace, sweet girl.

61 comments
  1. Jaime from Design MilkAug 8, 201112:34 pm

    Since we always made them in summer, we never pinned them to our clothes. I looped them around my big toe. That was how we rocked it.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    The old lady in me thinks that sounds like a fast road to a foot cramp!!

    I actually do remember pinning them to my sock, too.

  2. tameraAug 8, 201112:36 pm

    I’m totally impressed that you made this from memory. I could do a straight diagonal from memory, but the chevron? Fancy!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I had to re-do the first few rows because I was forgetting to join the two sides together!! A chevron is the same as a diagonal, you just do half of the knots going forwards and half going backwards (meeting in the middle), then tie the center strings together.

    I remember girls doing some crazy-fancy stuff with patterns, but I never progressed beyond the basic chevron!

  3. julia wheelerAug 8, 201112:49 pm

    too funny! i attempted this last weekend and totally failed! your memory is much better than mine, clearly! even the you tube tutorials were not helping to ring any bells. i’m going to give it another shot… you’ve inspired me!

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  4. AmyAug 8, 201112:59 pm

    Well done, Anna, well done. Perfect summer post.

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  5. michelleAug 8, 20111:01 pm

    1st row, pink sweater?

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Nope, that’s Joyce!

    michelle /

    Took a shot because the of the friendship ankle bracelet.

  6. Heather LeaAug 8, 20111:04 pm

    My husband and I were JUST making these over the weekend. Great minds think alike, obviously. Although I must say, yours turned out a lot better than our sad attempt at chevron.

    [Reply]

  7. DeeAug 8, 20111:04 pm

    Back row, 4th from the right!
    Cool!

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    Anna @ D16 /

    DING DING DING!!!! You got it, Dee. Gold star! :)

    Dee /

    Yay!

  8. FionaAug 8, 20111:06 pm

    Amazing how much time and interest we had back then for crafty stuff. There’s a tea cosy somewhere… *surely* my mother couldn’t have thrown it out. I must say I’ve been loving 8tracks since you posted about it.

    Haha tricky. Front row, second from right fo sho.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Woah, jeepers, no. That’s Alyssa! Dee got it right. ;)

    Fiona /

    Ah :)

    Listening to your fab mix, couldn’t be more perfect for today. Heavy heart for lovely London and all my friends there.

  9. LynnAug 8, 20111:09 pm

    1st row, pink sweater was my first thought, too, but then I clicked, enlarged, and thought: Hmmm. Maybe back row, midnight-blue cardi, bow in hair?

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Dee beat you to it by a few minutes, but you got it!

  10. LynnAug 8, 20111:11 pm

    Heh. I do that all the time – forget to refresh the page and then look like an eedjit. :-)

    [Reply]

  11. LenaAug 8, 20111:45 pm

    Swatch is pretty awesome right? Swatch is the only Swiss company I am really proud of (as a Swiss person), not only are they cheap & good, their now late owner& manager was pretty awesome and they are a one of the most ethical sound big companies.

    [Reply]

  12. ChristineAug 8, 20111:52 pm

    This post brought such a flash back. I also remember using embroidery floss to wrap our hair in these weird tubes with one circling knot…were we the only ones who did this (poorly)?

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    HAH! No, I remember doing that, too. There was one girl, Sky, who could do it really well. I think the rest of us just resorted to braiding the floss in, hahaha.

  13. leacaAug 8, 20112:28 pm

    The year I graduated from High School I went to New York City for the summer and the first stop was Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. In Macy’s was a big beautiful Swatch store….I thought I had died and went to heaven. I bought a couple while I was there and have not seen them on anyone since.

    This was a nice little flashback.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I never see anyone wearing them either, but someone must be buying them (aside from me!) because there are several Swatch stores in NYC that always seem to have people in them. Maybe it’s all tourists! I keep thinking they’re going to make a comeback…

    kelly w /

    My mom has three! And still wears them. One, I bought for her in Switzerland in 1985. :)

  14. Holyoke HomeAug 8, 20112:37 pm

    ohmygawd, ohmygawd, ohmygawd, ohmygawd! That is TOTALLY how I spent vast swaths of my summers between 1987-1989. Did you also do the friendship pins on your Tretorn tennis shoes?!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I didn’t have Tretorns (I wanted them, though!), but I definitely did do the friendship bracelets. :)

  15. Lori E.Aug 8, 20115:31 pm

    This is SO funny. I tried to make some this summer for my boys and it was a total bust. And I agree, I don’t remember them taking so dang long to make. Do you have the leopard swatch? I still have it around somewhere along with the little rubber guard things. I think they had a name but that is gone from my memory along with the ability to make friendship bracelets…

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I think they were just called Swatch Guards! I don’t think they offered much protection, though. I didn’t have a leopard swatch (even as a kid I preferred the more graphic/bold styles in black, white and red!), but I did have a POP Swatch. That’s the only one I no longer have, actually—the face popped off at Morrissey concert and was never to be seen again. Alas!

    I’ve decided embroidery floss must just be crappy these days. That’s got to be it, right?

    Lori E. /

    Of COURSE that is the reason!

  16. querenciaAug 8, 20115:51 pm

    Ready for it? When I saw these making a come back I made some.. For my cats. Yeah, deep psychological issues here. I did make some for my friends but they claimed to be keeping them in mint condition by not wearing them. Slightly suspicious of the response. I never could make the chevron pattern either and never thought of it. I think I’ll be making some chevron goodness while finishing up the Boris Karloff Marathon tonight, or maybe just listening to the mix. Thanks for good memories.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    The image of someone making friendship bracelets for HER CATS is just too good. I love it! I was actually considering making little dog collars, I won’t lie.

  17. SaraAug 8, 20116:08 pm

    I was clicking around on the internet and somehow came to your blog–love it!

    I remember making friendship bracelets, definitely, but yours are fancy! The ones we made were a twisty/spiral type and not a chevron that you are rocking. I need to sit down and see if I can remember how to make them.

    P.S. The mix tape is perfect!

    [Reply]

  18. LizAug 8, 20116:21 pm

    Love the mix – it was a great distraction as all around me went mad. Thank you.

    [Reply]

  19. JuneAug 8, 20119:25 pm

    I can’t believe you posted about friendship bracelets, I made one on saturday for the first time in maybe 15 years. I tried to rock the chevron and quickly opted for a simpler pattern. Did you ever make the ones out of hemp also?

    [Reply]

  20. KathyAug 9, 20118:31 am

    This post just made me happy. Great mix, too! :)

    [Reply]

  21. AmyAug 9, 20118:53 am

    I had the Swatch that was scented! I think they were called Granita de fruta or some such thing. I had one that was banana and one that was raspberry.

    And yes, I thought I was the coolest thing since sliced bread at the time….now I realize I was just a big ol’ dork!!!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    AHHHHHH, I FORGOT ABOUT THE SCENTED ONES. I never had one, but friends of mine did. Oh my goodness, what a revolting concept, hahaha.

  22. Jenny A.Aug 9, 20111:22 pm

    That class picture is totally tripping me out. I was in the ninth grade in 1987, but other than that, it could have been my class picture. It’s all represented – the bad perms, pegged jeans, friendship ankle bracelet, giant sweaters, suspenders – it’s all there! Awesome! Yes, moment of silence for the greatness that was Wham.

    [Reply]

  23. Sara JensenAug 9, 20113:18 pm

    I have been so wanting to make these lately. I was OBSESSED when I was younger. Those and the thicker nantucket bracelets? Im so making one for you and Jenna. Maybe I can get Claudine and Mia to make them with me.

    [Reply]

  24. riyeAug 9, 20113:21 pm

    That class picture makes me smile. I was always wearing odd stuff my mom made and decked out in stuff like neon plastic beads. I love the mix! Really takes me back to those carefree days full of possibilities. :-)

    [Reply]

  25. nicoleAug 9, 20114:36 pm

    how did i miss this post?!? if i had been lucky enough to have been the recipient of one of your friendship bracelets back then, i’m sure it would still be in a shoebox at my parent’s house (with our finely crafted notes, of which i still have many). i’m totally going to listen to that mix and enjoy every single minute of it. and THANK GOD i am not in that class photo. is it bizarre that i can still name a dozen people in that photo? i think this was the year that you and i first met (awwww).

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I can name everyone in this photo (first AND last name!) except for the kid in the middle row on the left—I think he moved. (Tyler something, maybe?) Amazingly, I’m pretty sure everyone else in the photo graduated together…with the sad exception of Shea, of course.

    And yes, I’m positive this was the year we met! I still have all of our notes from back then. It’s a trip to read about what was important to us when we were 11!! Suffice to say there was much discussion of tanning and nail polish and boys. (Which continued for years…minus the tanning!!) xoxox

  26. leilaAug 9, 20114:46 pm

    friendship bracelets!! such good memories. i always had my mom hold one side until she complained and made me use an encyclopedia to weight it down haha. ohh, to be young : ) i love your blog

    [Reply]

  27. JaimieAug 9, 20117:49 pm

    I used to be seriously good at these bracelets … I remember making ones with 16 or more strands, knotting in small beads, doing fish patterns, all kinds of crazy stuff. I’ve often wondered if I could still remember how.

    [Reply]

  28. frannieAug 9, 201110:16 pm

    i don’t know what it was about west end girls, but i am completely sobbing right now. i miss you so much. xx
    ps: i remember you showing me this picture in brooklyn. i picked you out straight away ;)

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Please, let’s see each other. I’ll email you. <3 <3

  29. Caroline NoAug 10, 20115:50 am

    LOVE!

    I have a black pop swatch with multicolour polka dots. And multicoloured dots on the face. I need to dig that sucka out.

    [Reply]

  30. A Different NicoleAug 10, 20119:27 am

    In high school I had a set of four of these I made, one for each Potter house. I really love how they look and am so thrilled that they’re making a bit of a comeback/experiencing a vogue… but you are right, I forgot how mind-numbingly time consuming they are! I tried to make a grey, yellow, and cream one last night and gave up about fifteen rows in.

    I was never fancy, I only ever did the diagonal rows. :( I also cheated and used the back of my sketchbook with notches cut in when I was in high school. I’m such a friendship bracelet poseur.

    [Reply]

  31. BlakeAug 10, 20119:53 am

    Their comeback is so awesome, I’ve got 4 girls and I taught them how to make them and now I have about 50 from my sweets. I also recently purchased a swatch watch back in December (vintage etsy) and a purse with a zip off face (vintage ebay), remember those?

    [Reply]

  32. Jane AAug 10, 20111:01 pm

    I made a bunch of bracelets from the white string that tied the bundles of clean towels at the pool I spent my life at until 13. Mostly knotting them so they would coil like DNA. And mostly tied to the back of a pool chair.

    [Reply]

  33. DusaAug 10, 20113:09 pm

    Andrew Ridgeley is the bomb (that’s right, I use present tense).

    [LINK]

    [Reply]

  34. Jennifer DouglasAug 10, 201110:40 pm

    Coming out of the lurker stage, because this is too strange. I bought some embroidery thread from the secondhand store a few days ago, it was so bright and calling to me at .10c a bundle. Started little friendship bracelets for the kids, nary a thought since high school about these friendly little items. Just kind of weirded out that the same thoughts are running through other people’s heads at the same time. What a tinny tiny little world.

    [Reply]

  35. jsAug 11, 201110:38 am

    Rest in peace? Shea didn’t graduate? Sounds like some stories to be told.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Sadly, yes, both girls I mentioned lost their lives in the 24 years that have passed since that photo was taken, but I’m not sure that those stories belong in my blog comments.

  36. brandeyeAug 12, 201111:27 am

    this brings back memories… and the swatch, love it! i used to rock the wear-2-swatch-watches-at-once look.

    [Reply]

  37. kyapheAug 12, 201111:35 am

    Had to laugh when I saw this post…I just made my first friendship bracelet in about 25 years for my 3 yr old daughter. I attempted the Chevron, but quickly gave up for something more straightforward. She’s now wearing 3 pretty sad looking bracelets – but loves them anyway. I need a refresher course!

    [Reply]

  38. seesawAug 12, 20113:55 pm

    haha. we used to get crazy with these things. we eventually transitioned into string in hair – i thought i was pretty cool.

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  39. KrissyAug 13, 20117:40 am

    This is so much awesome wrapped up in a pita. The mix, the bracelet-making, the nostalgia! Thanks for the fond memories. :)

    [Reply]

  40. libbyAug 14, 20114:18 pm

    Haa. I love this post and the mix. You know what? I never learned how to make these bracelets. But, I was a whiz with the friendship pin!

    [Reply]

  41. MarleneSep 5, 20139:08 am

    This mix is epic.

    [Reply]

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