This is the friendship bracelet for those who can’t do traditional friendship bracelets! This easy stitch takes just a minute to learn and creates a gorgeous two-toned pattern that will be the envy of all your friends.
In elementary school, I was the kid who couldn’t make friendship bracelets. Maybe it was because my parents never sent me to summer camp, but I tried to learn the basic knots, and all I ever ended up with was a mess. This design saved my social status in about 5th grade, and I’m happy to pass it on to you.
What makes this different from other friendship bracelets? For one, it’s extremely simple. No complicated pattern charts or dealing with 500 strings. You have four threads, only two of which move at all. Even I can keep track of that!
Another thing I love about this version is that you can use a ton of different mediums. This looks great with yarn, with old t-shirts cut into strips, with the traditional embroidery floss, and even with paracord. I love the way yarn gives you a funky chunky look, so that’s what I’m going to use in this tutorial. Feel free to experiment and create your own exciting looks!
Why you want this craft:
- beginner bracelets
- easy craft project
- cool accessory
- fun for kids of all ages (and adults too!)
For this project, you’ll need four things:
- Thread, Yarn, or Paracord: You can use many different materials for this project. The classic is embroidery thread, which is cheap as can be and comes in all the colors of the rainbow. Yarn of all kinds works (even t-shirt yarn!), and you can even use paracord or other heavy-duty materials depending on what kind of finished look you’re going for.
- Tape: You’re going to use this to stick your thread to the stable surface so that you can keep the tension while braiding. I recommend painters tape, since it comes off easily without ruining your thread.
- Surface: When I was a kid, many kids would carry a piece of cardboard with a notch in the top to make bracelets on. That works fine. I like to make mine seated at the kitchen table, so I just use the table for my surface. You simply need somewhere you can tape your thread to.
- Scissors: These are here for obvious reasons. You’ve gotta cut the thread somehow!
Step 1 | Cut Thread
Start by cutting four lengths from your thread. Two of these will go in the middle. They should be about 1 foot long, and they will never be seen, so feel free to use whatever color. These are stealth threads.
The other two will form your pattern. They should be around 3 feet long.
As a general rule, this looks best when you choose two different colors of thread with high contrast. I’m going to use the color combination of black and white for the tutorial so it’s easy to follow. My middle threads are light blue.
Step 2 | Get Set Up
Take all your yarn, make it even on one end, and tie that end into a simple overhand knot.
Next, tape your knotted yarn to the surface you’re going to use. Your set up should look like this:
Step 3 | Right Side
Start on the right side of your set up. For me, that’s the white piece of floss.
Put the right hand thread over the middle two threads.
Loop the thread under the middle threads and return it to the right side.
Pull the loop taut. You’re basically creating a small knot with the thread. Don’t pull the knot too tight, or leave it too loose. You want the bracelet to lay flat with each row snugly fitting next to the previous one.
Step 4. | Left Side
Now, you’re going to go to the other side of your set up. I’ll be working with the second strand (black).
You’re going to follow the same instructions as before. Put the left string over the middle two threads.
Loop it under the middle threads and return it to the left side.
Pull the loop taut.
You’re going to continue steps 3 and 4 until the bracelets reaches the length you want. Since wrist sizes differ, I’d recommend checking before you cut anything.
Optional Step | Add Bling
If you want to add beads or charms to create your own beaded bracelet, you can simply slide them on at the beginning of steps 3 and 4. You can create your own patterns by alternating bead colors or only putting beads on one side. You can even hang a charm from the middle of the bracelet.
Step 5 | Finishing Off
To finish off, tie your threads with an overhand knot. You can then knot the two knots and trim the loose ends to create easy friendship bracelets.
- Keep steady tension on your threads. This helps to get the right look in the finished project!
- Don’t pull your knots too tight! This can cause the bracelet to twist.
Other Ways to use the Ladder Stitch
While this craft is all the rage right now, this the ladder stitch isn’t just for making fun friendship bracelets. You can make a number of other cutesy crafts using the same simple patterns.
- Bookmarks: Since this stitch lies flat, it makes a great bookmark!
- Candy Canes Ornaments: Use red and white to create a candy cane look in time for Christmas!
- Key Chains: Make a short version to hang from your keys.
- Headbands: Make a longer version from thicker materials like yarn to create a cool Boho look headband.
- Anklets: Bracelets aren’t the only DIY jewelry you can make from this stitch. Show off a trendy anklet at home or on the beach!
The ladder stitch involves crossing two strands of floss over each other to form a ladder-like pattern.
To avoid this, cut longer strands initially. If you do run out, simply tie a new strand to the existing one and continue with the ladder stitch.
Yes, you can carefully undo the stitches by gently pulling the floss. Be patient to avoid tangling or breaking the strands.
To prevent twisting, make sure to keep the tension consistent while stitching. Don’t pull the knots too tight. If your bracelet is already twisted, you can go back and loosen your stitches until it lies flat again.