Learn how to make name friendship bracelets with free printable letter graphs to help you chart your own name! When you’re done, try making this incredible diamond friendship bracelet pattern. This post contains affiliate links.
For a while I’ve been wanting to share how to make name friendship bracelets. It was one of my favorites to make as a teen, and it’s simpler than you realize.
The trick is: you simply need to graph the letters!
With this type of highly pixelated image, the wider and larger you make your bracelets, the clearer the letters will be. The letters will take up more space too, so you may not be able to fit longer names.
I find that it works best with odd numbers: you have an even amount of strings, but an odd number of rows. I demonstrated how to make a name friendship bracelet with the smallest string count I believe comes out right: eight.
If you use more strings, it’ll come out sharper and more recognizable.
How to Graph and Knot Name Bracelets and any two-color pattern
How the alpha bracelet works
This bracelet uses an alpha style knotting pattern. That means that you have two colors: a background color and a letter color. The background color is contained to one running thread that is involved in every single knot. With each knot, this running thread is moved along to the next position, going horizontally from left to right to left to right throughout your whole bracelet.
For each knot you have to evaluate if you knot the running thread, or if you take the next thread and knot around it. But it always needs to move to the next position, which is how you know if you’re forward or backward knotting.
I already showcased this in a more specific pattern for my buffalo plaid bracelet, however this shows you how you can use this concept to create a pattern, particularly name friendship bracelets that you can customize for anyone.
How to graph name friendship bracelets
People use all sorts of complicated patterns to graph their alpha bracelets, but personally, for a simple line-by-line, row-over-row alpha, I like to stick to a simple graph. You’ll probably want to number your lines to track things well, since it’s not a repeating pattern, but you don’t even have to do this.
You can use graph paper (which is what I did for the simple pattern). However, to make it easier for you, I created an elongated graph paper to more closely mimic the proportion of the knot so that you can gauge the shape of your letter better.
I also charted the letters for you! I created an 8-string (7 row) letter blank bracelet chart for you, as well as a 7-row letter graph. These are available as a free download. As an add-on for those of you who want more from this, I created 10, 12, and 14 string templates and graphs as well, plus blank elongated graphing paper.
Once you get the hang of this technique, you can invent any two color design for yourself. It works with any thread count. As long as you can graph it, you can knot it!
How to Make Name Friendship Bracelets
Print your alpha bracelet patterns
Get the free 8-string download
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Get the full set for 8, 10, 12, and 14 string bracelets
The full set includes both bracelet templates and letter graphs for 8,10,12, and 14 string (7, 9, 11, and 13 wide) bracelets. It also includes a printable version of these instructions.
How to use the graphs and templates
Print out the pages you’ll be needing on regular paper (actual size – don’t fit to page) so that you can lay them one over the other and trace. The letter graphs are black so that they can show through regular copy paper. However, using a BrightPad will definitely help!
Choose markers in similar colors to your strings.
Cut out a bracelet template and layer it over the letter graph to map out your design.
Use your letter color to fill in the slots with letters. Leave a row between letters the background color.
Continue until you’ve mapped out the name.
Fill in the in-between spaces the background color (yes, I did invert this on my sample – oops!).
Once you’ve mapped out your name, figure out how many rows you need before and after your words, to center it. You’ll want between 60-70 rows total for a typical 7 inch bracelet. The exact size depends on your thread size and tension, so for most accurate results check a previous bracelet you’ve made and count the rows.
So if your name took up 30 rows, add 15-20 rows of the background color before and after. I left space on my graphs for you to fill this in. Just write 15x before and fill it in.
How to spool your background color
When working with thread on the skein it will get tangled, causing you nightmares. Each bracelet uses a different amount of the background color, depending on the name. I highly recommend spooling your background string.
1. Cut a piece of craft stick about 1.5 inches long. Strong scissors will do the trick.
2. Place a small pool of hot glue on each end to prevent the string from slipping off.
3. Flip over and place more hot glue on the other end once the first bit has dried. You can build up on your original glue until you’re satisfied that it’ll hold your string. And if it pools out too far, you can snip and trim it once cool and dry.
4. Start winding that string around the skein!
Keep winding your entire background skein until you have about 18 inches left to work with.
How to knot letter friendship bracelets
You can learn how to start and finish a friendship bracelet here. I like to start by taping down strings flat, and hot gluing them together at the end. I finish my bracelets with a ribbon crimp.
This bracelet uses forward and backward knots (each knot being two hitches). If you’re unfamiliar with these, you’ll want to first learn how to make a friendship bracelet with a more basic tutorial.
Place your strings in order: The background color first, and then your letter colors.
1. Start with the background color and forward knot it around each of the letter colors.
If your strings are taped down like mine, you’ll want to make sure you’re creating a nice, straight row as you knot.
2. When you reach the end, reverse course. Backward knot the background color around each letter color.
3. Complete all your marked background rows.
4. Now I’ll show you how to start with knotting your letter rows. Simply knot your knots in order of the rows marked on your graph. Make sure to hold your graph vertically so that you can knot accordingly. Start by knotting the background around the letter color for your end knot.
5. When you get to a knot that’s shaded in the letter color, simply take the next letter color that you’d normally be knotting the background around, and instead knot it around the background.
6. Keep following the order of the knots graphed in that row, with each one checking if it needs to be knotted background around letter or vice versa.
7. When you get to the end, simply repeat! Reverse course with your background color.
And continue knotting background around the letter or vice versa based on your graph.
It’ll be exciting when you form your first letter!
8. Keep on knotting row by row according to the graph.
9. When you’re done, finish off like you started, with rows of background color.
10. Finish it off by hot gluing the ends, trimming and sealing with a ribbon crimp!
You’ve learned how to make name friendship bracelets! Which design will you try next using this technique? Comment below!
Didn’t get the full graph template bundle yet? Get it here!