There’s something indescribably cathartic about making a friendship bracelet: separating out the strings, looping one over the other, pulling them tight and repeating it all over again. Individual knots turn into rows, rows turn into designs and the whole thing quickly turns into a mindless practice. Before I know it, the strings have woven themselves into an intricate pattern. This is something I’ve been doing since my parents first sent me to summer camp when I was five. Working as a camp counselor the past couple of summers has provided me the opportunity to experiment with more complicated patterns and to pass down the practice to campers of my own. This hobby serves many different purposes for me, and hopefully this article will teach you how it can serve you beneficially as well.
It’s inexpensive and relatively easy
The only supplies you need for a friendship bracelet are the string and something to secure it to as you work on it! Friendship bracelet strings can be purchased for just a few dollars in packs with hundreds of colors that last you for quite a while. The most basic stitches, candy stripes and the chevron pattern, are very straightforward — once you learn how to do it, you simply repeat the same steps until your bracelet reaches the desired length. After mastering these basic stitches, you can start to experiment with variations such as diamonds and X-shaped patterns that create a more intricate finished product.
It’s great for stress relief
Like many others, I’m a huge proponent of forms of productive procrastination. What better way to put off studying for your midterms than to make a bracelet for a friend? I find that the more anxious I am, the tighter I pull the strings as I work and the more relieved I feel when I’ve finished.
It gives you something to do with your hands
Whether it’s clicking a ballpoint pen, twirling a fidget spinner or playing with a Pop It, many people find that they focus better when they have something to do with their hands. For example, I personally don’t have much patience for watching movies, so I take movie nights as the opportunity to make progress on a friendship bracelet. I’ve been tempted to work on bracelets during those lectures when I absolutely cannot keep my eyes open, but I’ve managed to refrain from doing so thus far.
They’re a meaningful gift
As I’ve gotten older I’ve found it more and more difficult to think of meaningful gifts to give to my friends. Friendship bracelets may not fit everyone’s aesthetic, yet the friends I give them to always express their appreciation because they know I put time and effort into making them. As I’ve made friends from across the globe and as my friends from home have moved around, it’s comforting to know that a piece of me stays with them wherever they are.
Whether you choose to make a bracelet as a way to kill time or to show someone in your life how much they mean to you, you’re sure to get something important out of the experience. It’s a hobby that takes me back to carefree summer days even in the most trying moments of college life, and one that I’m sure I’ll keep practicing in the years to come.