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What do friendship bracelets represent?

What do friendship bracelets represent?

Friendship bracelets have been a popular craft and gift for many years, often made as a token of friendship between two people. The tradition of exchanging these handmade bracelets has roots across many cultures, but has become especially widespread among young girls and teens. But beyond just a fun craft activity, friendship bracelets can hold deeper symbolic meaning about the bond between the giver and receiver.

Origins and History

The exact origins of friendship bracelets are uncertain, but they seem to have arisen across multiple cultures and time periods. Similar bracelets used to symbolize friendship and social connection have been found dating back thousands of years in Ancient Egypt, Africa, India, Native American cultures, and more.

The modern popularity and current styles of friendship bracelets are often traced back to the hippie culture of the 1960s and 70s. Along with other bohemian trends, these bracelets became a popular DIY craft and symbol of peace, love, and friendship. They continue to be fashionable today, with endless varieties of patterns and designs.

Making and Exchanging Bracelets

Friendship bracelets are commonly handmade by tying various knots with embroidery floss or thread. By carefully tying the threads in certain patterns, beautiful designs can emerge. Traditional bracelets use a simple half-hitch knot, but more complex patterns use additional knots.

The bracelets are made intentionally long so they can be tied around a wrist with extra length dangling. Half of the bracelet is kept by the creator, while the other half is given to a friend. This exchange represents the strong bond between the friends and the wish to remember the friendship even when apart.

Bracelet Color Meaning
Red Love, passion
Yellow Happiness, joy
Green Nature, health
Blue Peace, calm
Purple Spirituality, wisdom

Meaning of Colors

In addition to the symbolic act of exchanging the bracelets, the colors chosen can also carry meaning. Traditional friendship bracelets often use embroidery floss in colors like red, yellow, blue and green. More elaborate designs may incorporate additional colors as well. Each color tends to have certain symbolism and personal meaning.

Red is associated with love and passion. Giving a red bracelet can signify the love between friends. Yellow represents joy, happiness and optimism for the friendship. Green is tied to nature, health and wellbeing. Blue elicits peace and calm. Purple evokes spirituality and wisdom. Multicolored bracelets unite all these meanings together in one bracelet.

Patterns and Meanings

Beyond the colors, the actual pattern or style of the friendship bracelet can also have significance for the meaning behind the gift. Here are some of the common patterns and meanings associated with them:

Chevron Pattern: The repeated V-shape conveys an infinite, everlasting bond of friendship.

Braided: The interwoven strands represent lives intertwined in friendship.

Hearts: Hearts signify affection and unconditional love between friends.

Crowns: Crowns are symbols of loyalty between friends.

Knots: Each knot represents a wish or hope for the friends’ happiness.

Beaded: Beads symbolize experiences shared between friends.

Charms: Adding charms or pendants allows customization with symbols meaningful to the friendship.

Giving Friendship Bracelets

The tradition of tying friendship bracelets on the wrist of a friend carries many possible meanings:

– It represents the bond between friends and the desire for that bond to be longlasting.

– It serves as a physical reminder of the friendship when apart.

– It shows effort and care put into a handmade gift for a friend.

– It symbolizes well wishes for happiness, health and friendship.

– The colors and patterns add additional symbolism and meaning.

– Exchanging bracelets represents trust and closeness between friends.

– It celebrates the unique connection between two friends.

Overall, friendship bracelets can express the fondness between friends through simple knots and threads. The time and care put into making these bracelets demonstrates the value of the friendship. The bracelet serves as an ongoing reminder of the meaningful bond. Both the giver and receiver have a token representing their friendship.

Modern Friendship Bracelets

While traditional friendship bracelets used just embroidery floss, modern variations have expanded the designs, materials and meanings. Some current friendship bracelet trends include:

– Using beads, charms, pendants or letters to customize and personalize meanings.

– Incorporating glittery or neon threads for bold, eye-catching designs.

– Weaving in meaningful quotes, lyrics or sayings.

– Using rubber cord, leather or rope for more durable bracelets.

– DIY kits with pre-cut materials and instruction cards for easy designing.

– Bracelets made on a loom rather than individually knotted.

– Selling handmade or customizable bracelets on Etsy and other online stores.

Yet even with endless creative variations, the core meaning remains the same – a symbol of friendship, love and connection. Friendship bracelets will likely continue to be popular crafts and gifts for years to come.


Friendship bracelets have been around for centuries and across many cultures, but they continue to be popular today. The handmade quality and symbolism behind these bracelets makes them a thoughtful gift for a close friend. Both the colors and patterns can signify different meanings and well wishes for the friendship. While styles and materials have expanded into modern variations, the core essence is still about celebrating a special bond between friends with a handmade gift. So whether made from embroidery floss or charms, friendship bracelets convey a message of friendship, happiness and connection.