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Chinese Staircase Friendship Bracelet Instructions

by Christine Gierer

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Chinese Staircase Friendship Bracelet

Photo Courtesy of Elisha in California

The Chinese Staircase has got to be the easiest friendship bracelet ever, short of tying a single piece of string onto your wrist and calling it a bracelet.

It's even easier than the Candy Stripe that I used to call the easiest.

(See? I can admit mistakes. I'm growing as a person).

Shall we continue on with the instructions?

Chinese Staircase Knotting Instructions

*This is for a 2 color bracelet.

The chinese staircase bracelet is a flexible project. You can use a rainbow of colors or just 2, it's entirely up to you.

In this tutorial I'm using just 2 colors, but once you make a 2-color bracelet, it's easy to see how to make one with more colors.

You'll see tips for making a bracelet with more colors at the end of the tutorial.

Experience Level: All Levels


About 45 minutes or less if you are focused, I think. I'm not, so it took me longer in front of the TV.

what you need

friendship bracelet instructions


  • 1 length of red (colorA) yarn or embroidery floss 48"
  • 1 lengths of pink (colorB) cut 48"
  • 1 lengths of brown (or any othe ugly color you want to use up) 24”
    (This will be your anchor thread and won't be visible later)

Tools and Supplies

  • Tape, or a saftey pin to attach your work to a pillow or your pant leg while you knot. (See friendship bracelet basics for tips about keeping everything stationary)

Friendship Bracelet Instructions

Step 1

Fold the brown strand (your anchor strand) in half, and line up the top of the fold with one end of each the pink and red strands.

Tie strands together like this:

Chinese Staircase Step 1

You now have two long strands attached to a folded (soon to be hidden) short strand.

Step 2

Attach the knot to a relatively sturdy surface with tape or safety pin so it doesn't move around:

Chinese Staricase bracelet Step 2

Step 3

Make your first "Half-Hitch" knot. (Macrame lingo, natch).

(Why: The goal is to make a knot that wraps around all the other strings (keeps 'em from flapping about) while at the smae time making a band of color around said other strings.)

How to Make a Half-Hitch Knot: Make your first knot by making a number “4” with colorA as the loop, and the rest of the yarn as the stick of the 4 like in picture ....


Chinese Staircase Half Hitch Knot 1

...then reach into the loop of the 4 from the front, and grab the loose end of colorA and pull through.

Chinese Staircase Half Hitch Knot Chinese Staircase Half Hitch Knot 2

Tighten the knot by pulling colorA yarn up and tight.

(This action completes 1 half-hitch knot)

Chinese Staircase Half Hitch Knot 4

Step 4

Knot with ColorA until you think you'd like to switch to ColorB

Repeat Step 3 over and over as needed, i.e. continue making the half-hitch knots until you want to change to colorB.

The knot will start to spiral -- this is fine.

Chinese Staircase Step 4

Step 5

Change Colors and Continue To Knot with Half Hitch Knots

Use colorB as the knotting strand by separating it out of the rest. ColorA joins in with the brown and the red and brown are now the strands that become hidden.

Chinese Staircase Step 5-1Chinese Staircase Step 5-2

Step 6

Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you reach about 5 inches long or the size of your wrist minus a bit.

To tie it off, trim the loose strands to about 3 inches or so.

You can tie it onto your wrist using the below instructions. (It would look like the same, except without the strings being braided).

Instructions for tying on a friendship bracelet:

(The bracelet below is a chevron bracelet. That's why it looks different. You knot the chinese staircase bracelet closed the same way though. Instead of braids, you have loose strands of floss that you knot)

Lay your wrist on the bracelet. Pull one or two strands of the floss through the loop and tie to the other remaining strands. You are finished!



Making a Multicolored Bracelet

To make a Chinese Staircase bracelet with more than 2 colors, here are some tips:

  • Make one using just two colors first, exaclty the same as in the tutorial. Once you make one with 2 colors, it's really easy to figure out how to add more colors.
  • The extra colors are always carried as anchors, so don't leave any fluttering about outside that core of anchor threads
  • "Anchor" refers to all the strands that are hidden by the working thread at any given time
  • The more colors you have, the fatter the chinese staircase bracelet. Also the shorter any one individual strand needs to be because you don't use it to knot as much. (If that's confusing, make a few bracelets. It is much more complicated in words than it actually is to do).

Return to the beginning of the instructions


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