Kandi bracelets are part of the rave and festival scene with their origins going back 30 years. People make them by the armload to share and trade with each other at events in order to drive home the concept of PLUR – peace, love, unity and respect with fellow attendees.
They’re intended to create a tangible memory of the event; capturing the spirit of interaction with like-minded individuals and paying it forward through the regular gifting of bracelets at future events.
What are Kandi Bracelets?
At first glance, kandi bracelets – also known as friendship bracelets – look like children’s name bracelets. In fact, that’s the origin of kandi bracelets due to the fact it’s easy to leave your first name with someone else at a festival, presumably someone you’ve never met. They’ll go home with something of yours that has little financial value, but a lot of meaning.
It’s not unusual to see someone wearing armfuls of kandi bracelets with various names or their own. Trading a kandi bracelet with your name, favorite word or inspirational statement is a common pastime at festivals, raves, and EDM events, and adds another element of fun to the festivities.
The trading activities help foster the feeling of community among people who are into the scene but don’t engage much outside of it.
Kandi bracelets can be simple or complex, but they all use the same materials in their construction. They include:
- Alphabet beads
- Pony beads
- Jewelry glue
There are no hard and fast rules for what goes into a kandi bracelet. You can use any color and materials that you like as long as you feel it reflects who you are.
Tips for Making Kandi Bracelets
Making a simple kandi bracelet is easy. All you have to do is buy a card of elastic cord, letter or alphabet beads, and pony beads in your choice of color. You have all the options in the world when it comes to making kandi bracelets. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with making simple styles, you can move onto making more complex weaves. But be careful: you might not want to trade the ones that you’ve put some effort into because they’re so awesome. It’s a good idea to have a selection of ones you’re willing to swap with ones you want to show off.
The major component of a kandi bracelet is the elastic cord. Use a heavier cord for longevity and easy knotting. Craft stores carry different thicknesses of elastic cord for you to choose from. The only thing you need to be concerned with is “will the cord fit through the beads?”
Jewelry glue comes into play when you’ve strung and knotted your bracelet. Make sure to procure glue with some elasticity, such as E-6000, or any other glue that’s recommended for use on elastic cord.
Putting a couple of drops of glue on the knot helps to seal the connection and allows the elastic to stretch without loosening the knot.
15 Ideas for Kandi Bracelets
As a general rule, beads lend themselves to a wide variety of structrual designs. Kandi bracelets are no exception, and you can create amazing shapes and designs with some basic bead stitches.
Before you expand your design horizons, you want to get comfortable with stringing beads and making knots in cord. It won’t take you long to figure out the technique, and you’ll find yourself with a stack of kandi bracelets in different designs in no time at all.
Here are 15 ideas for making kandi bracelets that range from beginner to advanced.
1. Basic kandi bracelet and x-cuff
This tutorial from WikiHow shows you how to make the basic kandi bracelet, then expand upon it with an X pattern.
2. Basic kandi bracelet and peyote stitch tutorial
Learn how to make the basic bracelet design and how to use it for making a cuff in peyote stitch from beyindi.com.
3. 3-D kandi cuff
This design idea results in a spiked cuff as opposed to one that lays flat against your wrist in this tutorial from instructables.com.
4. Daisy chain kandi bracelet
Learn how to make a daisy chain style kandi cuff in this YouTube video.
5. Peyote stitch kandi cuff
This tutorial from friendshipbracelets.net shows you how to make a peyote stitch cuff with beads and elastic.
6. Basic x-cuff tutorial
This tutorial from kandipatterns.com shows you how to make the x-cuff design, but also shows you how to make it into a 3-D cuff.
7. Epic kandi cuff
Epic kandi cuffs are large, 3-D pieces that cover a large part of your forearm and stick out in all directions. This tutorial shows you how to make a basic epic kandi cuff.
8. Epic rotating kandi cuff
Have you ever wanted to make a fidget spinner you can wear? This epic rotating kandi cuff tutorial shows you how.
9. 2-D mandala cuff pattern
Mandalas are a popular design style, and kandi cuff patterns help you make them in your favorite colorways with this pattern from kandipatterns.com.
10. 3-D mandala kandi cuff pattern
This video shows you how to make a 3-D mandala cuff to really expand your design possibilities.
11. Boxy cuff pattern
This pattern from Kandi by Jumper riffs off the x-cuff pattern and results in a stacked row of points and includes alphabet beads for personalization.
12. Skeleton gloves and cuff
Take your kandi cuffs to the next level by making skeleton gloves that cover the backs of your hands. This works great with UV beads for when the black lights come on.
13. Fingerless kandi gloves
Fingerless kandi gloves are for those times when you really want to make a statement with your kandi bracelets or cuffs. The combination of stretch cord with a herringbone weave results in a fingerless glove that’s comfortable and cool to wear.
14. Kandi and perler bead combos
Perler beads make great pendants that you can hang onto a kandi bracelet or cuff. The overall pony bead look is retained in the perler pendant and create a fun visual of your favorite character.
15. Actual kandi cuffs
Turn your kandi cuffs into actual handcuffs with this tutorial that shows you how to make both the cuffs and the chain. Don’t forget to make the chain long enough so you can easily move around the dance floor.
The sky truly is the limit when it comes to creating kandi bracelets. There are endless variations on the original single-strand bracelet that help you explore both 2-D and 3-D designs. The best part of all is the fact that the finished pieces can look complex but are very easy to learn and make. All you need is a few simple tools, a lot of beads, and a spool of elastic thread.
Making kandi bracelets is inexpensive and an accessible pastime that helps you make connections at raves and festivals. Once you start making your kandi bracelets, you won’t want to stop.