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Gift How-To: Distance Bracelets!

Hello all! This is Zee Sutermeister, the spring intern again! Today I’m here with a step-by-step guide for a super easy gift. This can be a great gift for Valentine’s Day (which is in two weeks!), a birthday, an anniversary, or just because. While it works particularly well with someone who is far away from you, this gift can be given to anyone who is special to you! This gift costs less than $20 and takes less than 30 minutes to make. The sentimental value is the important part!

Gift How To: Distance Bracelets | Smudge Ink

I'll show you how to make a set of 2 bracelets called Distance Bracelets. It is a clever and cute way for you to stay connected with someone all the time. The way it works is there are two bracelets made of different types of beads, and each bracelet has a bead from the partnering bracelet on it! This means that no matter where you go, you will always have a piece of the other person’s bracelet on yours, and can carry a piece of them around with you all the time.

I have one that I made with my two brothers which has two different beads on it for each of their bracelets, while they each have one of my beads on their bracelets. We live in three different states and this is a way for me to think of them every day when I glance down at my wrist and helps me feel like I can still be close to them although they are far away, knowing they have a bracelet with a piece of me on it as well.

The best thing about these bracelets is that you can make them for anyone! The bracelets are durable; I have been wearing mine day and night for almost a full year now, and I constantly get compliments. Below is a picture of the Distance Bracelets my brothers and I made together.

Gift How To: Distance Bracelets 2 | Smudge Ink

Now, let’s get started!


  1. Two different types or styles of beads
    I used 10mm beads from Michaels, though it would work just as well with any size bead. The beads at Michaels are usually on sale and they have a large selection of color and texture. It took about 18 beads to make my small bracelet, it would take a few more for a larger wrist size.
  2. “Stretch Magic” Bead and Jewelry Cord
    I prefer to use a thicker cord as it feels more durable and holds all the beads in place without threatening to break. The 1.8 mm diameter is a good size for a project like this. At a place like Michaels, it only costs about $3 and you will likely be able to use it for a few projects.
  3. Scissors

Gift How To: Distance Bracelets 3 | Smudge InkDIRECTIONS

  1. Determine which color beads will be assigned to each person.
    This is important if your wrist is not the same size as the other person’s wrist. You'll want the color bracelet going and size of each bracelet to match!
  2. Measure your elastic.
    Ideally, you will be able to measure each person’s wrist, if not, you can measure your own wrist with the elastic cord and then adjust the length to be larger or smaller for the other person’s bracelet compared to your own. A standard size for a woman’s wrist is usually around 6-8 inches, and for a man, it will be closer to 8-9 inches. I also recommend adding another 6-8 inches to the total length of the bracelet so you'll have plenty of room to tie off the bracelet when you finish.
    Gift How To: Distance Bracelets 4 | Smudge Ink
  3. String the beads onto the elastic.
    This step seems simple, but it takes some checking and measuring to make it works correctly. One at a time, add about half of the beads you’ll be using, then add the different color. Finish with the remaining half of the beads. I chose to add a second bead of the other color so you could see it on either side of the wrist, but this is totally optional! Before you tie the bracelet off, see how it fits on your wrist! If it will be too tight, add another bead or two. If it is too loose, take some away.
    Gift How To: Distance Bracelets 5 | Smudge Ink
  4. Tie off the bracelet. 
    I like to tie the bracelet directly onto my own wrist so that I know the size is accurate. If this is too difficult, then just tie it as close to the beads as possible. The recommended way to tie this kind of elastic is called a surgeon’s knot. It is essentially a square knot but with an extra loop. See below for a visual guide on how to tie this kind of knot. You may have to do it several times in order to get the knot tight enough to stay.
    Gift How To: Distance Bracelets 6 | Smudge InkGift How To: Distance Bracelets 7 | Smudge Ink
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the second bracelet
  6. Gift your bracelet! 
    I recommend pairing it with a card from Smudge Ink and putting it in a small box with some candy! Add some ribbon and a note explaining the context of the bracelets so the receiver knows how important they are to you!

Gift How To: Distance Bracelets 8 | Smudge Ink

I would really, really love to see your beautiful creations! Share photos of your DIY gift on Instagram and tag @SmudgeInkBoston so we can ooh and ahh! :) 


Pictured: Biscotti and Latte Anniversary Card