DIY Pura Vida-Inspired Bracelets | How To Make Wax String Friendship Bracelets

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I remember when I first found out about Pura Vida bracelets — I had seen Lauren Conrad mention them as good gifts on her blog. The bracelets are  so cute and colorful, but were kind of expensive to me at the time. I bought one of the Style Packs on eBay at a big discount and I really loved them. Since then I have bought a few more, but it wasn’t until recently that I thought about making my own!

I’ve made a few of these bracelets now and they are so easy and fun. I think making these would be a fun activity for a sleepover party, or to make as a group to show school spirit, or just as a fun stocking stuffer.

Here’s everything you will need to make your own Pura Vida-inspired bracelets:

wax string (it’s important that you get this type of string for the bracelets to melt; not burn)



★ fire (a candle or lighter)

charms (optional)

Basic Original-Style Bracelet

Select the colors you want for your bracelet

There are three “segments” to each bracelet — the main multi-string part, the drawstring tails, and the little sliding knot that connects the tails together. You can choose whatever colors you want for each section and just customize it for you. I bought a few different colors of the wax string which I think is perfect to make multiple color combinations for a lot of different bracelets. You need the special wax string for these kinds of bracelets to secure the knots.

Cut the string to the appropriate length

Main Multi-String Segment (Main)

Cut nine (9) 6-inch strands of the wax string in whatever colors you chose. These strings will be the main “base” of the bracelet.

Drawstring Tails Segment

Cut two (2) 8-inch strands of the wax string in whatever colors you choose. These are the tails of the bracelet that you can pull to adjust the size of the bracelet.

Sliding Knot Closure

Cut one (1) 4-inch strand of the wax string in whatever color you choose. This is the tiny knot closure that holds the two drawstrings together and allows you to adjust the size of the bracelet.

Secure the Main Multi-String Segment

Fold one of your drawstring tails in half, so that you create a little loop in the middle. Hold all of your nine Main pieces together so they are all even. Place the loop from the drawstring tail around the end of the Main. Tie a knot around the Main, leaving about 1/4″ out at the end. Tie a second knot around the back of the Main to secure it. Light the ends of the Main with your lighter/candle to melt the string down until just before it reaches the knot.

Note: Be careful not to melt the knot because it will break and your bracelet won’t be secure.

Secure the Drawstring Tail

Gently twist one of the halves of the drawstring tail in the direction it’s naturally going. Repeat with the second half. Hold both twisted strands taught together and release the Main segment so that both drawstring halves will twist together and form one stronger tail. Tie a knot at the end of the drawstring tail, leaving about 1/4″ out at the end. Light the ends of the drawstring tail  with your lighter/candle to melt the string down, but not melting the knot.

Repeat this process of securing the drawstring tail on the other side of the Main using the second drawstring tail that we cut in the beginning. If you have a charm that you want to add, you can slide it onto one of the drawstring halves before you twist it to form the stronger tail. Personally, I love the no-charm look, but you can customize these however you want!

Add the Sliding Knot Closure

Place your bracelet on a flat surface and position the two drawstring tails so they overlap each other. Tie a knot around both drawstring tails using the sliding knot closure string. Tie 4-5 square knots around both drawstrings to create the sliding knot closure.

Note: Knots can be tricky, so I am putting a step-by-step example at the end of this post for how to tie a square knot.

Light the ends of the sliding knot closure with the lighter/candle until just before the actual sliding knot to lock everything in place.

Note: Because the sliding knot is so small and it’s so close to the other strings, be extra careful to melt only the little tail to seal the knot. On one of the braided bracelets I made, I got too close to the fire when trying to seal the sliding knot and it burned through one of my drawstring threads. It’s such a bummer to basically finish a bracelet and then mess up. Just make sure you go slowly/gently when bringing the wax thread near the fire.

This bracelet is so easy to make and they look so simple and cute. I love a dainty pop of color from just wearing one, or even wearing multiples for a more fun look.

Braided-Style Bracelets

Making braided style bracelets is very similar to making the basic/original kind; the measurements are all the same. However, instead of leaving the Main segment “loose”, you will braid them together. If you want a thicker braid, use nine (9) Main segment strings, using three strands for each part of the braid. If you want a mini braid, use only six (6) Main segment strings, and braid them together with only two strings for each segment of the braid.

These are also super easy to make and it’s nice to have different styles to give the look a little variety. I like wearing a basic bracelet with a braided one and I think they look really cute together. Also, because these bracelets are made with the wax string, they are waterproof.

Here are a bunch of the ones that I made and I have a lot of string left. Literally, this is so easy and I really enjoyed making them. Of course, I still love Pura Vida and they have a lot more variety if you like these kinds of bracelets, but I plan on continuing to make my own since it’s so easy.

I love my cute bracelets! If you liked this post, share it on Pinterest

How To Tie a Square Knot Tutorial

To better show you how to tie this sliding square knot, I used different colors so you can easily follow the steps. When you make your bracelet, the green string is going to be your two drawstring tails together. The sliding knot closure string is represented by the blue and purple strings — I just tied these two colors together for demonstration purposes so you can easily follow how to make the knot– but your string will be the one color that you choose.

  1. Tie a regular over hand knot around your bracelet (green string).
  2. Take the tail of your sliding knot closure (blue string) and cross it over/on top of the green at about a 90 degree angle, creating a loop.
  3. Take the other tail of your sliding knot closure (purple string) and bring it over the blue, under the green, and up through the loop you created with the blue.
  4. Pull both ends of the drawstring tails (blue and purple) until the knot is tied. Note that the blue end of the string is now on the left side.
  5. Repeat this process again, using the blue string to create a 90 degree angle over the green string as before.
  6. Again, bring the purple over the blue, under the green, and up through the 90 degree loop we made with the blue. Pull ends to tighten.
  7. Repeat as many times as needed to secure your bracelet.