So Make the Friendship Bracelets . . . and Other Bead Crafts!

It’s been the summer of concerts, and if you were lucky enough to snag tickets to a Taylor Swift show, you may have seen or even participated in the sweet trend of making and trading friendship bracelets. We love bringing a pop culture reference to the Club schedule, so today we are channeling that Swiftie energy to explore crafts using beads- including projects that are NOT bracelets- that would make for fun activities.

Happy Taylor Swift GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Find & Share on GIPHY

We’ll start with the classic! Messages on the bracelets is a big part of the trend, and I love the intention here around positive messages.

In true STEAM fashion, integrate coding into your crafting with these binary bead bracelets!

Making paper beads to use for bracelets is a fun way to extend the activity and increase the complexity.

This graphic shows how to make more complex styles and would be perfect for older youth and teens.

Another variation for tweens and teens is to use plastic bags!

Bracelets aren’t the only crafts to make with beads. These lizards using pony beads are really fun, plus you can create a whole range of animals in this style.

Perler beads are a Club classic. These backpack tags would be a fun back to school activity. Just be careful with the heat!

And there are so many great ideas in this list, I couldn’t choose just one! Consider giving youth broad choice as to what they want to create during a perler bead session.

Seed beads are also popular, but can be difficult for smaller hands to use. Moving away from jewelry altogether, I love this idea of using beads to make pictures.

The focus here is less the beading and more the stitching, but that makes it a great introductory sewing activity if that’s something your youth are interested in.

And here’s another more advanced jewelry project for teens.

Taylor Swift GIF by 2022 MTV Video Music Awards - Find & Share on GIPHY

What are your favorite crafts to create in the Club? How do you incorporate pop culture trends into programming? We want to share your best ideas! Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email

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