DIY Binary Bracelets – Carry Your Secret Message Everywhere

So, it’s getting near Christmas time now and you’re wondering what to get your nerdy boyfriend. On the one hand, you want to give him something super mooshy and be all matchy-matchy but on the other hand, is he really going to wear something super garish like this?

Her one his only
The answer is no, but if he would, then congrats, he really does love you!

Never fear, for I have the ultimate solution! Binary bracelets! Beaded bracelets are much more subtle, plus, you can encode a secret message in binary on the bracelet! Juan and I are massively into code breaking so he loved trying to figure out my hidden message.

ppap Binary Bracelets
Yeah, I know it doesn’t even rhyme but DAMN I love PPAP!

So, a quick google search showed that I was not (contrary to my own belief) an absolute genius nor the first to come up with the idea of binary bracelets. In fact, it seems they are teaching primary school children to make binary bracelets these days. There’s a lot of tutorials on how to make binary bracelets out there in the world wide web (wow, haven’t heard that one in a while, almost forgot what the www. stood for!) but I bet none of those tutorials will have a PPAP meme about binary bracelets.

Anyway, I digress, we’re here for some DIY-ing so let’s get down to business!

Let's get down to business
I will never be able to read that sentence and NOT burst into song.

1. Acquisition of materials

You can’t make a bracelet out of air. I bought a pack of 400 wooden beads in black, white, and brown from eBay. You can use whatever style of beads you want but I’d noticed Juan really liked this other wooden bead bracelet that he had so I thought these were a good fit for him.

I also found this awesome bracelet pack in Wilko which included elastic thread, jump rings, and lobster clasps!

Beads (Binary Bracelets)
400 beads may sound excessive but that’s only enough to make about 3 – 4 binary bracelets! You’ll use a lot of beads because each byte of data will use 8 beads.

2. Translate your message to binary

As I am only at an intermediate level of nerd, I am not fluent in binary so I translated my message using Bear in mind that each character will use 8 beads so unless you want a super long bracelet, keep your message short! I drafted lots of different messages for my initial bracelet for Juan, but in the end, I picked Chinese because it used the least amount of beads. (Binary Bracelets)
Did I mention, Juan knows Chinese!

3. Thready, set, go!

Har har, lame pun. I tied the elastic cord to the jump ring with a double knot and then started threading the beads onto the string with the corresponding colours. Colours I used: white for 0, brown for 1, and black for a space.

More beads (Binary Bracelets)
I beaded this whilst watching Mr Robot. Relevant.

Once you finish beading your binary patterns, tie a double knot on to the lobster clasp as well. Dab a bit of glue on the knots to keep them secure and cut off any bits of elastic sticking out. I also pulled the bead up a little so that the knots nest inside the bead so aren’t visible.

4. Present your gift

Watch your partner’s face light up in glee when s/he figures out the hidden message.

I intended to give this bracelet as a Christmas present but when Juan gave me a surprise visit, I couldn’t wait to show him my gift! He actually went FULL dramatic and instead of just typing it into a binary translator like a normal human being, he decided to download a whole bunch of programmes to figure it out. It took him like, half an hour 😂!

Note: I found that the 3-character Chinese messages were too long for wrapping the bracelet around the wrist 3 times, but doesn’t quite sit comfortably on the wrist when wrapped 4 times so that’s something to consider for your own message.

With his binary bracelet
Rocking his binary bracelet!

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Juan broke his bracelet on the same day I gave it to him so we decided to make each other bracelets with different secret messages that we could decode when we were apart again. Juan’s message was much more complex than mine. It was a google-shortened link to Github, where he’d used ASCII art for my message! Waaay cooler than just a simple binary message. There are no limits to what you can write!

Also, he’d updated the message… as a surprise, he reserved this domain name for me as I was really excited about starting up a blog! And, well, now we’re here 😀.

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