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Friendship Pins

by Jeffrey A. Garoutte

If you were a girl during the 1980s, you probably were given friendship pins. . .and, more than likely, you created a multitude of your own and gave them away to all of your girlfriends as well.

Friendship pins have been a long-standing, easy craft item for decades and, even today, there are web sites dedicated to nothing but friendship pins and the patterns that the tiny beads can make by placing several of the safety pins together in a row. Kids make them. . .senior citizens make them. . .but in the early 80s, girls made them.


If you were a proud recipient of a coveted friendship pin, you proudly displayed it (along with every other friendship pin that you received) on your tennis shoes, attaching them to your shoe laces. Whether you wore leather hi-top Reeboks, kangaroos, jazz shoes or a worn out pair of Chuck Taylor’s, if you had friends, you had pins on your shoes.

We found this very helpful color code online (see below).  But, I'll admit that I was unaware that specific colors carried any particular meaning at the time.  The friendship pin was just fun to make and receive.  The colors had more to do with the personal taste of the maker than any overt message.

Universal Bead Color Code

White: gentle, pussycat
Red: strong, vigorous, sweetheart
Orange: calm, buddy
Yellow: intelligent, good friend

Green: envious, enemy
Turquoise: sensitive
Blue: happy, hugs and kisses
Black: sad

Because of the ease and low cost, this is a trend that is still going strong today.  They even still make their way into today's fashions.  Check out this super cool friendship pin watch on Charming Charlie.

Friendship pin watch from Charming Charlie

If you are planning an 80s party, how fun would it be to set up a pin making station with all the supplies for guests to make their own pins.  Rad!

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