Knot bracelets can be a fun (and affordable) way to show off your personality and style—and you can easily make one yourself with just a little bit of rope and an hour or two of free time. Whether you go for bright, bold colors, understated neutrals, or a little bit of bling, you can bring some seafaring flair to your summer look by making one of these lightweight and nautical-inspired sailor knot bracelets.
As a longtime fan of another DIY bracelet tutorial in the Etsy blog archives, I was excited to reimagine this classic accessory in paracord designs that feel fresh for right now—and even more excited to discover that making a knot bracelet is a lot less complicated than it looks. Even if you have no experience with tying nautical knots, you should still be able to cruise through these simple steps.
How to make a knot bracelet:
Step 1: How to measure and cut your rope
First, make a measuring cord. This will help you create a bracelet that fits perfectly. Wrap the measuring tape around the bony part of your wrist, making sure the fit is snug but not tight. For a tighter fit, round the measurement to the nearest ½ inch. For a looser fit, add an extra inch to your measurement. Cut your cord to this measurement.
Next, set your clasp next to the piece of cut cord, and trim away the total length of the clasp. This will be your measuring cord; set it aside.
Step 2: How to tie a sailor’s knot
Next, cut 2 pieces of cord measuring at least 22 inches long. Fold one piece of cord in half, and tape the cut ends together using the masking tape. Repeat with the other piece of cord.
To create a carrick knot, take one of your long, taped pieces of cord and make a loop with the masking taped end on the underside, pointing upwards. We’ll call the taped end of this loop “a” and the other end of the loop “b.”
Take the second piece of looped, taped cord and place it on top of the loop you created. The end with the tape facing upwards will be end “A.” The looped end that faces downwards will be end “B.”
Wrap “A” under “a,” and over “b” of the previous loop you created.
Next, wrap end “A” under the loop created with your other piece of cord, over end “B,” and back under the loop (photographed above).
Pull on all four ends of your knot to tighten it. If it looks wonky, use your fingers to even out the cord and flatten your knot.
Step 3: How to make sure your bracelet fits perfectly
To finish your bracelet, you need to bring the ends of the cord together. You’ll want the taped cord ends to be shorter and the looped ends to be longer. Cut both of the taped ends (“a” and “A”) to be approximately 1 to 1 ½ inches in length.
Place the measuring cord you made in Step 1 next to your bracelet as a guide, so that the knot aligns with the center of the cord. Take one of the looped ends and fold it back over itself so that it lines up with the end of your measuring cord. Take the taped end of the bracelet and place it over the folded side. Mark a line where the cords meet.
Unfold the longer, marked cord and apply a thin layer of tape over the marking. Trim at the line and repeat on the other side.
To add your hardware, choose the side you want to have the clasp. Slide the clasp onto the end of the longer piece of cord. Fold that piece back to meet the shorter piece of cord.
Dab glue where the ends meet, holding them down until the bond is made. Cover with masking tape. Repeat this step on the other side, without the clasp to make a loop of cord that the clasp will catch to close the bracelet. If you’d like a larger fit, you can add a jump ring to this side before you glue the cord.
To finish the bracelet, cover the masking tape with wrapped embroidery floss. You’ll want to secure the floss with a square knot, hold the tail end against the masking tape and wrap tightly until the tape is covered.
Tie off the floss with a knot, then use a needle to hide the tail under the wrapped section. Trim. Repeat these steps on the other side of your bracelet.
If you want to take things a step further, you can add embellishments like studs, paint, or rhinestone chain. Get creative!
And there you have it. Your bracelet is all set for a trip to the beach!
All photographs by Romain Laurent.