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Make DIY Nautical Knot Bracelets

Aug 22, 2016

by Clare McGibbon handmade and vintage goods

Bring a little seafaring flair to your style with these bright, bold bracelets. Inspired by Simone’s sailor’s knot bracelet tutorial, I decided to reimagine this nautical classic. The project itself is very approachable, so even if you’re not an experienced knotter, you’ll be able to cruise through these steps.

You will need:
Cotton, paracord or maritime cord
Measuring tape
Light-colored masking tape
E-600 glue or hot glue gun
Large spring clasp
Embroidery floss
Large needle

Paint brush and acrylic paint
Rhinestone chain
Iron-on studs
Large jump rings 

Step 1: Measure and Cut

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 1/2 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: Create Your 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: The Perfect Fit

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.


Shop jewelry supplies on Etsy Studio

2 Featured Comments

  • minouette

    Ele from minouette said 7 years ago Featured

    Cute! As a fringe benefit of being a scientist who does fieldwork at sea, I have a collection of decorative knot items (bracelets, trivets, things sailors can make in their spare time). Great to sea a tutorial for a fun simple rope bracelet.

  • eye4imagine

    Andrea Hunter from PersonallyPackaged said 7 years ago Featured

    My daughter and I made these when camping, out of clothesline and tarp rope. So fun! Here's how they turned out... Thanks so much for sharing!


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