The Two Basic Knots
Most hemp jewelry is made up of two basic knots, which are illustrated below. These knots are
basically the reverse of each other. If you just repeat one knot over and over again, you will
get a spiral pattern that looks like a double-helix. If you alternate one knot and then the
other, you will get a flat pattern:
But first, we need to figure out how much hemp to cut.
You will need 4 lengths of hemp. Two will form the base (black), and should
be a little longer than the finished piece will be. The other two (blue and
red) will be used to make the knots and need to be at least 5 or 6 times
longer than the finished piece. The length can vary depending on any beads
you may add - if you use a lot of large beads you will need less hemp
because you will be making fewer knots.
Tip: If you want a loop at one end of the piece (so you can use a button or
knot clasp), use only two pieces. Make them twice as long, fold them over,
and tie a loop.
Fold the right strand (red) over the base strands (black)
and under the left strand (blue). Bring the left strand
(blue) under the base strands (black) and then up and
over the right strand (red). Tighten the knot.
Then fold the left strand (red) over the base strands and
under the right strand (blue). Bring the right strand
(blue) under the base strands and then up and over the
left strand (red). Tighten the second knot.
And that's it! These two knots form the basic structure of most hemp jewelry.
Adding beads to your hemp necklace is easy. Just thread it on both base
strands (black) and make a knot around it. If the bead's hole is too small to
be threaded onto the hemp, it can be attached using bead thread (sew it
on) or wire (make a loop of wire and thread that onto the base strands like
you would a bead - tighten to secure).
Here's an example of a necklace made with a flat weave (alternating the two knots),
interspersed with crow beads.
A flat-braid necklace with wooden rainbow beads:
A Simple Wrapping Knot
For variation, try making an anklet with this knot. This is the easiest hemp
knotting method. This is the same wrapping technique that is used to make
hair wraps. Just tie embroidery floss at the base of a lock of hair and start
wrapping it around the hair and extra floss. If you start with different colors
you can make stripes as you work your way down by switching which strand
you tie with.
Step 1 - Cut Strands
The single spiral pattern is made using only two strands. This style takes a long lenth of twine
so start out with a lot and experiment.
Steps 2 - The Half-Hitch
The basic knot is called a half-hitch.
Step 3 - Repeat
Repeat the half-hitch knot until the piece is the desired lenth. It will form a spiral.
Just slip the beads on the base strand (the black in the drawing), and knot around it.
Here's a picture of a bracelet made with this technique. The beads are
hematite-colored pony beads.
Finishing Hemp Jewelry
There are several ways to finish off your hemp jewelry:
Tie Ends Allow enough hemp to twist or braid the ends and then tie
them together. This is the easiest and simplest way to finish.
Bead/Button/Knot clasp This requires some forethought. When you
start your piece, instead of cutting 4 strands, cut 2 twice as long, fold
them over in half, and tie a loop which will be one end. When you finish,
put a large bead, button, or knot at the other end. When you stick the
bead through the loop, it will catch and hold.
Slider-Knots If you don't want to use any metal or other objects in your piece, but you want
to be able to adjust the length, you can end the necklaces using hemp slider-style knots.
These are the type where there are two knots that tie over both strands and that slide apart to
shorten the necklace here is an animated tutorial on another site. They are also covered in this
book: Hemp Masters: Ancient Hippie Secrets (Amazon link - full review on
Metal Clasp You can use a regular clasp if you finish the ends of your
hemp piece with metal or wire cord tips. These go over the ends of cord,
leather thong, or in this case, hemp. There are two types, one has metal
flaps that bend over the cord and the other has a coil, the bottom of
which you crimp around your cord.
How to Make an Overhand Knot
The OH is the most commonly used knot on the planet. You probably use it
everyday without knowing it.
Step by Step
Step 1: Take your cord and make a loop as in Fig. 1. (The red end is the
Step 2: Take the end of the cord and slide it under the loop, and through the
hole of the loop to make a pretzel shape as in Fig. 2
Step 3: Pull tight, and you're done!
The Half Knot
The half knot (HK) is one of two basic macrame knots most commonly
associated with hemp jewelry. Learn it well! You'll need it to make almost
every hemp or macrame pattern there is.
There are 2 types of HK's- the LHK, and the RHK. They are both exactly
the same, except the LHK starts with a left knotter, and the RHK starts with
These instructions show you how to make a Left HK (LHK).
1. Start with four strands (or two lengths folded in half to make four strands) of
cording or twine. Strand no. 1 and no. 4 are your working strands, also called
"knotters", and strands 2 and 3 are your filler cords. (Fig.1)
2. Take the left knotter (strand no. 1 in the diagrams), and bring it over the fillers
and the right knotter (strands 2,3, and 4) (Fig. 2)
3. Take the right knotter (strand no. 4) , bring it over the left knotter (strand no. 1),
under the filler cords (2 and 3), and pass the end of strand no. 4 through the loop
made by strand no.1 (Fig. 3)
4. Hold strand 1 in your right hand, and strand 4 in your left hand. At the same
time, use your thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand to hold the filler cords
still. Gently but firmly pull strand 1 and strand 4 tight will still holding the filler
cords still. You're done!
How to Make a Square Knot
The square knot (SK) is everywhere in hemp jewelry so this is a definite
Step by Step
An SK is simply 2 HK's: LHK, and a RHK. Unless specified, it doesn't matter
which one you begin with - the important thing is that they alternate. I'm
left-handed, so I always start with a LHK, but you can start with whichever
you are most comfortable.
1. Make an HK. In the diagram below (Fig. 4), I started with a LHK.
2. Take the right knotter (strand #1), and bring it across the two fillers and the left
knotter (strands 2, 3, and 4) as shown below, making sure to form a loop at the
right. (Fig. 4)
3. Bring the left knotter (strand 4) over strand 1, under the filler cords (the blue
ones), and up through the loop made by strand 1. (Fig. 5)
4. Tighten and you're done
This information was taken from the following sites:
Hemp and big beads were made for each other.
Imagine making this hemp necklace with your favorite big bead.
Simplicity is the best way to show off a great focal bead and this design does
a smash up job
This necklace is really easy to make and works up quickly. You just might
want to make a matching bracelet
Hemp twine, 20 lb. test (~1mm
1 focal bead, 2 complementary
beads, 1 closure bead with large holes (large enough for two strands of twine to
pass through at the same time)
Step 1 : Cut two 10 foot lengths of twine.
Step 2: Fold the cords in half. Make an OH to form a 2 strand loop just big enough for your
closure bead to pass through. You should now have a bead-sized loop, a neat, tight knot, and
4 strands of twine.
Step 3 : Make HK's until your piece measures about 7" long.
Step 4 : Thread a ceramic bead onto your filler cords.
Step 5 : Make 2 SK's, then thread your focal bead onto your fillers.
Step 6 : Thread a ceramic bead onto your filler cords.
Step 7 : Make HK's until your necklace is about 16" long. Check the length around your neck
and add or undo SK's until you like the way it hangs.
Step 8 : Thread your closure bead onto your fillers. This bead will slide through the loop
Step 9 : Make a tight overhand knot at the base of the last bead, using all four strands of
twine. Cut off the excess twine and dab some glue onto the knot for safety. Let it dry and
you're done. Enjoy your gorgeous new necklace!