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Most people associate nautical styles with careless summer style, but I believe you can add a nautical flair any time of year. Just think of all the Down East fishermen hauling in winter lobster or Alaskan crab fishermen working through storms! In the spirit of nautical adventure, this week’s homemade gift idea tutorial is for a simple, but attractive, nautical rope bracelet. You can make just one, or you can create an entire stacking set!
Materials for an easy nautical rope bracelet
- Enough soft cotton, hemp, jute, or other twisted cord to go around your wrist 4-5 times, or 2-3 feet of cord. I like to use 6mm cord with a twist to look like rope.
- Clear-drying glue. Original Tacky Glue is always my go-to favorite!
- A pen, pencil, piece of chalk, or other marking device
- Embroidery floss
- A needle
Easy nautical rope bracelet tutorial
This project is far more difficult to explain than it is to accomplish! Even so, it may take you a couple of tries to get the figure 8 knot in the middle of the bracelet, but don’t give up! I recommend looking at the step by step photos instead of stressing too much about the words – the process is quite simple, but hard to describe.
1. If you haven’t already, measure out and cut your cord. I like to wrap it around my wrist four to five times to find the correct length. Remember you can always cut extra off, but you can’t add missing length back on.
2. Middle the cord. In other words, fold it in half so both cut ends lie next to each other.
3. Tie a figure 8 knot as close to the middle of your folded cord length as possible. To to this:
- Hold the folded end in one hand and bring it across the main body of the cord.
- Next, pass the folded end behind the main cord, making sure you’re crossing behind the cord ‘above’ (or closer to the cut ends) the pass over you just made.
- Bring the folded end up and through the loop formed ‘below,’ as shown.
- Adjust the knot, as needed, and tighten it down until you like the way it looks.
4. Hold the knotted cord against your wrist to see how much ‘extra’ cord you have and take a mental or physical note of where you need to tie the knot to close the bracelet. Remember that the bracelet can be loose – it doesn’t need to be fitted.
5. After you know where the closing knot needs to be, tie a regular overhand knot with the cut ends. Make sure you treat both ends as one when tying the knot – do not tie the two ends to each other.
6. Before cutting away extra cord, try the bracelet on for size by putting it around your wrist and pulling the overhand knot from front to back through the loop formed by doubling the cord over.
7. Adjust the overhand knot, as necessary.
8. When you’re satisfied with the closing overhand knot, trim away excess cording, but leave at least 3/4″ of cord, if possible. This helps prevent the knot from becoming accidentally undone.
9. Saturate the cut cord ends white glue, making sure to twist it back into shape if it has become frayed. Allow the ends to dry and make sure they don’t stick to each other or to your work table! I like to hang the ends off the edge of my desk or table to prevent sticking.
10. After the cord ends are dry, close up the bracelet again by inserting the knot through the back of the loop on the opposite side. Hold the two pieces of cord together to form a closed loop and experiment to find where the cords must be pinched to create a loop big enough for the knot, but not so large the overhand knot simply falls out. Mark this place with a pen, pencil, or chalk.
11. Cut about two feet of embroidery floss.
12. Make about a 1″ tail and hold it alongside the bracelet cord, as shown.
13. Holding the tail ‘down,’ along the cord towards the figure 8 knot, begin wrapping the floss around the bracelet and floss tail. Make sure to create snug wraps, but do not pull the floss until it is overly tight.
14. Continue wrapping the bracelet until you have about 5 inches of floss left, or until you’re satisfied with the wrap’s length. I like to create a wrapped section that is almost an inch long, but you can make it slightly shorter or longer.
15. Thread the needle with the loose end of the floss. Bring the floss between the two pieces of cord and carefully insert the needle between the wrapped cords. Pull the needle out of the wrap’s other end and pull the floss through until it is snug.
16. Bring the floss back up the wrap’s outside and insert it down through the center again.
17. Bring the floss up the opposite side and and then down through the center one final time.
18. At this point, the floss should be between the two pieces of cord on the loop end of the bracelet. Use the needle to tie a knot the floss to one of the exterior stitches down the wrap’s outside. Just make a couple of small overhand knots on the thread near where it comes out of the wrap.
19. Trim any extra floss, leaving a small tail, and treat the knot with white glue to prevent fraying. As soon as the glue’s dry, you’re finished!
This bracelet is far, far easier than the number of steps would lead you to believe! After you practice the figure 8 knot a time or two, you’ll be amazed by how quickly you can make one of these.
These bracelets are really easy to personalize – just use someone’s favorite color of floss or add beads. Large, charm bracelet-style beads usually fit over cord, which means you can add personalized charms, favorite colors, birthstone beads, or anything else you’d like.
More nautical & beachy tutorials
If you love beachy crafts, you’ve come to the right place! Here are just a few of the most popular nautical/beachy tutorials on The Artisan Life: