Knots are vital in jewelry making and beadwork. They are used to end a row, add a new row or begin the project. Most importantly, knots keep the beadwork from falling apart. Imagine a bracelet without knots? There is no way the beads would stay on the string!
There are several types of knots you can use. Some types work better with some projects or stitching or the type of thread you are using. A secure knot prevents the thread from unraveling and helps make your jewelry last longer.
In addition to holding the bracelet together, knots can also be used as part of the design.
So how do you tie a secure knot for a bracelet? Some of the most popular knots for making bracelets include the overhand knot, the square knot, the surgeon’s knot, the lark’s head, and the sliding knot. Take some time practicing these. It will make a huge difference in the quality and durability of the bracelet if you can tie a proper knot, no matter which style you choose.
Before starting any type of project, decide what thread or cord to use. Consider what will work best for the type of bracelet you are creating and the weight of the objects. Heavier objects will require a thicker thread to bear the weight.
How to Tie a Knot for a Bracelet – 5 Ways
So let’s get into the knots.
Here are the most popular knots used in jewelry making:
1. Overhand Knot
The overhand knot is typically used at the end of a thread to keep the beads from falling off. It is a common knot for beadwork and jewelry making. The knot is very simple and probably one you have used all of your life.
The overhand knot is also a popular choice for tying between beads for a decorative effect or to keep them from rubbing against each other. It is often doubled to create a loop.
To tie an overhand knot:
- Form a loop by laying one end of the rope over the rest of it to form a loop. Where the string touches is where the knot will be.
- Take the end of the rope and pass it through the loop.
- Pull the knot tight.
2. Square Knot
The square knot is equal on both sides. It is commonly used to add more thread in beadwork. This type is a good choice when working with netting or a right-angle weave. It holds tight and is easily hidden between beads or inside seed beads.
How to tie a secure square knot:
- Start with one end of the rope in each hand.
- Pass the end in your right hand over and under the end in your left hand.
- Now pass the end in your left hand over and under the end in your right hand.
- Pull both ends at the same time to tighten.
3. Surgeon’s Knot
A surgeon’s knot is very secure, but it is also one of the trickier knots to learn how to tie. It is a lot like a square knot with an extra loop through the bottom. This type is useful when you don’t want the knot to come undone. Other knots can sometimes untie, especially when working with elastic cord.
It is called a surgeon’s knot because this is the type doctors use to secure suture threads. However, it is also a very good choice for jewelry making and beadwork.
It’s similar to a square knot, but it has an extra pass-through for added security. This makes the elastic thread less likely to slip during the tying process as well as after the knot is complete.
A surgeon’s knotwork well with beading thread such as Nymo (nice variety of colors and great for bracelets and other projects) or FireLine (super strong and versatile). You can make it even more secure by applying a bit of clear glue or nail polish at the end.
How to tie a surgeon’s knot:
- Overlap the two ends.
- Make a loop and pass the thread through.
- Pass it through again.
- Tighten the knot by pulling both ends at the same time.
- Trim away the excess tags.
4. Lark’s Head Knot
A lark’s head knot is simple. You won’t need too much practice to master this one. It is often used to attach two threads in beadwork, jewelry making, and macrame. Half hitch knots are often added as a decorative touch.
This is a good knot for securing a pendant to a necklace or as a focal point on a bracelet because it is very attractive, as well as being super secure.
Typical uses for the lark’s head knot are simple pendant necklaces or interchangeable circle bead bracelets.
The two sides of the lark’s head knot look different, so decide which side you like best and have that side facing the front.
There are several benefits to using a lark’s head knot. For one, when you are starting a thread, both ends are even and are on the same side. This makes your creation more symmetrical. The knot is super secure and will never come undone or slip. Plus, it adds a nice decorative touch.
Most people think of the lark’s head knot as the beginning of a project, but it can also be tied in a row as a decorative addition or as the covering of metal. When making a bracelet, however, it is usually the beginning, where the bracelet starts. You don’t want to use it to tie off the end of the bracelet.
To make a lark’s head knot:
- Fold the cord in half and pass the loop end through the object. Don’t let the cord get twisted.
- Pull the ends of the cord through the loop.
- Tighten the lark’s head knot by pulling the ends until the loop is securely closed around the object.
5. Sliding Knot
A sliding knot is a super cool technique to add to your jewelry, but tying one can be a bit tricky. It works best with leather cording (perfect for a variety of bracelets) or satin string (great selection of colors).
If leather and satin are not currently part of your arsenal, you may want to consider adding them. They can provide a whole new look and feel to your creations and are fairly inexpensive.
Sliding knots are the easiest way to make your jewelry adjustable. This type of knot works best with slightly heavier cord such as leather or natural fiber. It’s great for bracelets and necklaces made with waxed cotton, hemp fibers or Chinese knotting cord.
Threads more than 1 mm in diameter are the best because anything smaller will be difficult to grasp and slide. But, keep in mind, you don’t want the thread to be too thick, either. A thread that is too thick will be less flexible and more difficult to tie.
The sliding knot is used by many crafters in all sorts of designs. It is also an easy way to add exotic or bohemian flair to your creations.
With this knot, you can showcase the cord as well as your design. It not only holds your beads or other objects securely in place, but also becomes an intricate part of the bracelet or necklace.
The cool, textured look of the sliding knot works perfectly for bulky, rustic designs as well as dainty, simplistic designs. It is this versatility that makes this such an important knot to learn how to tie.
How to tie a sliding knot:
- Cross the ends of cord so that the end of the cord in your left hand is in front of the end of cord in your right hand.
- Wrap the cord on the left around the one on the right.
- Wrap it around the right cord again, making one complete loop. Make sure you keep these loops relatively loose while wrapping.
- Wrap around the right cord again and again. You should now have three loops around the right cord.
- Take the tail end of the cord towards the first loop after completing the third wrap.
- Now pass this tail all the way through the three loops.
- Tighten the knot by gently pulling on the tail end.
- Repeat each of these steps on the other side of the cord to make another knot exactly like this one.
- Trim the ends of the cord to make them even, but make sure you leave enough of the cord for tightening or loosening the knots as needed.
These are some of the most common knots used in jewelry making. Once you master these, you will be able to make all sorts of cool bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry that won’t easily fall apart.
And the best part is that you don’t have to use just type of knot in your design. You can incorporate two or more different types for a truly unique creation!
I LOVE this video by PotomacBeads on YouTube because she not only describes and shows you the different types of knots, but she also explains which types of cord and string are best for each knot. Brilliant!