This entry gives instructions on how to make one hemp bracelet, approximately 19-25cm in length and containing seven beads. It will also hopefully give you the blueprint so you can start to make your own designs.
As it is a beginners' project, only instructions for the basic square knot are given. There are several different knots for you to try once you have mastered the basic knot, and these can be found in books, or on the Internet.
Making the Bracelet
You will need:
- Hemp cord or twine
- One length of cord approximately 0.9 metres long
- One length of cord approximately 4 metres long
- Various beads
- Four beads of the same colour, approximately 8mm in size
- Two more 8mm beads in a different colour
- One 10mm bead in a third colour
- A clipboard (optional)
Hemp Cord or Twine
In choosing between hemp cord or twine, bear in mind that cord is more tightly spun than twine, giving a much smoother finish in a completed bracelet. Twine is fine as well, but will have a few imperfections that you will have to deal with, which is really no bother when you are looking for a natural-looking piece of jewellery.
Both cord and twine should be available in your local craft shop. You should look for cord that is about 1mm in diameter. Ask for help in the craft shop if you are unsure of what to use. You can also pick up starter kits at shops to help you make your first bracelet or necklace.
Wooden, bone and stone beads look great for a natural look. They too can be found in craft shops, and a search on the Internet will often reveal places where you can buy beads online.
Glass, metal or plastic beads offer a more modern design. You will need beads with at least a 2mm hole running through them, so you can thread them easily on to the cord.
While this is not a requirement for making a bracelet, it does help to have something to secure your project while you are making it. Placing the knotted end of your bracelet under the clip on a clipboard fixes it firmly, lets the project lie flat, and allows you to move about.
As with all new ventures, a little practice goes a long way. The good thing about making a hemp bracelet is that if something does go wrong, all you need to do is undo the knots and start again.
How to Assemble Your Bracelet
This bracelet will be made using one type of knot (or two if you count the start/end overhand knot), called the square knot. It is the basic knot most often used in making hemp jewellery, and is often combined with other knots to great effect. It may seem hard at first to master it, but once you learn it becomes very easy, so don't panic.
Before you can learn to tie the knots, you must take both pieces of cord you cut earlier (0.9 metres and 4 metres) fold the two pieces in half, and place them together. Take the top of the folded cords and tie a simple overhand knot, leaving a loop at the end of the string that slides over your biggest bead (the 10mm one).
To tie an overhand knot, hold the two pieces of cord in one hand and let them dangle down, then take the top of the cord and fold it down and under the dangling cord to form a large loop. Fold the end around the dangling cord and put the end through the loop, pulling it tight and leaving a loop of cord as stated above.
Place the loop of hemp in the clip of your clipboard if you are using one, leaving the knot in view. You should have four threads of hemp in front of you, two short and two longer ones. The shorter ones need to be between the two longer ones, as they are not used to tie knots.
Pick up the left-hand side longer thread. Pass it under the two shorter threads and then over the right side longer thread, forming a small loop on the left side. Then take the right side thread (making sure it is under the thread from the left side), take it over the shorter threads in the middle, and push it through the loop on the left. Pull your knot tight. This completes half of your square knot, and is called a half knot.
To finish the square knot, you will need to make another half knot, this time starting on the right-hand side. Take the right had side thread, pass it under the two shorter threads in the middle and then over the left side thread. Pick up the left side thread, take it over the shorter threads in the middle and push it through the loop on the right. Pull tight and you have completed your first square knot. Well done!
Make a chain of these knots, making sure to pull each knot tight. Keep measuring your chain until you have reached about 6cm, including the loop at the end.
Now we are going to add the first bead. Choose one of the smaller beads, take up the ends of the two smaller threads and slide the bead up until it reaches the last knot that you tied. Try to get it as close to the last knot as possible. Go around the bead with the outside threads, and then tie a square knot as usual. You have now added your first bead.
Continue making your chain of square knots as before until your knotted chain plus end loop measures about 9cm. You can now add four beads, making sure the last remaining small bead unused is the same colour as the one you inserted at 6cm. The four beads you add should be of two different colours. They should be placed one at a time, and a half knot should be tied between each one. When the last one is placed, continue with your square knot chain following the pattern of the other side of the bracelet. You should be able to place the last small bead in the correct place by measuring or folding the bracelet.
When your bracelet has reached the length you wish it to be, slide the large bead up to the last square knot you tied, as before. Try to get it as close as possible. Go round the large bead with the long threads, and then take all threads and tie the in another overhand knot, not leaving a loop this time. Make sure the knot is pulled tight. You can then trim off any unwanted hemp cord, taking care to leave at least 1.5cm of cord to ensure that your knot doesn't unravel.
If all has gone well, you are now the proud owner of an original hemp bracelet. Congratulations!