How to Make a Hemp Necklace
Or bracelet, or cell-phone charm, or belt, or whatever else you feel like making from hemp cord. This guide explains the basic concepts behind creating hemp jewelry, and the knots used. Also known as macrame, making a hemp necklace consists of tying certain knots over and over again to create certain designs. Luckily, most hemp necklaces are based on one knot. This guide for beginners covers preparation, that knot, and finishing the necklace.
- Hemp jewelry twine. Knots use up an amazing amount of it, so count on buying a 10 yard packet per necklace you make.
- Tape can be useful, though isn't necessary.
Measuring and Prepping
The first task is estimating the length of the finished necklace. Measuring is always a better idea if that's an option, but 19" is a good size to try if you consider your neck "medium" sized. Larger necks might like 21".
Next comes some math. You need to cut one string which is your desired length times two plus 8 inches (2(final length) + 8). The next string is desired length times 11 (11(final length). 11 times the final length is huge, but for a necklace consisting mostly of knots, it'll be used up.
Fold both lengths in half and hold them together. Tie the four strands together with a simple overhand knot a couple inches from the loop. How far down to tie them depends on what method you will use to fasten the necklace, but tying them 3 inches down works fine for now.
Fasten the necklace to a surface so it won't be flopping around too much. You can tape it to a table, safety pin it to the knee of your jeans, or hook the loop around your big toe. I also secure the longer threads in some way, to make it easier to work with them. This can mean wrapping them around a spool, or tying or taping them into a little bundle.
The two short lengths of hemp go in the center, and are referred to as the base. They mostly just lie there, while knots are tied around them. One of the longer lengths should lay to the left of the base, and one to the right. I refer to one of the longer twine strings as the leader and one of them as the partner, though that's not a technical term. The leader does most of the movement in the knot, and the partner very little.
The same hemp knot is used to make a flat or spiral necklace. To form a flat necklace, the leader is always the same cord, though it switches back and forth from the left to the right sides. When working on a flat necklace, I usually mark the end of one string with a sharpie so I can easily find the leader even if I stand up and wander off. For a spiral necklace, the leader is always on the same side, and is a different string each time. When working on a spiral, I just always use the string on the left as the leader.
I remember the repetitive knot with a simple rhyme:
- Partner over base
- Leader over partner
- Leader under base
- Leader through the loop
Hemp Knot Steps by Picture
When finishing, make sure that you stop before you're completely out of base. For a simple ending, just cut any excess cord down and tie the extra cord at the ends of the necklace together. Of course, a solid knot means its on your neck for good, but they hold up to daily activities like showering pretty well.
And that's the basics of how to make a hemp necklace. Of course, to make an interesting necklace, it takes a little more than just a knot. Learn how to add beads to the necklace or add fancier tie offs with some of the other tutorials I have coming soon. I'll also put a few necklace designs online to try until you get comfortable creating your own, as well as some more interesting knots.