Here’s a useful guide for the most popular knots for jewelry making that you need to know.
Knots are very important in jewelry making as they can literally prevent your jewelry from falling apart. The type of jewelry knot used depends on the type of jewelry you’re making, the size of the thread or cord, etc.
In beadwork, knots are used to end and add new pieces of beading thread. When stringing beads, use knots to fasten cord ends, prevent beads from falling off the cord or add knots in between beads to hold them in place. Some types of jewelry e.g. macramé, are made mainly of knots. Knots are not only functional, but can also be decorative — think of macramé once again.
Before you begin tying knots for jewelry, there are a few things you should do first:
- Determine the type of stringing material that will best suit your particular project needs. Some cords work better than others for certain techniques.
- Consider the strength of the cord when working with heavier beads or stones.
- Gather all the materials you need so you have everything to hand e.g. glue, scissors, tape etc.
- Make sure you have enough cord to complete your design. There’s nothing worse that running out of stringing material in the middle of a project.
Now, let’s explore some of the most popular knots for jewelry making. Take time to practice them. Knowing how to tie knots properly can improve the quality of your finished pieces and ensure they last a long time.
A List of Common Knots for Jewelry
1. Overhand Knot
The Overhand knot is probably the most common, and simplest, knot known to man. If you know how to tie your shoes, then you’re probably already familiar with this one. It’s synonymous with the word “knot” as this is usually what comes to mind when you hear the word.
This is a simple loop in the cord that’s tightened by pulling the ends in opposite directions. Add a small dab of jewelry glue to secure these knots even more.
There are many instances where you would use this type of knot for jewelry making:
- Use the overhand knot for bead stringing or pearl knotting to secure the beads in place. This minimizes damage to the beads. Try to get as close to the bead as possible.
- Tie knots at the end of cord to prevent the cord from fraying or to stop beads from sliding off the ends.
- Attach a cord to a clamshell beading tip.
- Tie an overhand knot in a doubled piece of cord to create a loop that will form part of a clasp.
- Use this knot simply for decoration.
2. Lark’s Head Knot
The Lark’s Head knot may be even easier to tie than the overhand knot. It’s frequently used to:
- Attach pendants or clasps to jewelry
- Attach cord in macramé or other types of jewelry
The Lark’s Head knot is pretty, quite secure and provides the opportunity to create a simple piece with a focal point such as a stunning pendant you want to really stand out.
3. Square Knot
Square knots are used in braided jewelry and to attach new pieces of cord. When making square knot jewelry, you can opt to add beads in between the knots e.g. shamballa bracelets or just stick to knots alone for a simplistic feel.
You can also use multiple strands for a bolder finish. Each square knot is created by wrapping the outer strands in a loop around the core pieces. Alternating the square knot from side to side will produce a flat finish. To create a spiral design, simply tie the knot on one side only. To make these knots, you will need to secure the ends of your cord using a clipboard or tape them to a hard flat surface. Doing this keeps the cord from moving around while you complete your piece.
This technique works well with a variety of stringing materials such as hemp, leather, satin and more.
4. Sliding Knot
The sliding knot is the perfect way to make a bracelet or necklace adjustable. No clasp is required so if you have metal allergies, this is an easy way to secure your jewelry.
To make this type of jewelry knot, you’ll need to create two tunnels of loops in your stringing material. These tunnels slide smoothly along the cord allowing the wearer to resize the piece in seconds. Use with thicker stringing materials e.g. satin cord, leather, etc.
5. Surgeon’s Knot
The Surgeon’s knot is strong and useful for elastic cords or other slippery stringing material. It’s similar to the Square knot but the extra twists within it make it durable and prevents it from slipping. Unlike the Square knot, this is a practical knot for jewelry and is not at all decorative.
6. Pretzel Knot
The Pretzel knot, also known as the Josephine knot, got its name because it resembles a pretzel. It’s very pretty and is commonly used as a focal point in macramé. You can enhance this type of knot even more by using cords in different colours.
To create this knot, you’ll need to fasten your stringing material to a clipboard or another hard surface. Then, twist the cord into conjoined loops. Here’s a video showing you exactly how to create the Pretzel knot.
7. Half-Hitch Knot
The half-hitch knot is one of the most commonly used beading knots. It’s used for both practical and decorative purposes. Typically in bead weaving, it’s used to end and add new pieces of thread. This type of knot is similar to an overhand knot but is usually wrapped around another piece of thread or cord.
These are the most popular knots for jewelry. With a little practice, you can add them to your cord jewelry designs and have fun experimenting with different stringing materials.