How to Make a Sliding Knot Bracelet

Sliding knot bracelet tutorial
Lisa Yang

About Sliding Knots

Sliding knot bracelet tutorial
Lisa Yang

Sliding knots are an easy way to make your jewelry adjustable. They work best on bracelets and necklaces made from different types of jewelry making cord such as leather or fiber. Some good choices of fiber cord are hemp, waxed cotton, or Chinese knotting cord. Cords over 1 mm in diameter work best since otherwise the knot can be too small, making it difficult to grasp and slide.

There are several different types of knots used in jewelry making. A row of macrame square knots is often used as a closure for bracelets. It lies flat at the bottom of the wrist, but it can become loose over time or become untied. The round knot in this tutorial seems to be more reliable and works great when you want to incorporate the cords of the bracelet into the closure as shown in the picture. That is not an option with the macrame square knot sliding closure.

Tying a Sliding Knot

Tying a sliding knot
Lisa Yang

To practice the sliding knot, you will need two pieces of cord. A base cord that the knot is being tied around (the black cord in the photo) and a piece of cord used to tie the knot (brown metallic cord in the photo).

For the knotting cord, you will need at least four inches of 1mm cord or around six inches of 2 mm cord. These numbers are approximate and you can probably use a little bit less. Too much cord will actually make tying the knot more difficult since it will be more difficult to hold and keep secure while you are tying.

To get started, lay the knot cord on top of the base cord. Holding the knot cord about 1 to 2 inches from the end, make a loop. Hold the loop in place with your index finger and thumb by pinching it against the base cord. You will be using the cord that is pointing down in the picture for the next steps.

Wrap 3 Loose Loops

Wrap three loose loops
Lisa Yang

Wrap the knot cord loosely around the base cord and the tail of the knotting cord at least three times. Try to keep the loops even and straight without overlapping.

Insert Cord End Through the Loops

Insert cord end through the loops
Lisa Yang

While keeping the loops in place (this is the first tricky part), insert the cord end through all of the loops. We find it helps to press the loops against the surface of a table. This helps provide just enough pressure to hold them in place while also pushing them up, so it's easier to slide the cord through the center of the loops.

This step is much easier if the cord you are using has some body or stiffness to it, such as the 2 mm leather cord in the photo. Using a flexible cord makes it more challenging to thread through the center. Just be patient.

Pull the Cord End Through the First Loop

Pull the cord end through the first loop
Lisa Yang

Once the cord end is through the loose loops, thread it through the first loop you made (the one you've been pinching). This is what is going to help hold the knot tightly in place. Pull the tail all the way through.

Adjust and Tighten the Knot

Adjust and tighten the knot
Lisa Yang

Gently tighten and adjust the knot by pulling on each end of the knotting cord. The last loop you threaded the cord through will pull inside the coils. Gently adjust the coils so they are even and get a grip on the base cord.

Continue Tightening the Knot

Continue tightening the knot
Lisa Yang

You will know the knot is tight enough when you can still slide the base cord, but it is not easy to do so. There should be enough friction so it will hold the jewelry in place, but not so much that it is difficult to adjust when it's time to take off your jewelry. Making a practice knot will help you feel when the tension is right. Unfortunately, if you pull the knot too tight, it can be difficult to get it loose again, so make adjustments carefully.

Make sure the coils don't overlap and sit neatly side by side. The last step is to trim the ends of the knot cord. Leave a small tail so it won't untie. You can also add a dab of glue using a toothpick to keep it in place.

Using the Sliding Knots for an Adjustable Bracelet or Necklace

Using the sliding knots for an adjustable bracelet
Lisa Yang

One of the best ways to use this sliding knot is as an adjustable clasp using the two ends of the bracelet or necklace cord. In this case, you will be making two adjustable knots. Starting with one end, lay the knotting cord over the other side of the cord. Knot around the cord following the instructions above. You will make the starting loop on the side away from the other cord end. Repeat on the second side of the cord and trim the ends.

Adjusting the Knots

Adjusting the knots
Lisa Yang

To make the bracelet or necklace larger, slide the knots closer to each other. To make it smaller, slide the knots away from each other. In each case, you will slide one knot, which will cause a bubble of cord between the two and then slide the other knot to adjust and make them even.

Bracelet Ideas

Bracelet ideas
Lisa Yang

Try adding a pendant or charm that can be moved on the cord. This makes it easier to center the knots since you can adjust them and then the charm, if necessary. 

This closure also works well with ladder stitch or loomed bracelets with leather edges when you would like the bracelet to be adjustable.