Square knot macrame bracelets have been given new life due to the influence of high end designers. I’ve got the “Circle of Life” from The Lion King playing in my head as I write this. How else to explain how a simple macrame bracelet design, which has spent years as a summer camp staple and a tourist shop standard, has been reborn as the chic “Shamballa” brand must-have look?
I think it is a great example of how basic techniques can be adapted to suit nearly any style or budget. Have hemp cord and plastic pony beads? You can make this bracelet. Have premium knotting cord and diamond-studded platinum beads? You too can make this bracelet! The trickiest part is making the sliding clasp, but like any type of magic, once you know the trick, it is no problem.
Rings & Things actually made a square knot (aka half knot) macrame bracelet instruction sheet years ago (updated macrame bracelet instructions here). The sliding clasp instructions were also published as part of our “Meteor” macrame bracelet, which has a totally different look. It is past time to update the tutorial with some photographs!
Supplies needed for square-knot macrame bracelet with sliding clasp:
Cord – hemp, Chinese knotting cord, linen, cotton – whatever you like. You’ll need about 12 feet total.
Beads – again, whatever you like – but the holes must be large enough for two strands of your selected cord to fit through. Depending on your knot to bead ratio, you might need one bead or 20.
Scissors, needle, a clipboard (or a work surface and a binder clip), and flat or chain-nose pliers.
Cut two 2′ pieces of cord and one about 6′ long. Leaving approx. 8″ tails, clip the two anchor cords to your work surface. Center the long cord under the two anchors. (For the sake of photos only, the anchors are blue and the knotting cord is black.) You can start with either side, but I start from the right:
Pull to tighten the cords and you’ve completed 1/2 of a square knot. The second 1/2 is the same, just from the left:
Pull tight and you have a complete square knot.
It is totally up to you how many knots to tie between beads, but odd numbers (1, 3, 5, etc.) look best. Tie a few knots, slide a bead onto the anchor cords, tie a few more knots…it is really quite fun! Continue until you have the length you want. Keep in mind that the clasp will add about 1/2″ to the overall length.
Since you started knotting with a single long piece of cord, the starting end is “finished” while the tail end has….tails. To remedy this, sew the tails (one by one) up through the last section of knots. I needed to use pliers to pull the needle through.
Snip off the ends and it is like they were never there!
Now that you know how to make square knots and finish the ends, let’s make the “magic” part – the sliding clasp. Make your bracelet into a circle and overlap the anchor cords. Use bits of cord to bundle them together for the moment.
Now clip the top to your work surface. Cut a 12″ piece of cord and center it under your four anchor cords. Start tying square knots, just like you did for the bracelet itself. Continue for about 1/2″, then sew the ends back in. This section of knots should be able to slide back and forth on the anchor cords. Now, for the tails: they serve an important purpose. Make slip knots an inch or two away from the clasp on each pair of anchor ends. Tie beads on too if you like. These knots/beads act as stoppers, ensuring the ends don’t slide out of the clasp. Make sure you leave enough length to make the bracelet big enough to get over your hand. And ta-da! Adjustable bracelet bliss.
Happy knotting! Please let me know if you have questions, and have fun making your own bracelets! ~ Cindy