Our wedding is going to be held on a dock overlooking the shrimp boats of Shem Creek. Of course we are having a nautical theme! While I don’t want to have jars of sea shells sitting around, I do want to pull in certain classical nautical elements. One of those, to me, is rope. We plan on using rope in a variety of ways, but I don’t want to just have coils of rope sitting around. We’ve previously shared our DIY monkey fist knot doorstop, and I knew that I wanted to replicate the look at our wedding. Here’s some inspiration:
If you like this look as well, Monkey Fist knots are a relatively inexpensive and widely available on Etsy. But of course, I can’t resist the opportunity to DIY. We decided to use the knots to accompany our escort cards, so I will need to make over 100 small knots.
We are going with a navy, mint, and coral color scheme, so I thought that white rope would give the knots the biggest pop. I started with a nylon rope from Lowes (that I already had on hand) but decided that I didn’t like the glossy look of the nylon and went in search of a more matte cord. After looking at a lot of stores, I found this 3/16″ clothesline at Walmart. Whatever you select, it’s important that it has a soft and not plastic core. Plastic cores are stiff and won’t allow you to tie tight, small knots.
We wanted to make each knot end up around an inch and a half in diameter. We learned with our doorstop that it is much easier to get a well shaped knot when you have something spherical to slip inside it. I immediately thought of marbles for this project. Beware – marbles are hard to find in stores! I ended up picking up three 50 count bags from the dollar tree. I had to dig thru displays of flat sided marbles but I was able to find three mismatching bags.
One crazy thing about monkey knots is that they take a LOT of rope. My 1 1/2 inch knots took about 3 feet of rope each. I used an arm length (from finger tip to the opposite shoulder) to measure each length.
It’s a bit hard for me to put into words how to tie one of these knots, so I will direct you to youtube and give you some of my tips.
- I did three loops of rope in each direction (3 directions total). This gives you enough coverage to get full coverage of the marble, without making the knot too big.
- I typically do 3 loops around my 3 fingers (like in the video), then slip them off my fingers and do the three loops running perpendicularly. Then I use my left hand to sort of pinch those loops (they should be making an X ) and run the cord three more times – UNDER the inner most loops, OUTSIDE the outer most loops.
Before tightening (above)
- Tie the knot loosley, then insert the marble, then tighten the whole knot twice. I tighten the knot by starting at one end of the rope, and pulling the long end (the end of the rope going into the knot) until it’s tight. Follow it thru the whole knot until you get to the other end. It’s a little tricky where the knot switches directions, but after a few of them you will get used to the pattern that it follows.
After tightening once (above)
- When you have the knot tightened, clip the ends and tuck them in. I used a pen or the tip of a pair of scissors to help shove the ends under themselves. They stay secure, as long as they are tight.
After tightening twice (above)
- Don’t be afraid to throw out wonky knots. Sometimes it just won’t go right. Don’t beat yourself up. Abandon that one and maybe come back to it later.
- It’s better to have extra rope than not enough. Yeah, it’s wasteful. But if you run out of rope, there’s nothing you can do – you have to start over with a longer piece. Especially when you are starting out, cut more rope than you think that you need.
This is clearly not one of our place cards (in size or color) but it gives you a general idea of how we might use them!
Here’s an example of the glossy nylon rope compared to the matte clothesline (above)
I’m so excited to display these at our wedding – I think that they will be a fun nautical touch!
What have you been crafting up lately?