4 Easy Knots to Pair with Bead Stringing Designs

Jean Campbell is the senior editor of Beadwork and a
contributing editor to Beading Daily

It's a new year, and each new year I come up with a list of resolutions. They often have the same themes from year-to-year: Some concern my ant-like work habits. Others are about aging gracefully (or my lack thereof). Still others surround identifying what's fun in my life and finding more of it. But I also have a list of creative goals, and this year I'd like to share some of them:

Resolution #1: Spend at least 3 hours every week on the couch, designing.

Resolution #2: Work on a series of pieces inspired by photos I took at Harvard last year.

Resolution #3: Delve even more deeply into mixing my media.

For that third resolution, I'm going to look no further than my subscription to Stringing magazine, where I've been seeing lots of great pieces that incorporate nontraditional stringing materials such as ribbon, leather, and cord. As an example, just take a peek at these great designs from past issues so you know what I'm talking about. Don't they look great for enhancing what might be just a plain old piece?

The hard part for lots of folks, though, is how to connect these fuzzy fibers to hard findings. Knowing your knots is the key! Here are four knots that I like to use in my strung designs:


This knot works great as a stop between beads and is the knot of choice for knotting between pearls. It's not a super-secure knot, but works great to end off a ribbon or piece of leather. Because the knot slightly kinks the line of the stringing material, you might want to save this one for more fluid threads and cords rather than with stiff strands such as leather or plastic. To make one, simply make a loop with the stringing material, then pass the cord that lies behind the loop over the front cord and through the loop. Pull tight.


This sturdy fellow is a secure, classic knot that won't tug free. It's a great one for tying on clasps or for ending strands. For a square knot, simply draw the right end of the cord over the left end and pass the right cord through the loop you just made. Then pass the (now) left end of the cord around the (now) right end and through the loop, then pull both cord ends tight. (Remember the old Girl Scout rhyme, "Right over left, left over right, makes a knot that's good and tight"? That's this knot . . . )

Figure eight

This is a great knot that sits in a straight line along your stringing material. It's perfect for stiffer cording because it won't kink. To start this one, lay one end of the cord over the other one to form a teardrop-shaped loop. Pass the top cord over and behind the bottom one, then pass that same cord over itself and through the initial loop. Pull both ends of the cord to tighten.

Lark's head

This is a great knot for connecting cording to a finding because it just won't pull free unless you tug the long cords through the loop. Start this one by folding the stringing material in half. Bend the fold over the finding, pull the long ends of the strand through the loop, and pull tight.

You'll find lots of inspiration for spicing up your strung designs on the pages of Stringing magazine. . . the perfect tool for any creative resolution!

Happy beading-

Related Posts:


Bead Stringing, Beading Daily Blog

About jeancampbell

Jean Campbell is the founding editor (and currently the senior editor) of Beadwork magazine and has written and edited more than 45 beading books. She has written for Beading Daily and has appeared on the DIY Jewelry Making show, The Shay Pendray Show, and PBS' Beads, Baubles, and Jewels where she gives how-to instructions, provides inspiration, and lends crafting advice. Jean teaches jewelry-making workshops throughout the United States and calls Minneapolis home.

3 thoughts on “4 Easy Knots to Pair with Bead Stringing Designs

  1. A very useful blog. Because I want to make jewelry with other kinds of materials including ribbons and lace in the pieces. This gives me directions where to start. Thank You very much!!!! I’m also interested in an article about design jewelry but more directed toward drawing them and more concrete ways of make somekind of schemes with drawing, materials, colors and themes. MORE interesting, How to translate some thing I like in to a theme that can be used in jewelry. Happy New Year and Hello Again to everybody!!!

  2. Hi Jean! I always have a problem with my square knotting. I have tried learning the square knot for forever. My husband, a retired Navy man, has even tried to teach me and has not succeeded thus far, but we are getting closer. It is one knot that evades me. I see you are doing the knot in the aspect of joining 2 pieces together, but I sometimes see in an actual project to use a square knot to start a round of beadweaving, after you have put the starting beads in a round. That is the one I am having the most problem with. Any help with that one?
    Thanks a bunch.

  3. When I taught knot tying classes at Camp Fire I always used two different colored ropes, it seemed to make it easier for the kids and leaders alike. Practice your knots with something larger than Fireline until you get the hang of it. Have fun!