Basic Knotting Instructions
Download a PDF of these instructions here.
- When making knotted jewellery it takes a bit practice before you consistently get no gaps between the knot and the bead.
- We all have a way we do things with our hands, and everyone develops their own style over time.
- These notes and images are a guide to assist you when you are learning to knot and clasp, there is no “right” and “wrong” way to do it.
- If you feel you need further instruction, or clarification on any element, please feel free to contact us – we are more than happy to help you.
- Knotting board or mat – so beads don’t roll away (not essential)
- Knotting tool (AWL)
Cut the thread to length & stretch the thread (pull both ends to give it a gentle stretch – this helps prevent stretch after knotting).
Tip – when cutting the thread make it twice the required length of the finished necklace to be knotted (e.g. if making a 13 inch necklace, cut the thread to 26 inches)
Unscrew the clasp into 3 parts, put one end and the screw piece aside for the end & thread one part onto the thread (see fig 2). The screw side should be facing the end of the thread.
Tie a knot in the thread on the screw side of the clasp as per fig. 3.
Tighten the knot, and cut off the excess thread as per fig. 4
Put a dab of glue on the knot to secure it and prevent fraying.
Pull the thread from the long side so the knot goes into the clasp.
Give the thread a tug to ensure it is strong enough.
Make your first knot in the thread (fig.6)
Take your knotting tool (AWL) and place the tip through the circle of the knot.
With one hand holding the clasp, and the other holding the AWL you can drag the knot along the thread so that it is flush against the clasp. Ensure you do not pull the AWL out of the knot until the knot is in place.
See Fig.7 & Fig.7.1
Thread the first bead onto the thread. Push it up against the knot you just made.
Repeat steps 6 & 7 with a new knot
(Make a knot; use the AWL to drag the knot up to the bead. Ensure the AWL is not removed from the knot until it is as close to the bead as you want it to be. NB to achieve consistent results with the knots right against the beads does require practice.
See Fig 9 & 9.1
Repeat step 8 with the next bead as per Fig.10
Continue with the knots as per steps 6 & 7 (fig 10.1 & 10.2)
Continue adding beads, then doing a knot in the desired pattern, adding beads until the desired length is reached. Ensure you leave enough thread to put the clasp on (it is very difficult with little thread). Ensure you do a knot after the last bead. Refer Fig.11
Now we need to finish the clasp – if you haven’t already, take the screw out of the second part of the clasp.
Thread the string onto the clasp, with the large opening facing out (away) from the beads.
Using two hands, use one to hold the thread against the side of the clasp – it MUST be pulled flush, so there is no gap between the last knot and the clasp. Fig 13.1 & 13.2
Place a small amount of glue inside the big hole in the clasp end, while still firmly holding the thread in place against the side of the clasp.
While still holding the thread firmly against the clasp, pick up the small plastic screw for the clasp. Gently screw this into the open end that the thread is coming out of – this can be stiff but it should turn.
Ensure you screw it slowly and carefully and that it is straight (not in the hole on an angle). If it is overturned or misaligned the screw can snap. It will not go all the way in using fingers, but I find it easier to start off with fingers and use pliers to tighten once aligned in the hole.
Do not grip too hard with the pliers or you will strip the thread off the screw.
At all times, keep hold of the thread against the clasp – if you let this go, or loosen your grip it will pull the clasp away from the end bead and you will have a gap.
There is a bit of a knack to the end clasp, but with practice you will soon master it!
Once complete, leave the glue to dry for a minute or two.
I always check the clasps screw together nicely, sometimes the screw is too long, or is misaligned you can generally fix it by repeating step 14 (NB. you may have to use a new screw inner, as getting it out once glued can strip it).
Using the scissors (or a zapper), cut the excess thread off as close to the clasp as possible
See fig 16.
Hints & Tips
- Thread length – I have been caught out sooo many times where I didn’t make the thread long enough & I had to cut up the necklace and do it again.. Add a lot extra to ensure this doesn’t happen (the longer the necklace, the more knots, the more “spare” length you will need). As a general rule, 1.5-2x the length will be sufficient.
- Clasps – these are tricky sometimes, the plastic inner may not align properly. Sometimes if you try putting the other end of the screw bit in first it can go in easier. Also, it is really important not to overtighten, this will crack the clasp. Finally, sometimes because of the thread in the clasp the screw bit doesn’t go in as far as it did, therefore the bit is now too long. When you test your necklace at the end, if it doesn’t close flush you can cut the tip off with side cutters. I think this creates a nicer finish.
- Thread – the thread should be stretched before knotting, the thread will naturally stretch over time and wear but this helps minimise a little. If you need a tiny bit more length but it will ruin your pattern, you can stretch a knotted necklace up to a couple of cms (depending on the start length), just pull gently by the first and last bead (not the clasp). Don’t overstretch – it will be too long!!
- Length – this is the trickiest of all. Each knot adds a mm or so to the length, so you need to take this into consideration when designing your necklace if it is required to be a specific length (it could ruin the pattern when you end clasp it. I usually wing it, because there are too many variables (bead size, length, pattern etc.) but as a general rule, the longer the necklace the more knots the more extra length that gets added. Factor this in when making your designs – after a while you will get quite good at guessing!