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Knot your own easy leather necklace

Use a jig to make an economical necklace in under 30 minutes
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace
Whether you wear it alone or as an accent to a favorite pendant, a knotted leather necklace is a versatile jewelry staple.

Using a simple jig made from a board and a couple of nails, you can turn out a few knotted necklaces in less than an hour. I use this knotted design to save the expense of adding end-cap findings to my necklaces. Whether you use leather or other types of cord, like waxed cotton or silk, the technique is the same. Experiment with cords of different colors and diameters. For even more versatility, attach a knotted cord to a bracelet to turn it into a necklace.

SUPPLIES

  • Leather cord: 2 mm diameter
  • 3 1⁄3 yd. (3 m) necklace cord 
  • 28 in. (71.1 cm) wrapping cord
  • 2 jump rings: 16-gauge (1.3 mm), 10 mm inside diameter
  • Lobster claw clasp: 1⁄2 in. (13 mm)
  • Extender chain (optional)
  • Jig:
    • Wooden board: approximately 25 x 6 x 3⁄4 in. (63.5 x 15.2 x 1.9 cm)
    • 2 2-in. (51 mm) nails
    • 2 steel-spring clamps
  • Utility hammer
  • Permanent marker (color to match cord)
  • Drill, drill bit in same diameter as nails
  • Cyanoacrylate glue
  • 2 pairs chainnose pliers
  • Flush cutters
  • knotted
  • cord variations

INSTRUCTIONS

HOW TO MAKE A JIG
I used an old bookshelf to make my jig, but any solid wood surface works well. 

NOTE: Pressed wood will not hold the nails securely. 

Mark the nail placement on the wooden board. The length of your necklace will be equal to the distance between the two nails you’ll set into the board. Use a ruler to measure the desired length of your necklace on the board, and use a permanent marker to mark the position of each nail. For my necklace, I made marks that are 15 in. (38.1 cm) apart. 

Drill the nail holes. You’ll be setting the nails in the board at an angle, which is difficult to do with a hammer. Using a drill to make pilot holes for the nails is a good solution. Set the tip of your drill bit on the left mark, and angle the bit approximately 60° to the left. Drill into the board just deep enough that the nail will fit snugly. Repeat on the right mark, angling the bit 60° to the right. 
How to Make a Jig
Set the nails. Insert the nails in the holes [PHOTO, a and b]. (I cut off the heads of my nails, but that’s optional.)

NOTE: Make sure the nails are angled away from each other; this prevents the cord from slipping off the nails when you wrap around them.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 1
KNOT A NECKLACE
1. Use a clamp to secure the end of your cord to the board; position the cord to the left of and just behind nail A. You can leave the cord on the spool or cut it to your desired length. For this necklace, I used 3 m (3 1⁄3 yd.) of cord.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 2
2. Pull the working cord behind nail B.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 3
3. Pull the cord around nail B and toward nail A. Wrap the cord behind nail A. Continue to wrap the cord around the nails this way until you have the desired number of necklace strands, ending at nail B. Clamp the cord to the board to the right of nail B. If you left the cord on the spool, trim it beyond the clamp.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 4
4. Cut one 14-in. (35.6 cm) piece of cord, and make three wraps around the necklace strands. 

NOTE: We’ve colored the wrapping cord to demonstrate the knotting sequence.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 5
5. Thread the pink (left) end of the wrapping cord through the loops.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 6
6. Pull the pink tail of the wrapping cord under the bundle of necklace cords.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 7
7. Thread the yellow (right) tail of the wrapping cord through the loops.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 8
8. Grasp one wrapping tail in each hand.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 9a
9. Using even tension, gently pull the ends to tighten the knot, leaving it loose enough to slide along the necklace strands.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 10
10. Place a small drop of cyanoacrylate glue on the necklace strands where you want your knot to sit. I like to position mine next to the nail, leaving a loop in the necklace cords that’s just large enough to accommodate a jump ring.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 11

11. Slide the knot over the glue, and pull the knot ends to cinch the knot tight. 

NOTE: Immediately remove any excess glue with a toothpick or pin.

Repeat the steps with a second wrapping cord to make a knot at the opposite end of the necklace.

Allow the glue to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 12
12. Remove the assembly from the jig. At one end of the assembly, locate the necklace bundle tail and the two wrapping knot tails.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 13a
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 13b
13. Using flush cutters, trim the excess cords flush with the knot. Repeat to trim the excess cord ends at the other end of the assembly.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 14
14. Using a permanent marker in a color that matches your cord, color the cut ends of leather.
Knot Your Own Easy Leather Necklace 15
15. Use two pairs of chainnose pliers to add a jump ring and half of a clasp to each end of your necklace.
Knotted cord variations
To change the look of your knotted necklaces, try using various diameters of knotting cord. Or make more or fewer wraps before tying the knots.

A quick way to convert a bracelet into a necklace is to add a knotted leather cord in a complementary color.
 
Knotted cord variations 1
Knotted cord variations 2
FIND MORE: necklaces , leather , knotting

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