How to Make a Sailor's Knot

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This simple sailor's knot uses a shoelace.
This simple sailor's knot uses a shoelace. (Image: Carrie Mooney)

A Sailor's Knot is also known as a Turk's Head knot. It can be made on your hand.

Things You'll Need

  • One strand of cord or string. When practicing, a firm cord is preferable.
  • This demo uses a 45" shoelace.
  • (optional) tube, such as a wrapping paper tube.

Place the cord over the left hand, palm up. Hold short end between thumb and fingers. Loop long end behind hand, around three fingers, over short end and around hand.

Bring in front of pinky.
Bring in front of pinky.

The cords form an "X" over your pointer finger. Poke end up through top of "X." Pull moderately tight.*

Leading end should poke up at top.
Leading end should poke up at top.

Turn hand over, so your palm is down. Reverse the cords over your fingers, forming an "eye" shaped hole. Poke cord up through the hole. Pull tight. The cords form an "X" over your ring finger. Poke cord up through top of "X." Pull moderately tight.

Poke leading end through "eye" hole. Look for "X" at top, and poke leading end in other direction. Pull moderately tight.* From here, you are making a continuous braid.

Leading end goes back and forth through holes.
Leading end goes back and forth through holes.

Turn hand over, palm up. Run cord parallel to previous course, adjusting and flattening as you go. Follow what you've already done. Repeat until two to three cords run parallel all the way around.

This is a finished sailor's knot. For a bracelet, see How to Make a Sailor's Knot Bracelet.
This is a finished sailor's knot. For a bracelet, see How to Make a Sailor's Knot Bracelet.

Tips & Warnings

  • This knot is known in Boy Scouts as a turk's head "woggle." It can be used to hold a scarf.
  • moderately tight- loose enough to poke the cord through again.
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