Picture of Condition and Dye Your Own Hemp Rope
In this Instructable, I will guide you through the process of conditioning raw hemp into soft and beautiful rope.


This is for informative purposes only. I am in no way responsible for any injury by or misuse of the finished product.
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Step 1: Tools and ingredients

1. Hemp rope - I'm using 83 meters of raw 4 mm rope but the process is the same for thicker sizes. I buy Ecolution Romanian hemp rope through It's sold by weight so if you buy thicker rope you won't get the same length.

2. EMT safety shears

3. Stock pot or pressure cooker - large enough to hold all your rope and cover with water

4. Washer and dryer

5. Mesh laundry bag or old pillow case

6. Dye (optional) - use any brand you like, just make sure it's for natural fibers and that you follow the instructions. I'll be using Rit-Dye.

7. 1 cup salt (for dying)

8. Water

9. Rough towel or piece of burlap

10. Gas burner or alcohol lamp

11. Mineral oil - get the kind sold as a laxative at the drug store. It's much more refined than other kinds at the hardware store.

12. Masking tape

13. Measuring tape.

14. Whipping twine or strong thread

Step 2: Cut your rope to manageable lengths

Picture of Cut your rope to manageable lengths
Eighty-three meters of rope is extremely difficult to work with, so we're going to cut it down into a few pieces. Find the two ends of the rope and tie an overhand knot on each end so the rope doesn't unravel. Feel through the rope and find the middle. Cut it with the EMT shears and tie another overhand knot in each of the new ends. Repeat this for each of the two pieces so that you end up with four equal length pieces of rope. Don't cut the rope to your desired lengths right now as you're going to lose a bit of length during the conditioning and whipping processes.
jklovance2 years ago
I am having trouble getting the dye to penetrate to the core of the rope. I am using fiber reactive die. I vat processed it for over two hours in my bathtub but it didn't go all the way through.

I know that this was posted a while ago, but I would like to offer some help on this. I personally have found that I get really good penetration with my rope when I boil it for an hour or more with frequent agitation. I think the heat does the trick, along with the movement of the rope to get the dye into the core.

Dyed Rope.jpg
tenuki_igo1 year ago
Instead of whipping consider using a footrope knot to terminate. ( also called a manrope knot, ABOK 696, thistle knot, etc )

or the wall knot ( ABOK 672 - do a series of them instead of 1 - very similar to above )

The whipping on the ends is a good method for making Shibari rope for bondage. The knots you describe have the effect of thickening the rope diameter and thereby makes it a little more difficult to pull the rope through some of the knots in a fluid motion.

mcvarij (author)  tenuki_igo1 year ago
I tried using this knot but found that they were bulier than I liked and tended to come undone. I started using the sailmakers whipping:

It's more work and takes some practice, but it's really secure and when you tie it with a thin hemp twine of contrasting color it looks especially nice.
dwindel1 month ago

what is the reasoning behind oiling the rope ?

and couldn't you dye it with out the washing in between ??

im btw going all in found 220M 6mm hemp ropoe for cheaps and im giving it a shot :-)

When I throw it in the washer can I add a teeny weeny splash of detergent? Also what do you recommend to lighten the yellow hue the rope has naturally? I went for blue, but ended up with green due to the ropes natural tint.

tenuki_igo1 year ago
Looks like the greenboat site doesn't sell it anymore. I get mine at:
Fyremane2 years ago
Hmm, 15' and 30' lengths of dyed Hemp Rope, I do belive i know what this rope is used for. Sounds like Shibari
vincedis2 years ago
will this process take away some of the smell? i don't really want to buy natural hemp if it is going to smell like goat poop. When i use my friends rope it reminds me of the petting zoo. If this process doesn't get it out is there anything that will besides 10 years of consistant use?
All the smell goes away after treating.
hansherauf5 years ago
Some instructions claims that it has to be animal oil, others recommend using Vax. Do not use vegetable oils as they go rancid quite easily
Jojoba oil is commonly considered one of the best choices.
This doesn't contradict the previous comment since chemically it's a wax rather than an oil.
b1gdamnhero3 years ago
Does it make any difference whatsoever if the pot is covered or not? (Sorry, total rookie at this.)
mcvarij (author)  b1gdamnhero3 years ago
No. It might help to reduce evaporation, it shouldn't matter otherwise.
Great, thanks!
jiminigrist4 years ago
Another great instructable. I use a similar process and the results are great.
frollard6 years ago
Thank you mcvarij! Treated hemp is always super expensive, and I've always wondered the steps! I love the warning "not responsible for what you do with it" ;-) - should this be in the 'anything kinky' group?
smoke it, hemp originates from the cannabis plant (the stems)
not what i had in mind when I joked at the disclaimer about making rope.
yeah i know, you shouldn't smoke it it contains the least amount of THC of the entire cannabis plant
Another reason to not smoke hemp rope is that the majority of that available in the US was grown with pesticides.
wiljo94 godhole5 years ago
Also, hemp rope comes from a different plant in the cannabis family than that which is smoked
**how DARE they take down the tkb videos? those are incredibly informative!
albesan5 years ago
this step didn't quite work for me. Maybe I overdid it. The rope ended up damaged and after zinging there were lots of black burnt out dots along the rope.
Not doing this step worked better for me, the boiling and washing at high temperature plus the stretching during the drying process seems to soften the rope enough.

Maybe is the rope I am using, it is a 6 mm hemp.

None the less thanks for the instructable.
shango25 years ago
Very nice, I'm in the middle of trying this myself. I'm not dyeing my rope yet, I want to see what color it ends up being first. And I used Sailmaker's whipping with hemp cord, which is nice and secure, and looks cool too...
ellarodgers6 years ago
Thank you. Procedure works very well.
Cool instructable! I will definitely give this a try.
Thank you, this is fantastic! Any tips as to the optimum amount of boil/dry cycles (in your opinion)?
mcvarij (author)  Mr. Beefhead6 years ago
I did a single boil for about two hours, plus the dying process and my rope is fine.