Introduction: How to Coil Extension Cords With the "Shepherd's Knot"

This Instructable explains a handy way to store an extension cord. Instead of a tangled mess, or trying to wrap the entire cord around your arm only to have it fall apart, try the Shepherd's Knot, it's quick and easy to do and even quicker to undo.

This instructable video was created for the Burning Questions contest, so it's only 15 seconds long, but I'm including a step by step image here as well...the Shepherd's Knot, try it, you'll like it!
  1. Untangle your extension cord and fold it into 2 even lengths, grab the cord at the center
  2. Create a simple loop
  3. Pull the the cord through itself to make a basic knot.
  4. Reach through and grab up more of the cord and pull it through the loop to create a second loop
  5. Repeat again and again until you reach the end of the cord
  6. Now we have a chain of loops ...kind of like a paracord bracelet...which can easily be un-raveled when needed
Pro tip: You'll find it works well to plug the front of the cord to the end

step by step


RangerJ (author)2017-12-09

Good idea, and I use it, but with a slight variation on my 100' cord. (I hope I'm not repeating somebody.)
What I do is lay the cord out in three runs instesd of two: down, back, down. Use a piece of tape to mark the thirds.
Now you have a plug on one end and a recrpticle on the end of an extension cord you can use for a quick, temporary job.

pappadamjoe (author)2016-08-27

Brilliant; I now have a tidy shed wall instead of a tangle on the floor :-)

Lee Wilkerson (author)2016-06-10

I have been using this method for almost ten years with my heavy/long cords. It's amazing! The cords never tangle regardless of how many times they get moved or tossed around.

Silvrgoat (author)2013-11-16

Oh finally.. I will try this with my 100' cord - winding it around my arm just doesn't get it!! I'll try doubling it twice too - thanks for the guide!!

Lee Wilkerson (author)Silvrgoat2016-06-10

I quarter my 100 foot/12Ga. power cords before I loop them. It takes less time to store and If I have a reason to use a 100 foot cord, it's always because a 50 foot cord is too short any way.

pwood2 (author)2016-06-07

When I learned it it was called a Jacob's ladder.

Lee Wilkerson (author)pwood22016-06-10

This is the simplest knot/tie available for crocheting or macramé.

mazzmn (author)pwood22016-06-07

Interesting, that term is used for several things...including a rope ladder that is tricky to climb...I guess this looks like that type of Jacob's ladder when it is rolled up. Thanks for your comment

ellenmellon (author)2016-06-07

Weavers call this making a warp chain - the warp will be made of 100's of threads that have been measured to all be the same length, perhaps 10 yards. Eventually when threaded onto the loom these threads will be the "warp" of the cloth to be woven. Chaining the warp keeps it in order while putting on the loom or storing for a later project.

mazzmn (author)ellenmellon2016-06-08

Interesting, I'd like to see that, thanks

ellenmellon (author)mazzmn2016-06-08

I found a youtube showing the warp chain process:
the actual chaining doesn't happen until about 2:30 minutes.

mmoberly3 (author)2016-06-07

I've used this knot for years and love it. Worked with 300' + ropes most of my life and this makes them much easier to work with.

mazzmn (author)mmoberly32016-06-07

Cool! I bet you can do it in your sleep by now. Thanks for your comment

mmoberly3 (author)mazzmn2016-06-07

Pretty much. Lol it's a great little top to remember.

p_leriche (author)2016-06-07

I always use this method for the lawnmower chord after being shown it around 15 years ago by our church warden. As well as for parachutes, it's also the only way to stow the multiple bridle lines of a large kite, having drawn them together first.

mazzmn (author)p_leriche2016-06-07

Good to hear, thanks for your comment. Where I am today would be a great day to fly a large have me day dreaming! I don't think I want to be responsible for rolling up the parachute cords :-)

AeSix (author)p_leriche2016-06-07




noun: chord; plural noun: chords

  1. 1.
    a group of (typically three or more) notes sounded together, as a basis of harmony.

    "the triumphal opening chords"


verb: chord; 3rd person present: chords; past tense: chorded; past participle: chorded; gerund or present participle: chording

  1. 1.
    play, sing, or arrange notes in chords.
Malkaris (author)2014-09-18

they use this for quickly stowing parachute lines so they don't get tanlged.

ronchambliss (author)2014-01-28

My dad taught me this as a young boy, and now I know what it is called.

mazzmn (author)ronchambliss2014-02-06

thanks for your comment, dad's tend to be handy like that most of the time :-)

kweinkauf (author)2013-10-29

I have used this for years. I teach it to all the workgroups that come to serve at our community development center. There are a few things to beware of, though. First, if you make your links too small, you have a longer cord to store. Second, if you have a really long cord, you can fold the cord in half twice before you begin the chain. Third, you can start the first loop by simply holding the middle of the cord in your hand, take the top of the loop and bend it down toward you. Now you have a loop on either side. Take the far ends of those loops and bring them together away from you. Now you have a loop that you can use to start your chain. Last, if you leave your cord in this state for very long, or it is cold outside, the plastic will retain the memory of the loops; making for a very twisty wire. Take that into consideration when using this technique.

mazzmn (author)kweinkauf2013-10-29

Thanks for the comments, I'm gonna try that start technique out next time

etkoehn (author)2013-10-18

use this at work all the time, works great no tangles

joelhunn (author)2013-10-03

I had been taught this method years ago when I was a "plumbers helper". When I tried it recently, I was thinking "Why is it so LONGGGG!", it wasn't much better than just an entire cord. After reading your instructable, I realized that I forgot to fold the cord into two even lengths...doh!!! Thanks for straightening me out!

mazzmn (author)joelhunn2013-10-03

Ha! straightening me out ;-)
Thanks, and actually I've heard that with really long cords, instead of just folding the cord in half, you can fold it in half again, so instead of loops that are two cords thick, they are four cords thick ... I've never really tried that though

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