Introduction: How to Tie a Tie

Picture of How to Tie a Tie

This is one of those essential man skills, up there with shaving, and hunting a wild boar with a knife and a stick.

Okay, the last one isn't as essential, unless you happen to be named Rambo and are forced into the hills by a malicious sheriff, but you really should know how to tie a tie.

I'm going to teach you how to tie the two most basic knots, the four in hand and a mystery knot that I thought was a windsor, but which isn't. It is however better than both the half and full windsor, as it's more symmetrical. Upon further investigation, it seems closest to the Pratt knot, but unless someone can tell me differently, I'm just going to call it the Jeff knot.

Step 1: The Basics for Both Knots.....

Picture of The Basics for Both Knots.....

Lift the collar of your shirt. Place the tie around you neck.

If you're right handed, you'll probably want the thin side on your left. If you're left handed, the opposite.

The wide end should hang lower than the thin one. How much lower is going to depend on the length of the tie, and on your height. Ultimately you'll get the feel for it after bit of trial and error.

Step 2: Four in Hand: the Beginning

Picture of Four in Hand: the Beginning

Cross the wide side over the thin side, bring it around the back, and return it to the front. You'll have made a full loop when you're done.

Step 3: Four in Hand: Up and Through

Picture of Four in Hand: Up and Through

Pull the wide end up behind the loop you just made, and through the two halves of the tie, as shown in the first photo.

Now take the wide end of the tie, and push it through the front part of the loop. When you're done, it should look like the last picture.

Step 4: Four in Hand: Fishing Touches

Picture of Four in Hand: Fishing Touches

Pull the wide end of the tie down, tightening the knot. Now grab the knot, and the thin side of the tie (the one in the back) and pull upward on the knot to move the tie higher on your neck.

Step 5: The Mystery Knot: the Beginning

Picture of The Mystery Knot: the Beginning

Begin the Jeff knot just like the four in hand. In this case, since the knot is a bit thicker and uses more of the tie fabric, you'll want the thin end to be higher up (ie, the wide end will hang lower) than it did for the four in hand.

Cross the wide side over the thin side, then bring the wide end up behind the thin side and over.

Step 6: The Mystery Knot: Make a Loop

Picture of The Mystery Knot: Make a Loop

Bring the wide side back behind the thin side and back around front, making a loop.

Step 7: The Mystery Knot: Completing the Knot

Picture of The Mystery Knot: Completing the Knot

Just like the four in hand, bring the wide end up behind the the loop, and between the two halves of the tie.

Put the wide end through the front part of the loop, and pull down.

Just as in step 4, grab the knot with one hand, the thin side with the other, and pull the knot up to your collar.

Step 8: What to Do With the Back Side and Notes on Length

Picture of What to Do With the Back Side and Notes on Length

In all cases, the tie should hang at roughly the belt line and the knot should be fairly flush with the collar. As I previously mentioned, you'll use the position/height of the thin end relative to the wide one to determine final tie length, and it may take a few tries to get it right. Even after 12 years of wearing ties, I rarely do it perfectly the first attempt.

The back of the tie should never hang below the front. That's a fashion no-no. If no matter what you do, you can't get the both the tie to end at the belt line and the back of the tie to be shorter than the front, your tie is too long. Get a shorter tie. (They do come in different lengths.)

Additionally, the back of the tie should never be flapping around. People used to use tie pins or clips to make sure of this, but most ties today either have a specific flap for the back part of the tie, or a label you can use in its stead.


nerdoug (author)2015-10-09
afadhil (author)2014-02-14


jocloud31 (author)2012-08-21

The official notation for your mystery tie would be "Li Co Li Ro Li Co T" or "Left in, Center out, Left in, Right out, Left in, Center out, Tie", which seems to be a yet unnamed knot, according to (searching for the exact notation above will take you to it's spot on the page".

I like this knot, as it is a tidy, small, symmetrical knot. I'll support calling it the "Jeff Knot"!

Void Schism (author)2011-07-07

Ah! I thought that was a half windsor!
Well then, I've been tying a Jeff for years :)

Joanassie (author)2010-11-14

The title of this step is fishing touches. Care to fix that, or should I attach some fishing gear to it as if it's a hat?
Otherwise, a fine instructable. 

mensties (author)2010-07-14

Hi, thank you for your great post. I really appreciate the efforts you have put here .It is interesting and helpful. Good luck with it!!!

Warlrosity (author)2010-03-06

THANK YOU!! This one actully makes sense, and works! I stuffed up on the first go but now I will try again!

nk97 (author)2009-05-24

Cool Instructable. Now I to can tie my new tie. Someone was going to teach me but I got impatient.

steed1172 (author)2009-02-25

what is the difference between the "four in hand" and the "mystery knot"

if there is one anyways nice instructables (can tie my band new tie now .)

Ph3nomin0n (author)2008-10-21

I used to tie my tie (ew) like this and its good in quick situations, however I noticed it wasn't clean and professional looking. Ill be posting an instructable soon on how to correctly tie a tie(ew again).

Pie_eata (author)2008-09-23

thanks just tied my first tie (a Green Day American Idiot One at that :D)

ElectrickChick (author)2008-08-07

Pretty Cool

wyvren cow (author)2008-04-08

lol I just used that to tie a duct tape tie, thanks this really helped

dhruvgaara (author)2008-03-27

thanx it was handy cuz i needed it for skool you are the best!

lemonie (author)2007-05-14

I have thoughs upon publishing 'How to tie a Dilbert tie', maybe I'll do it...

bobbyk881 (author)lemonie2007-11-21

i wanna wear that that sound so cool

jeffreyf (author)lemonie2007-05-14

With wire?

lemonie (author)jeffreyf2007-05-14


MR.KNEX (author)2007-10-20

hey thanks i can finally tie a tie now.

aneel (author)2007-05-15

I agree that the "Mystery" not is not the Half-Windsor or the Pratt. It's not listed in The 85 Ways To Tie a Tie, probably because it doesn't meet their symmetry criterion. If I am following the directions properly, it differs from the Half-Windsor in that its first move is inside-out, rather than outside-in, and the resulting knot has an extra loop around the left-hand side.

jeffreyf (author)aneel2007-05-15

I think you are following the directions correctly, though I find it a lot more symmetrical than either the Windsor, Half Windsor, or the Pratt. All of those result in a fairly lumpy knot, unless one's tie is of very thin fabric. The mystery knot produces a slightly fuller knot than the four in hand, but still results in a a smoother result than the traditional Half Windsor method.

munkey_b0y (author)2007-05-14

nice simple instructable. Just one problem, the 'windsor' you have specified it actually only a half-windsor knot. A full windsor requires an extra turn through the neck loop and is really tricky to get the shape right. But it does command a little more repect in the office if you can get used to it. You end up with a nice tight wide angled triangle for the knot that is unmistakable. perhaps this would make a nice addition to this already sound instructable.

jeffreyf (author)munkey_b0y2007-05-14

Quite right! I somehow forgot to do the extra turn while photographing. I'll update! (and get new pictures up shortly.)

just_jeepin (author)2007-05-14

I've always just done the 'four in hand' and the knot always looks weird so I'll have to practice the 'windsor'. As for the short end, I usually just tuck it into my shirt (just down from the knot).

meddler (author)2007-05-14

You know i've been wanting to learn how to do this for a long time now,clip on ties are getting kind of lame for me. This is simple and straight forward thanks for the info.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like taking things apart and figuring out how they work. I generally loose interest after that.
More by jeffreyf:How to enter the iRobot Create Scholarship mini-contestHow to make LOLCats, Meme cats, Cat macros, or cat pictures with funny captionsHow to enter the Etsy and Instructables Sew Useful Contest
Add instructable to: