Introduction: Josephine Knot

Picture of Josephine Knot

The josephine knot is my favorite knot ever. I learned it while making a macrame plant hanger at Craftcation 2013 and I have been addicted ever since! You can use it to make bracelets, pretty up straps on bags - all kinds of things.

The josephine knot seems delicate and complicated - but I promise it's super easy to do!

Step 1: What You'll Need:

Picture of What You'll Need:

All you need is a pair of scissors and cord. The best cord or string for this is a thicker, more rigid sort. Hemp works great - paracord and nylon are nice too!

Step 2: Cut Your Lengths and Tie Them Together

Picture of Cut Your Lengths and Tie Them Together

Cut two lengths of cord - mine are about 50 inches long. This gives you lots of room to practice with. 

Double the cords over so the ends line up. Tie together the top loops.

Step 3: Loop the Left Cord

Picture of Loop the Left Cord

Take the left cord and loop it under itself as shown.

Step 4: Overlap the Left With the Right

Picture of Overlap the Left With the Right

Take your right cord and place it over the loop of the left cord.

Step 5: Right Under the Left

Picture of Right Under the Left

Continuing with the right cord, carry it under the end of the left cord.

Step 6: Over Under Action

Picture of Over Under Action
Now comes the tricky part! The photo will explain this much better than I can - we will only be moving the right cord here.
  1. take the right cord and carry it over the left cord that is coming from the knot up top,
  2. the right cord under the next length of the left cord,
  3. the right cord goes over itself,
  4. and then under the last bit of the left cord.
Basically over-under-over-under from left to right. :)

Step 7: Tighten It Up!

Picture of Tighten It Up!

You can alter where it sits on the cords by tugging and pulling. You'll get the feel for it as you go. :D

Tighten it by pulling the ends. Congrats! You've just completed a josephine knot.


MaliceSkyy made it! (author)2016-09-25

Fantastically easy!! I don't do knots, but couldn't resist the beauty of this knot!!! This tutorial was so perfectlyy made, thank you!! Here is myy first and second attempt with 550 cord. I know I need to work on tightening it, but was so excited, I couldn't help but snap and post a couple of pictures..

panda5657 (author)2016-01-08

i have one question what does it mean you have to pull it till you get the feel

Thanks, Hannah

jessyratfink (author)panda56572016-01-09

Once you have it all knotted together, you'll need to pull the cord ends to get the knot to sit in place correctly! You'll be able to tell where the right spot is by the tension in the rope - once you can't really pull it anymore, the knot should be nice and flat. :)

tiffanyegriggs (author)2015-11-22

Great tutorial. I knew how to do one knot, but couldn't figure out how to do multiple. thank you for your assistance.

Carol at Natures Sol (author)2015-10-09

I have watched 5 YouTube videos, read a few instructions - and it wasn't until your pictures that this stitch became clear to me. You using two different colors and simple steps made it so. Thanks!

vinyasaflowgirl (author)2015-10-08

Mala tassel

Nicholi46 (author)2015-09-17

ValentinaH1 (author)2015-05-19

Awesome Tut, thanks! I've been looking for some projects I could do with my chinese knot cord and i found this. Adding this to my favorites!

Mercysgarage made it! (author)2015-02-02

Thanks so much posting for this tutorial. It was very easy to follow. For my first attempt, it turned out pretty well. :)

SparkySolar (author)2014-10-22

I love this instructable thank you so much

jessyratfink (author)2013-08-19

Two is easiest, but if you have a thick string, you can do it with one. :)

Ok! But how are you gonna do with one?

AOGutierrez (author)2013-08-20

The basic knot is commonly called a carrick bend and is a very old sailor's knot now used more for decorative than practical purposes.Wikipedia has a brief discussion of the history and use of the knot. A very comprehensive reference is The Ashley Book of Knots by Clifford Ashley which is pretty much the bible for all things regarding knots.

Just curious where did the you get the name Josephine for this knot?

claudg1950 (author)AOGutierrez2013-08-28

Are you sure you want to keep that question?
It turns out that the name Josephine knot is mentioned in the very same book you recommended, under entry 1428.

AOGutierrez (author)claudg19502013-08-28

Actually I found that after I referenced the book. That was one of the first knots I learned about 50 years ago and never actually read that particular entry or heard it referred to by that name among sailors. Once again Dr. Ashley proves to be the most comprehensive reference for all things knots. Mea Culpa. Hope you enjoy the book.

claudg1950 (author)AOGutierrez2013-08-28

Oh, sorry, I forgot: thanks a lot for the tip about the book. It really IS the definitive work on the subject.

jessyratfink (author)AOGutierrez2013-08-21

I think that's what it's primarily called in macrame - and it's a nice name for such a pretty knot so I decided to go with that instead of the sailor/carrick names. :D

TeganJovanka (author)2013-08-21

Omgosh wow!!! That is so cool I have a knot of my name :)
Wow nothing has my name :o
Thanks for sharing !!! :D :D :D

AOGutierrez (author)TeganJovanka2013-08-28

Here's a nice waltz to go along with the knot.

Enjoy the day.

Semilove (author)2013-08-25

GREAT job! Easy to understand. Thanks for posting this!

ThatKnottyguy (author)2013-08-24

I applaud you!

julio_mendes (author)2013-08-23

Great Job and great tip as well....
Keep going..

ctwistedpair (author)2013-08-23

I did it! It worked!!!! I'm usually baffled by knots and such things. (ADHD and Dyslexia together sux.) Thanks for posting 1 step at a time.

AOGutierrez (author)2013-08-20

I did a quick search and was surprised to find Ashley's as a free download.
Here Sorry it's a bit long

Enjoy keep knotting.

thinkdunson (author)AOGutierrez2013-08-22

in the future, for any internet url, you can go to or to make them very short. it's free and easy. personally, i like tinyurl because you can give it a custom name instead of it being random. for example:

TriacNT (author)2013-08-21

Brief, concise, and well photographed. Excellent job!

foobear (author)2013-08-20

Pink and yellow go together so beautifully, yet you hardly ever see it!

GeeDeeKay (author)2013-08-20

Upon first glance, I thought this was a Carrick bend, and it actually is indeed a Carrick bend that is not cinched tight, and used for a decorative purpose instead of bending 2 lines together. Here is a great animation for a Carrick bend, so for the Josephine knot, the final step of cinching the bend tight is omitted. It's a beautiful knot/bend and is thought to be an almost perfect method of joining 2 lines. Great use of this knot!

FYI: A knot is tied in a rope and maintains its own shape (e.g. overhand knot, butterfly knot), a bend joins 2 lines together (e.g. sheet bend, Carrick bend), and a hitch fastens a line to an object like a post or a ring and falls apart if the object is removed (e.g. clove hitch, truckers hitch). Once someone explained this to me, I finally understood the differences!

HeyMister (author)2013-08-20

The Ashley Book of Knots #1502 ...

rendered beautifully.

Thank you!

porcupinemamma (author)2013-08-20


porcupinemamma (author)2013-08-20

Looks cool!

dulciquilt (author)2013-08-20

Back in the 70s women would crochet thick cords with seed beads leaving the ends separate with a tassel made from strings of beads. So e would just tie a knot, but a friend of my mom's used this knot to retie the necklace mom was wearing and it looked much more elegant.

Greenehouse (author)2013-08-20

Great instructable, thanks for sharing it.

gidgeygirl78 (author)2013-08-20

I always thought this would be more difficult than it really is. Thanks for showing how to do it!

lindarose92 (author)2013-08-20

I love it! I used to make macrame bracelets but I didn't know this knot...I wonder if it can also be used to start a scoubidou without the loop at the beginning...for some reasons it reminds of that! I must try it!! :)

TheMrCOOLguy2 (author)2013-08-19

Very cool
I'm jellous
U always get featured
Probally cause u creative and creat cool stuff

lleah (author)2013-08-19

That is SOO cool! You're amazing:)

parisusa (author)2013-08-19

I like how you used 2 colors. Easier to follow. Thanks!

darman12 (author)2013-08-19

Nice. I love how clean it looks, and the delicacy... I hope that doesn't sound feminine. I also love using paracord, so this is right up my ally!

About This Instructable




Bio: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @makingjiggy to see what i'm working ... More »
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