Introduction: Girl Scout Cable Management

About: Former Artist in Residence at Instructables, currently Hacker Advocate at Hackster. Cofounder of ProtoTank, a hardware prototyping startup. FIRST kid (rock on, team 677!). Former board member at AHA (Ann Arbor…

So, you've got a bundle of connecting wires in your latest wearable-tech project. You want a solution that's functional but classy.

Enter this technique! It works for all cable thicknesses, and is soft, non-conducting, flexible, and attractive. I learned it as a friendship bracelet when I was a kid, and used it in my brainwave-controlled wings for Hot Couture '13.

(Heat-shrink tubing is usually a good alternative, but it doesn't look the greatest, and unless you happen to have a roll of the right width, it'll have seams to boot.)

Materials: Just a roll of yarn.

Step 1: Make a "4" Loop

Tie the yarn around your bunch of cables. If they're protruding from an enclosure, poke your yarn through the hole and tie it around the bundle, up inside the enclosure. You might want to hot-glue it in place.

Then, lay your cables in a vertical line down your table, or let them hang down off the edge of your desk.

Hold the yarn-roll in your right hand, about 10" away from where it's tied at the top. (If you've got a giant ball of it, you might want to cut it down to a few yards. This should suffice for a few feet of cable. Then, roll up that smaller length around your fingers to make a ball.)

Grab the middle of the length of yarn in your left hand and pull it to the left of the cable, on top of the wires, so you make a kind of big "4": the vertical stalk is your cables, and the yarn makes the other two legs, on top of the cable.

Finally, move the yarn-roll under the cables and through the loop in your left hand. Pull on the yarn-tail to tighten the loop down over the cables. This secures the yarn in place with a simple knot.

(And, for those of you who were expecting a different kind of 4 loop...)

cable_types = ['red', 'black', 'rainbow', 'stranded', 'damp', 'edible']
for type in cable_types:
   print "Use it on %s cables!" % type

Step 2: Repeat FOREVER 🔥

Repeat this a few times, and you'll notice that the yarn-knots start to form a spiral around the cable. I really like this; it imparts an organic look, well-suited to wearables.

You can pause at any point, since the knot holds the yarn tail in place.

If you start running out of yarn, just grab a new piece and slip the end in with your cable-bundle and keep going. Once the old piece of yarn is almost out, drop it down into the cable bundle and start knotting with the new one instead. (You might need an extra knot to hold the two ends together, but this is pretty unobtrusive.)

You can use the same method to split the cables and wrap around two separate bundles. Add a new piece in with the cables, then when you reach the fork in the cables, use that to wrap one side, and keep going with the old piece on the other side.

This may take a while, but it's easy and you can do it while focusing on your Futurama reruns. Enjoy!