Introduction: Ocean Plait Mat

About: I'm an IT professional with a master's in library science. I enjoy woodturning, film making, and being frugal. Sometimes I make stuff that isn't horrible.

The worst part about my EDC was finding a way to unload my pockets at the end of the day without marring up the top of my nightstand. I tried a valet - those wooden, partitioned things that have a slot for each thing you carry. I found this to be bulky and unnecessary; burdensome. It also wasn't attractive during the majority of the day when my gear was being carried.

I needed a solution: something low-profile, cost-effective, and aesthetically pleasing. I hope you'll agree that my project fits all three. Let's make an Ocean Plait mat!

I learned how to tie this knot by using the guide at Animated Knots and got my initial inspiration for this from a blog post by Stormdrane from 2007. I provide photos and step-by-step, but the animated knots version is definitely superior.

Step 1: Getting Started

We'll start by loosely making an overhand knot. It's easiest to have a shorter end and a longer end so that we're not working both ends through the weave. Elongate the loops and then twist each of them before laying them over top of one another.

Step 2: Weaving

The shorter end (at the bottom in my example) is turned back toward the work and woven under one, over two, under one.

The longer (working) end is then run over/under until it comes out the other side. It can then cross back through, following the path of the other end.

Step 3: Finishing Up

The tightness of the weave will determine how many passes of cord can go through each bight. I tend to make mine looser than necessary, then tighten until the gaps are removed. Be aware that if you get it too tight, it will bunch up or curl. Start by holding the standing end and pulling the slack out toward the working end.

You can either stop at complete turns, snipping the excess, or to keep the cord in tact, run it through another incomplete turn and tuck the end behind the mat. I've chosen to do that latter here, since I'll likely reuse the cord later.

Step 4: Final Thoughts

20' or so of 550 Paracord resultedin about a 3x5" mat (the olive drab). It wasn't as big as I wanted, so I found some rope and gave that a go. 25' of the nylon rope got my closer to a 7x11" mat.

These mats are great for protecting the top of your nightstand from marring. I can even use the larger one here as a hot pad for pots and pans! The biggest benefit I've found is being able to quietly empty my pockets at night.

I plan to order about 75' of 550 cord to do a proper floor mat. What would you use an ocean plait for? I'd love to hear from you and see your knots in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article, please let me know with a favorite, follow, comment, and especially a vote! I've also got articles on everything from sock puppets and laundry detergent to bookshelves and benches.

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