Introduction: Turk's Head Dice

About: I've been a software developer my whole life, studied computer science with a focus on 3D graphics in college, was an effects artist for Dreamworks Animation and have taught technology to kids and adults here…
I generated a 3D model of a Turk's head die in one of my other instructables (you can check it out here). In this instructable I'll show you how to actually tie one! My dad and I tied it together, which made it much easier. He did most of the tying, while I held the cube, read off instructions and checked his work. It's very easy to get off and make a mistake so checking and rechecking your work is very important!

Step 1: What You Need

1. A 3.5" cube. I picked one up at a craft store.

2. Lacrosse crosslace (or chord that is .1" in diameter). I order mine online here. You'll need 149 feet in the following 15 lengths (they match up with the instructions that you'll print out in the next step).

Strand 1: 55 feet
Strand 2: 5 feet
Strand 3: 16 feet
Strand 4: 16 feet
Strand 5: 5 feet
Strand 6: 5 feet
Strand 7: 5 feet
Strand 8: 5 feet
Strand 9: 5 feet
Strand 10: 5 feet
Strand 11: 5 feet
Strand 12: 9 feet
Strand 13: 4 feet
Strand 14: 5 feet
Strand 15: 4 feet

3. A drill or dremel. I have a drill so I also needed a hex chuck for tiny bits:

4. 3/64" drill bit. I got mine on amazon:

5. T-pins. You'll need 92 of them.

6. A file. Any size will do. We just need this to file the corners of the cube a bit.

Not all of the following is necessary, but you'll definitely need something to help weave the strands. We used 7 and 8 almost exclusively, but 9 and/or 10 would work as well.

7. A knitting needle. This is really helpful for straightening strands and for getting under strands.

8. A threaded needle for tying the knot.I got mine from Martin Combs, who has a website here: From there you can shoot him an email to order a medium brass needle.

9. Another alternative is a latched hook:

10. Or small needle nose pliers.

Step 2: Print Out Knot

Print out the full resolution images at 300 dots per inch. You can download the full resolution images here:

To print them out I used the GIMP. It can be downloaded for free here: 

Once installed you can go to File - Print..., then click on the Image Settings tab, where you can specify the X and Y resolution. Set them both to 300.

I also printed out the attached instructions so I could easily mark off where we were in the knot as we tied it.

Step 3: Prepare Cube

We need to file the corners of the cube so that we can drill holes in them. We'll stick pins in the holes as we tie the knot to keep certain strands from slipping off the corner. We'll drill the rest of the holes for more pins as we tie the knot.

Step 4: Wrap the Cube

Cut the the knot grid along the black lines. Then trim the margins on either edge. Tape the two pieces of paper together along the edge between the 1 face and the 2 face. Fold the paper as shown, then wrap it around the cube. Tape all the flaps and edges together, making sure each strand matches up.

Step 5: Begin Tying

Begin by drilling your first hole at F2 and as you tie the knot continue to drill holes and add pins as necessary. When you go around a corner, you can place a pin in the holes you already drilled. You can start tying by just following what the paper does, but once you start weaving over and under many strands you'll want to verify what you're doing by looking at the instructions. The instructions show you what strands you go over and under (using O or U) as you go from one pin to another. Dots (.) represent strands that haven't been laid down yet so it gives you a sense of how far you go before crossing another strand or reaching a pin. Keep in mind that the instructions include the pins that we cut off the paper. For example, the instructions start on A1, which we removed, so you'll see that the first pin that we go around is actually F2. This only occurs on the 3 and 4 faces, as that's where we removed the bights so we could fold in the flaps. 

Some things to keep in mind:

* Many strands will be weaving over and under the strands you're laying down so keeping them loose in the beginning is a good idea. Otherwise, when you get to the end it'll be too tight to weave any further!

* When you drill a pin, try to follow whether you're on the inside or outside track of your current strand. Then you can drill the hole either on the inside of the strand or in the middle. This just helps keep everything neat at the end. For example, see how the F2 pin is drilled under the bight, but J3 is drilled in the middle of the strand. When we come around for a second pass, the strand will fit nicely on the outside of F2 and on the inside of J3.'

* To use the threaded needle, melt the end of the cord and twist it in. The threading in the needle will bite into the chord and hold it tight as you tie the knot.

Step 6: Double Up

Whenever you complete a strand by returning to where you started, follow the strand around again to double it up.

Step 7: Keep Going!

The first strand is the longest, but the others cross many more strands that you're weaving over and under so they can still take a while to tie. It took my dad and I about 16 hours over 4 days.

Step 8: Tear Out the Paper

Now you can take out the pins. Then rip out the paper under the knot. This can be a pain. I unfortunately didn't get any pictures of the process but it involves ripping the paper with any pointy object you might have and ripping it out piece by piece with a pair of pliers. I doubt we got it all out, but as long as you don't see it, it's fine.

Step 9: Clean Up the Ends

Most of the strands end on the 4 face. To spread them out a bit, you can unweave one side enough to put it on a different face and then reweave it with the other end. Then tuck the end under several strands to hide it and keep it secure and then cut it with a sharp knife. Do the same with the other end. Then repeat the process with the other 14 strands!

Step 10: All Done!

Now you have a very large woven 6 sided die!
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