Adjustable Sliding Knot Necklace (Tutorial)
by Rena Klingenberg. © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved
I love adjustable necklaces because you’re not limited to always wearing them at the same length.
In this tutorial we’ll make a necklace that’s adjustable with sliding knots.
These knots are easy to make, and I consider it a very useful jewelry making skill.
This style of necklace is great for both guys and gals – and also for people who have difficulty with opening and closing clasps.
- A pendant – it can have a bail, jump ring, or sideways drill hole through the top (and it will need to fit on your cord).
Or you can use a donut bead or other pendant with a fairly large opening.
I’m using this large (50mm) antiqued brass ring – for a bold, simple statement necklace:
- Cord – at least 34″ (86.3cm) long.
Leather, waxed cotton, and nylon are the best cords I’ve used for adjustable knots. But you may want to experiment with other types.
If you’re using a lightweight pendant, you may want to use a finer type of cord.
I’m using this grungy natural-color leather cord, 2mm width, that’s recycled from an old project:
How Much Cord Do You Need?
This type of necklace is put on over the wearer’s head. So you’ll need a minimum of 24″ (61cm) of cord to fit over the head.
24″ (61cm) will result in a necklace that’s adjustable from about 12″ – 24″ (30.5cm – 61cm) length.
If you want your finished necklace to be adjustable to a longer length than that, add the appropriate number of inches for that extra length.
Then add 8″ (20.3cm) for the amount of cord needed for the sliding knots (each knot needs 4″, so 8″ will cover both knots).
If you’ll be attaching your pendant with a lark’s head knot in the cord (as we’ll do below), add 2″ (5cm) of cord.
So your total cord length will be:
24″ + 8″ + 2″ = 34″ (86.3cm)
. . . and if you want a longer necklace, you can add your additional length measurement to the above equation.
How to Attach Your Pendant
with a Lark’s Head Knot
Before we make the sliding knots, we’ll attach your pendant to the cord.
I’m using a pendant that will be attached with a lark’s head knot.
The instructions for each step of the lark’s head knot are below this photo:
- Photo 1:
Fold your cord in half at the midpoint.
- Photo 2:
Lay your pendant on top of the cord, just above the fold.
- Photo 3:
Bring the 2 cord ends over the top of your pendant, and under the fold in your cord.
- Photo 4:
Pull the cord ends until you have a nice, tight lark’s head knot at the top of your pendant.
Now your necklace should look something like this:
How to Make an
Adjustable Sliding Knot Necklace
Once your pendant is strung or attached to your cord, it’s time to make your adjustable sliding knots.
We’re going to tie each cord end to the cord on the opposite side of the necklace:
Lay your necklace down, with one cord running straight up from the pendant, and the other cord curved around, crossing over the top of the straight cord:
Now measure 4″ (10cm) from the end of your curved cord.
Fold the cord on the 4″ (10cm) spot, making a V-fold in the cord:
Now lay the V-fold on top of the straight cord end, with the straight cord in the middle of the V-fold:
Here’s a closeup view of your V-fold cord lying on top of the straight cord:
Now keeping both cords together (the V-fold and the straight cord), grasp the cords with the thumb and finger of one hand.
Your thumb should be right on top of the V-fold.
Don’t take your thumb off the V-fold until I say it’s OK. 🙂
In the photos below, the darker cord is the straight cord that’s centered between the 2 sides of the V-fold cord:
Now grasp the short end of the V-fold cord with your other hand (it’s the top cord in the photo above).
We’ll be wrapping this short cord end around the cord bundle a few times.
So start your wraps by bringing that short cord end down behind the other 2 cords:
Now wrap it up over the front of all 3 cords:
Then wrap it down behind all 3 cords:
Now wrap it up over the front of all 3 cords again:
And wrap it down behind all 3 cords again:
OK, now you can finally take your thumb off the V-fold in the cord. 🙂
Now thread the short tail of your wrapping cord through the loop formed by the V-fold, being careful to thread it above the straight (dark) center cord:
Now here’s how to tighten and snug up the loop:
With one hand, grasp the little tail of cord you just threaded through the loop.
With your other hand, pull gently on the other end of the cord that formed the original V-fold.
(If you pull on the wrong cord, it will just slide through the knot you just made, instead of tightening the loop):
After tightening and straightening, you should be able to slide the knot up and down on the cord it’s tied around.
And your finished knot should look like this:
The other side of the knot should look like this:
Now move to the other side of your necklace.
Make the same kind of knot in the other cord end, knotting it around the cord on the other side of your necklace.
Your finished necklace should look something like this:
To wear your finished necklace, slide the knots to make the necklace as long as possible.
Slip it on over your head, and then slide the knots down the sides of your necklace till it’s the perfect length for you.
Troubleshooting by Rena Klingenberg:
Knots That Get Too Tight to Slide After a While:
Maïlys mentioned in the comments that her sliding knots are always fine for a while.
But after about twenty slides on a necklace, the knots get so tight that she can’t use them anymore.
Here are two thoughts I have on the sliding knots getting too tight:
- I used to live in a very humid climate, and my sliding knots did the same thing – they worked well at first, but then became nearly impossible to slide. Now I live in a much drier climate, and my knots no longer do that – they continue to slide smoothly for years. Also, the “stuck” knots on necklaces that I moved from my humid home to my drier home became easy to slide again after a few months in the dry climate. So humidity may be a factor – perhaps it makes the cord swell.
- It’s possible that over time when we slide the knots, we put just enough pressure on the knots that we’re tightening them little by little. So possibly you might try making your sliding knots slightly looser. Then as you slide them over time, and they tighten up a tiny bit here and there, they’ll still work well for you.
I hope this helps, and I’d love to hear if any of this sound like possibilities for you! 🙂