i guess it’s time to come clean and admit that i am not what you would call an outdoors person; sailing, camping, hiking, exploring…i can’t say i have much practice or expertise in any of those areas. but it’s never too late to learn new things, and i must say that after spending a good chunk of the day learning various sailor’s knots, i feel pretty psyched about my new abilities and very motivated to learn more.
if you haven’t tried it, i can tell you that trying to learn knots is the cheapest entertainment there is. you can chuck the video games and crossword puzzles out the window, because knots are just as frustratingly time consuming and way more satisfying to complete. this particular project should be EXTRA satisfying because i’ve seen these doorstops on the market for forty or fifty dollars(!), but if you can channel your zen mind and complete this knot (called the monkey’s fist), then this ultra chic decor item can be yours for only eight dollars! i’ve included the tutorials out there that helped me find the way, and let me say that it took several tries and various teachers for me to master this. have fun! -kate
CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!
1. 12 feet of 5/8″ thick sisal rope (available at hardware stores for 60 cents per foot)
2. scissors (sharp, heavy duty ones are best)
3. old tennis ball (or a zip lock bag will also work. also have tape handy if you use a zip lock bag)
4. rice, sand, or small pebbles (about 1 cup worth)
5. scrap rope or shoe-lace (this is optional – it helps with knot practice)
other materials: free, on hand (or $5)
1-2 hours- depending on how long it takes to learn knot :)
1. take your practice rope and try tying the knot a few times. here are the online tutorials i found helpful:
- youtube tutorial #1 : skip ahead to 1:52 to see the knot being tied. this is one of the clearer videos, but i needed more than this to learn.
- youtube video #2 : this one moves a bit too fast and lacks good lighting, but i found this one especially helpful for showing how to tighten the knot once it’s made.
- animated video : this is super helpful. watch ten times.
- if none of these are helping you, feel free to search for more: “how to tie a monkey’s fist knot” should do the trick. you can also email or comment here and i will try to give tips if i can!
2. once you’ve mastered the knot in practice form, it’s time to do it with your big rope. leave about 12″ of rope dangling off your left hand and use the rest to create the loops with your right hand. stop once you have the knot assembled. DO NOT TIGHTEN YET.
3. for the doorstop, take a tennis ball and cut a 2″ long slit in it with a knife or your scissors. pinch the slit open and fill with sand, rice, or small pebbles. this will be your weight. if you used sand, you might want to place a piece of tape over the slit, but otherwise the tennis ball will hold itself shut. if you use a zip lock bag, you might want to double bag it to ensure it doesn’t open, and tape the bag into a rough ball shape.
4. pull open the knot on the side to shove the tennis ball (or bag) inside.
5. tighten the knot around the ball (or bag) by pulling on the rope and tighten each loop one after the other. you will probably have to do one or two rounds of tightening, pulling one loop taut at a time, then pulling the next loop, then the next, etc. you should end with one end about 12″ long, and another end about 14″ – 16″ long.
6. to create the doorstop loop, cut the short (12″) end down so there’s just enough rope left to tuck the end under the nearest set of three loops. use your scissors to jam the loose end underneath the loops, and tighten around it. for the 14″ end, create a loose “u” shape and tuck the loose end into the closest seam between the loops. use your scissors to jam the loose end underneath the loops. you can put a dab of hot glue on it prior to jamming it in, but if you get it under at least two loops, you should have no trouble with it falling out.
7. for the paperweight, just cut both ends jut long enough to tuck the ends underneath the closest set of three loops. use your scissors to jam the loose end underneath. you may have to loosen the knot a bit to stuff it underneath, then re-tighten.
8. if you want, you can now paint your knot pieces in fun colors! simply use primer spray paint first, spraying the entire piece with an even coat of white primer. then follow with a spray paint of your choice. let the whole piece dry in a well ventilated area.