DIYdiy projects

diy project: knotted lamp cord by raina kattelson

by Kate Pruitt

With all the attention we’ve been giving to rope and pendant lights, this DIY tutorial from stylist Raina Kattelson couldn’t have come at a better time. We featured Raina’s gorgeous Hudson Valley home a couple years ago, and we loved the palette so much that we also created a Simply Color inspired by Raina’s kitchen.

Recently, Raina finished fully renovating a rental home that she purchased a while back. There are many lovely details, including this awesome hack for a simple Ikea Foto lamp that hangs over the kitchen table. The rough, textural cord is a stunning complement to the well-worn chairs and the mottled metal table base. She was kind enough to share the whole process with us, and it’s actually quite easy, especially if you have a helping hand.

See the full instructions for how to make the lamp cord after the jump, and you can view more of Raina’s newly renovated rental home, which was captured beautifully by photographer Emily Anderson, in the current issue of Rue Magazine. Thanks for sharing this awesome lamp project, Raina! — Kate


  • pendant lamp (I used the Ikea Foto lamp, but any lamp with a bare cord would work.)
  • 1/2″ sisal rope
  • 3-ply jute twine
  • bar clamp
  • 2 hand clamps
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun


Note: This project works best with two people, one to keep things steady and one to do the knotting.

1. Stretch the cord between two fixed points. There are several ways to do this. If you have the tools, the easier way to hold the cord is by making a jig with two pieces of wood. Another way is to clamp a bar clamp to a table, and then using two smaller clamps, secure the cord to the bar clamp.

2. With the jute twine, start with a common whipstitch for the first 2″, pull the knot tight and then continue tightly wrapping the twine around the cord until you have the length you need. Tie off the end using two clove hitches.

3. At this point, I adjusted the twisted rope a bit and pulled it tight to ensure that it covered the cord and looked even.

4. Because the jute tends to have a lot of little hairs, I simply trimmed the longer ones off with scissors to neaten it up.

5. Using the sisal, make an overhand knot and continue with the Chinese Staircase knot (see here for a how-to). Be sure to tighten each knot down evenly. This knot will twist around as you are working; it looks messy at first but will soon form an interesting pattern. Continue until you reach the other end.

6. At this point, I adjusted the knots, positioning them evenly. Then I could tell if I needed to continue with any additional knots.

7. Cut the end, leaving about 1/4″. A small dab of hot glue at both ends will keep the ends from fraying.


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