How to make your own tassled, loop-braided handfasting cords

April 9 | Guest post by rosesinister

A handfasting is a wedding or betrothal ceremony (read more about handfastings over here). But if you want to get handfasted you need cords. Here's how you can make your own…

Sample-Cord

I made our own tassled, loop-braided handfasting cords. For anyone else interested in making some like this, here’s my documented process, as well as some helpful tips I learned along the way.

Step 1

Step-001

To make the cords, I used six yards of 5mm satin ribbon and one skein of embroidery floss for each cord. Here you can see the piles of ribbon matched with their coordinating floss. I made six cords for our ceremony. You may use a different number according to yours. My cords only came out to be about 18″ long (not including tassels) and so if I were doing it again I would start with 7 or 8 yards of ribbon. That seems like a huge amount and a lot of work, but it really isn’t — each of these took less than an hour to make start to finish, and I enjoyed working on them in the evenings before going to bed at night — it was a meditative project.

Step 2

Step-002

Cut off about 24" of floss from each skein, being careful to leave the rest of the skein looped. You'll use two, 12" pieces of floss to tie your tassels when you are done.

Step 3

Step-0031

Cut your skein of floss roughly in half. It doesn't have to be perfect, you'll neaten the edges later. But do try to keep the two halves mostly even.

Step-004

You'll be left with one, 2' length of floss (24") and two halves of the remainder of the skein, like so.

Step 4

Step-0051

Take the length of your ribbon and fold it neatly in half — this will be tricky because the ribbon is so long, just remember that "neat" is relative. Then make a loop with the folded end of the ribbon, like so. You'll thread one of your tassel pieces through the loop, as shown below:

Step-006

Step 5

Step-007

Now you'll take one of the free edges of the ribbon and insert it into the loop that you've made with your tassel. Use the ribbon half that is behind the half closest to the loop, and try to make sure that the ribbon isn't twisted. Pull gently, tightening as you go, until all that's left is a small loop about ½" big (you can totally make it a bit bigger if that's easier for you).

Step 6

Step-008

Then make a loop in the other ribbon half, and poke the edge of that loop through the first loop. Tighten, repeat.

Step-009

It begins to take shape very quickly.

Step-010

Sooner than you realize, you'll have a nice length.

Step-011

When you have about this much ribbon left (maybe a little more, if finicky detail stuff isn't your forte, but I promise, this is easy!), you're ready to finish and attach the other tassel.

Step 7

Step-012

Catch the remaining half of your embroidery floss in your ribbon and loop as usual. Then take the remaining two lengths of ribbon and thread them through the last remaining loop — don't loop, just feed the edges through. Pull gently to tighten, and make sure everything's secure. Tie your ribbon ends in a double knot. You could also seal it with clean nail polish if you're concerned about fraying — I didn't, it's up to you.

Step 8

Step-014

Cut your reserved length of embroidery floss in half.

Step 9

Step-015

Tie the reserved floss around your tassel. For the end bit, make sure to conceal the knotted ribbon inside the tassel. Just play with it until it looks right.

Step 10

Step-016

Do this with both edges and ta-da! You're finished! Now you may, or may not, chose to do another cord.

Our completed handfasting cords inside the kinsugi/kintsukouri bowl I made for our salt covenant.
Our completed handfasting cords inside the kinsugi/kintsukouri bowl I made for our salt covenant. [Head over to Offbeat Home to see how to make your own bowl like this.]

To see more about Pagan practices head over here, or you can check out our entire archive of handfastings.

  1. Thanks so much for this! My fiance and I will be doing a handfasting at our wedding but I haven't found cords that I like that are within our price range. So this will be perfect!

    4 agree
  2. Thank you so much for posting this! We're doing a handfasting and I've been trying to figure the best way to make the cords, and this design is simple and elegant.

  3. I just finished making these for my wedding next month and they turned out beautiful!! At first I was a little confused with getting started but once I got going, man were these easy to make. Thank you so much for this tutorial!

    1 agrees
  4. I made these for the handfasting ceremony as part of our wedding this past September. I had looked around several times for DIY cords and hadn't found much, and just as I had about given up and was going to try and make something up myself, this was posted! They were absolutely beautiful and a meaningful keepsake from our wedding day. If there were a way in the comments, I would share my favorite pic from the whole wedding with our hands wrapped with the cords!

  5. Hello, I love these cords, but am having great difficulty in making them! My partner and I have been trying to make them for over an hour, we have all the materials, but are so stuck! Can't make it past Step 6, tighten and repeat. I just can't figure it out. The rest of it seems very straightforward, just can't work out how to start it properly. I can get it to look like the picture beforehand… but not the picture after. Help! Please! Jess

    • Hello Jess! I made these for our wedding ceremony a year ago. I found this video on youtube that may help? They're doing it slightly differently (no tassel, two types of ribbon instead of one folded in half), but it should get you past the part you're having issues with. You can skip ahead to about 5:15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5leL2u87pN0
      If this doesn't help, there are some other tutorials, the thing you want to search for is "ribbon loop braiding." A lot of things will come up for how to do different braided hairstyles with ribbon, but I was able to find some explaining this technique.

      2 agree

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