How to make DIY handfasting cords PLUS handfasting cord ideas

Guest post by Lepapillonvert
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There is no right or wrong way to make handfasting cords, and they can be as elaborate or simple as you want them to be. It really comes down to what you want to represent yourselves, or what is easiest for you.

The only time the cords are to be dismantled/unknotted is in the case of a hand parting, so please remember that anything you use to decorate your cord is to remain with it for as long as you are bound to each other.

Your cord should be long enough to loop over both wrists as well as being able to make the knots.

We've read that if you are using a single cord, that a generic rule of length is ideally no less than 6 feet.

Again, it's up to you.

How to DIY your handfasting cords

Step 1: Ribbon & Cording

Michael and I picked out our ribbons separately, but when we put them together they were matching color palettes. We each chose to use three ribbons for our cords but you can use how many you feel is right for you. We chose to use doubled-sided satin ribbons that were purchased at Michael's. We've seen them made of drapery cording, silk cording, decorative ribbon and even parts of a couple's wedding attire. You can embroider them, print/paint them, etc.


I had some O rings lying about in my tool caddy. (I tend to buy in excess a variety of ‘things' when working on costume projects. It saves me from having to run on multiple errands or paying for multiple packages to be shipped. Eventually I find something that will work.)

Michael tied the ends of the ribbons to the O rings, slipped it over a hook and attached it to something stable. For him it was one of my dress forms but for these photos I used my very heavy pair of fabric scissors. He braided the cord to each of our lengths. He also said silent prayers as he plaited. (Again, do whatever makes you comfortable.) When he got to the end of each cord, he tied it off with enough length left to attach the tassels.


Step 2: Tassels

We purchased new beads and incorporated a couple that were in our bead box. The copper wire and beads represent Michael's love for building Tesla Coils and other high voltage projects, the Tiger's Eye is for protection and the others have their special purpose.

Make a largish loop at the top and then begin to slide the beads/what-nots until the desired length is reached. We added our charms at the end and looped the wire, and wrapped the end around a few times before cutting. We then attached the tassels to the extra length at each end of the cords.


Step 3: Charms

We chose two sterling charms each for our cords. There are several sites where you can buy the charms (,, We choose to use Art Beads because they had what we were looking for and it made sense to pay one shipping charge.


Voila! The DIY handfasting cords are finished.


I hope this has been helpful for some of you! Offbeat Bride also has a handfasting archive… You may want to check the posts for inspiration.

PS Need some DIY handfasting cords inspiration?

Here are some of our favorite handfasting cords from Etsy, if you need some inspiration (or if DIYing ends up being too much of a pain in the ass)

Ideas for your DIY handfasting cord, with inspo from Etsy seller The Bluebell Wood D
Handfasting cords from Embracing Cords
How beautiful are these handfasting cords from The Toadstool Garden?!
Celtic handfasting cords from Ceotha
More DIY handfasting cord inspo from Etsy seller Toadstool Garden
Inspiration for your DIY handfasting cords from Etsy seller Embracing Cords
Toadstool Garden does it again with their handfasting cords.
Handfasting cord DIY inspiration from Embracing Cords
Love how The Tossed Bouquet makes handfasting cords with personalized ribbons!

Comments on How to make DIY handfasting cords PLUS handfasting cord ideas

  1. I found a trick a while ago to transfer words onto ribbon, it only works if you have an inkjet printer though. Print the words you want out backwards (photoshop, yo), and then rub acetone on the back of the paper while pressing the front onto the ribbon. The ink will come off the page and stick on the ribbon, it’s super cool. It’s how I made this:[email protected]/2686264282/in/set-72157606277647687/

    Though I’m sure it would be used in a much prettier way in a handfasting!

  2. brilliant! thanks for sharing your lovely work. i’m sending this to my friend who’s planning an october handfasting. blessed be!

  3. Super! Thanks for linking to my group. I could not seem to find any pictures of handfastings & chords when I was planing mine so it’s great to see others. Great tutorial Lepapillonvert!

  4. Sure thing lady! I’m excited to see how the group grows.

    @scunshine – thanks for the awesome tip!

    If anyone else wants to add their ideas, please feel free!

    • Hello,
      I had a question about the braiding. It looks like you folded the ribbon in the middle before (or during ) braiding. Is that correct? I just want to make sure that I do it correctly. 🙂

  5. Dear Lepapillonvert,

    Thanks for showcasing us handfasting mavens and giving such great tips for personalizing the cords. Yours are gorgeous. I embroidered our handfasting ribbons with words from our vows as a stitching spell for our marriage. Preparing the ribbons was a really lovely preparation ritual for the big day.

    • Hi Leila Jo,
      Did you embroider the ribbons by hand? How did you do this? I have no idea how to embroider. Did you then braid the embroidered ribbons into a cord?

  6. Hi Offbeat Peeps!

    My fiance and I did a handfasting last year, but had absolutely no clue how to go about it.
    We ended up cutting short lengths (about 12 inches) of ribbon that we handed out to our guests.
    As each guest came up, they shared something with the group and then tied the ribbon around both of our arms together.
    We didn’t have to cut or untie anything (luckily, but completely unplanned) to take the ribbons off, just to wiggle a little bit, and then we used one last ribbon to tie all the loops together.
    Reflecting on it, I feel deeply that we not only bound ourselves together, but our community of friends.

  7. Leila Jo & Sarah Beth –
    Wow, your stories are so beautiful and inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing them!

  8. Thanks for the idea! I had no idea what I was doing and had no idea as to how beautiful and personal the cords could be! My Wedding is a week from today so I'd better get started!!!

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