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Hemp Finishing Techniques

Have you ever hacked up a beloved bracelet to get it off your arm? If you said, "Yes, darn it!" then you'll appreciate these hemp finishing techniques for sure. 

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Yes, they take a little more time.  But learning these finishing techniques are so worth it!  Especially if you like to be able to take your hemp jewelry on and off easily. The Secret is in the Clasp and Closure.

Every bracelet, necklace, choker, or anklet needs a clasp and a closure. What's the diff?  The clasp is the grabbing end, and the closure is the end that is grabbed by the clasp.

Read on to learn how to make my favorite hemp finishing techniques.

But Before You Do, Here's Some Info That's Good to Know:

hemp knot abbreviations overhand knot switch knot square knot

Useful Links:
Glossary of Hemp Jewelry Making Terms
How to Make an Overhand Knot (OH)
How to Make a Switch Knot (SW)
How to Make a Square Knot (SK)

~ Clasp and Closure Easy Navigation ~

 

Clasps

How to Make an Overhand Loop Clasp

How to Make a Sliding Switch Knot Clasp

 

Closures

How to Make a Knot Closure

How to Make a Bead Closure

How to Make a Button Closure

How to Make a Square Knot Switch Knot Combo Closure

How to Make a Sliding Knot Closure

The Finished Sliding Knot!

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How to Make an Overhand Loop Clasp

overhand knot clasp
The overhand loop clasp is the simplest clasp to make.  It's one step up from tying the ends in a knot.  Don't let it's simplicity fool you though - it's a pretty reliable clasp when used with a bead, button, or knot closure.

Step 1: Take your cords and fold them in half.  Tie an OH that just fits over your bead, button, or knot closure.

Step 2: Make your piece of jewelry using the loose ends of the cords and finish with your bead, button, or knot closure.  Done!

Example of an Overhand Knot Clasp and Bead Closure

My Spiral Hemp Necklace uses an overhand knot clasp with a bead closure.  overhand knot clasp and bead closure example

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How to Make a Sliding Switch Knot Clasp

A quick tip before you begin this particular hemp finishing technique: You might get confused trying to understand these instructions (I know I sure did when I was learning this one!)  My advice?  Learn by doing.  It'll become clear once you make one of these yourself.

Sliding knot clasp Sliding Knot Closure  

The 2 purple square knots can slide up and down, opening and closing the switch knot.  See how this works?

 

Use with a bead closure, knot closure, square knot switch knot combo closure, or button closure.

Step 1: Decide whether you want to use the switch gap or the loop as your clasp. The sliding switch knot clasp can work 2 ways.  You can slide your closure bead, knot, or button through the gap from the switch knot, or through the loop.  Either way, the slider holds the closure tight. 

Tip: Using the loop as the clasp is prettier, but less sturdy because you're using only one cord.  The clasp gets a lot of abuse, so take a critical look at your cord or twine.  Will it stand up to the abuse?  If not, use the switch gap instead.

Sliding Clasp - Hemp
Fig.1

Step 2 : Start your piece of jewelry using 2 lengths of cord.  Fold one length of twine in half.  Lay it over the your second length, leaving the second unfolded (Fig. 1).

Sliding Clasp - Hemp step 2 Sliding Clasp - Hemp 3 Sliding Clasp - Hemp 4
Fig. 2 Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Step 3 : Use the crosswise cord as your knotters.  The folded cord will be your fillers.  Make 2 SK's around your fillers (Fig.s 2, 3, 4).  These knots will be your sliding closure.  Give it a test slide by grasping the knots with your forefinger and thumb, and holding the loop with your other hand.  You should be able to slide the knots up and down the filler cords.

Sliding knot clasp Sliding Knot Closure Sliding Clasp - Hemp 5
Fig. 5 Fig. 6 Fig. 7
Here's what your finished sliding closure will look like (Fig.s 5 and 6)

Step 4 : Slide the knots up the fillers so that the loop is smallish (see Fig. 7).

Step 5: Make a SW that your closure bead, combo knot, button, or closure knot will be able to slip through, then an SK.  Continue making your piece of jewelry, then end with one the suggested closures.

Example of a Switch Knot Clasp and Knot Closure

My Bubblegum Bead Bracelet uses the loop as the clasp:

hemp bracelet clasp hemp bracelet clasp Hemp bracelet clasp
Make sure the sliding knot is pushed closed.  Slip the end loop over the overhand knot closure to close the bracelet Slide the sliding knot up towards the closure knot. Closed tight!  To open the bracelet again, just slide the knot back again and slip the closure knot out.

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Closures

All closures are made at the end of your jewelry piece.

How to Make a Knot Closure:

Make an OH using all cords held together.  The OH will be your closure. To close, slide the OH through your clasp.  

Here's an example of a knot closure with a sliding switch knot clasp:

(the example is from my Bubblegum Bead Bracelet)

knot closure example

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How to Make a Bead Closure:

Step 1: Try to fit the cords through the hole of your closure bead.  If your bead doesn't fit onto all 4 cords do the following.  Cut 1 or 2 cords off close to the knot and dab some glue onto it. Don't cut off more than 2 because your bead closure will be too flimsy to last for long.

Step 2: Slide your closure bead onto your remaining cords.  Leave a little slack on the cords, and tie an OH using all remaining cords.

Here's an example of a bead closure.

(the example is from my Copper Cosmic Swirl Necklace )

bead closure

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How to Make a Button Closure:

The easiest way to make a button closure is to use a button with a shank rather than one with holes in it. Slide your cords through the shank, and tie a OH to secure the button.  Dab some glue on the knot, and trim.

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How to Make a Square Knot Switch Knot Combo Closure

Step 1 : To make the 2nd half of the closure, make a SW, then 1 or 2 SK's. Make an OH knot with each knotter (1 and 2 in the picture).  Then take your filler cords and make an OH with the 2 fillers held together (3). 

Step 2 : Trim the cords as shown, and dab some glue onto the knots.

Here's an example of a square knot switch knot combo closure:

(This image is from my Colorful Kids Necklace)

Knotted end clasp

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