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Hemp Jewelry Basics

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This page covers these hemp jewelry basics:

Hemp Twine Sizing: Lb. test what?
How much do I need?: A chart with some twine estimates.
Other Materials for Knotting : Here are some alternatives to hemp that you can use with my hemp jewelry patterns.
Hemp and Beads: What you need to know about buying beads for hemp jewelry making.
Bead Alternatives: Some cool alternatives to beads that you may not have considered.

Hemp Twine Sizing

Hemp Twine comes in a number of gauges or sizes.  The most common are:

  • 20 lb. test (about 1mm thick)*
  • 45 lb. test (about 2mm thick)*
  • 80 lb. test (about 3mm thick)
  • 170 lb. test (about 4mm thick)

*In my instructions I use 20 lb. test but you can successfully make jewelry with 45 lb. as well. Your jewelry will just be chunkier and faster to make (thicker twine, less knots). :)

Note: Keep in mind that the thinner the twine, the more length you'll need because you can make more knots per inch.

How Much Do I Need?

Well, that depends on how thick your twine is, how tightly you make you knots, how "lacy" they are, and whether you are using beads or not. 

Here's an estimate of how much you'll need using 20 lb. test (but depending on the project, these estimates may be WAY off):

Style Length of Piece Cut Length (2) Folded Length (4)
Necklace ~ 18-20 inches 10 feet 5 feet
Choker ~ 13-18 inches 9 feet 4 1/2 feet
Bracelet ~ 9-13 inches 7 feet 3 1/2 feet
Anklet ~ 5-8 inches 6 feet 3 feet

Other Materials for Knotting

Any type of cording can be knotted. Some great alternatives to hemp include cotton cording, waxed linen, and nylon cording. Cotton cording can be found in sewing stores, waxed linen in craft and jewelry supply shops, and nylon can sometimes be found in hardware stores.

Try this: After you master the hemp jewelry basic techniques, try experimenting with materials. Ribbon, specialty yarns, and mixes of different kinds of cording can all be knotted, and will produce interesting and unexpected results.

Hemp and Beads

hemp necklaceThe only requirement for beads is that you're able to string them onto the cord or twine.  When buying beads, look for 2mm or 3mm holes. 

Wooden, ceramic, and glass are usually your best bet, but you can also find metal beads that fit the bill too. 

For a hippie chick look, find some polymer clay cane beads with hippie dippy images like mushrooms or happy faces.

Bead buying tips:

  • Bring the cord or twine you plan to use with you so you can test the hole size.
  • Another alternative is to bring a bunch of toothpicks with you and try to fit 2 or 3 of them through the hole of the bead to check sizing.
  • Remember that you often need to pass not one, but two thickness of twine through the bead.

Bead Alternatives

Create interesting effects using different materials like shell beads for a summery tropical look, washers and bolts from the hardware store for a punk rock or industrial look, or try using charms or jump rings and stringing them directly on the cord.

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