How to Make Hemp Jewelry

About Hemp Jewelry

hemp necklaceHemp is a durable fiber made from the cannabis plant. It has 100% legal to wear and create jewelry with, although it is not yet legal to grow in most areas of the USA. Most hemp twine is imported from China and is fairly rough. It is possible to make hemp yarn that is soft, much like linen, but that quality is rare. Still, no matter how rough, any hemp will soften with washing. If you want your hemp jewelry piece to stay stiff like when you made it, try not to take a shower with it. On the other hand, some people like a softer, more worn-in look that can be achieved with washing.

When you make hemp jewelry, you are most likely to use macrame techniques of knotting or braiding to make a thicker cord. This guide will teach you the most common knotting techniques that are used to make hemp jewelry.

Materials and Tools

hemp twineTo make hemp jewelry, you first need to select some hemp twine. Although hemp now comes in many colors, the signature “natural tan” color is still the most popular. Most hemp jewelry is made from 1mm or “20 lb” twine. However, thicker twines can be used to good effect, especially for men’s necklaces. Make sure your twine is an even thickness (not too many lumpy bits) and smooth (unless you like the rough texture). You might try waxing your hemp or buying already-waxed hemp, if you like that look.

You do not need any other supplies to make a hemp necklace. However, you may want to add some beads or charms to liven things up, and a metal clasp to make it easier to take on and off.

The easiest way to attach a clasp is with metal cord tips. These go over the ends of cord, leather thong, or in this case, hemp. There are several types. The most popular two types are ones with metal flaps that bend over the cord, and ones with a coil, the bottom of which you crimp around your cord. To use either of these findings you will need jewelry pliers.

cord tipsWhen you are making hemp jewelry, it really helps to have a means to hold it in place. One option is to safety pin it to your jeans or another stationary surface. Some people use clips of some kind and a book or board.

To review – 

Required materials

Optional materials and tools

The Two Basic Knots

Most hemp jewelry is made up of two basic knots, which are illustrated below. These knots are the reverse of each other.

If you alternate these two knots one after the other, you will get a flat pattern.If you repeat just one of the knots (either one) over and over again, you will get a spiral pattern that looks like a double-helix.

Making a Hemp Necklace

1

Plan Your Design

Get out your beading board and plan the placement of your beads. You may also want to sketch out what sections will be flat-weave and which will be spiral-weave.

2

Cut Your Hemp

Cut 4 lengths of hemp. Two will form the base (pictured in gray above), and these should be a little longer than the finished piece will be. The other two (pictured in blue and pink above) will be used to make the knots and need to be at least 5 or 6 times longer than the finished piece. The length can vary depending on any beads you may add – if you use a lot of large beads you will need less hemp because you will be making fewer knots.

If you want a loop at one end of the piece (so you can use a button or knot clasp), cut only two pieces–one for the base and one for the knots. Make them twice as long as you would otherwise, fold them over, and tie a loop.

3

Knot Your Necklace

Start knotting your hemp the way you planned in your design. When you get to a bead, just slide it on over the two base threads, and then tie the next knot snugly below it.

hemp-spiral

Finishing Your Hemp Jewelry

You have several options for clasps. Experiment and see what works for you!

1

Tie Ends

Allow enough hemp to twist or braid the ends and then tie them together. This is the easiest and simplest way to finish.

2

Button Toggle Clasp

This requires some forethought. When you start your piece, instead of cutting 4 strands, cut 2 strands that are twice as long, and then fold them both in half. Tie an overhand knot to make a loop at the folded-over end. Proceed with your knotting and then when you finish, tie a large bead, button, or knot at the other end. When you stick the bead through the loop, it will catch and hold.

3

Metal Clasp

You can use a regular clasp if you finish the ends of your hemp piece with metal or wire cord tips. These go over the ends of cord, leather thong, or in this case, hemp. There are two types, one has metal flaps that bend over the cord and the other has a coil, the bottom of which you crimp around your cord. Then use jump rings to add a standard clasp.

Learn More

There are many great books about making hemp jewelry if you want to learn more!

Making Beautiful Hemp & Bead Jewelry
Hemp Masters
The New Macrame

8 Comments

  1. Avatar Sarah Everson

    Hi I was wondering if someone could post or email me a picture(I’m a visual person) of how to tie that loop to use a button as my bracelet closure. I was confused reading about using two strings not 4 to do this. Sorry I hope you wouldn’t mind. Thank you for the wonderful guide.

    • Emma Love Arbogast Emma Love Arbogast

      So, normally you would use 4 separate lengths of string of a certain length, let’s say 10 inches. So instead of that, start with 2 lengths of string that are twice as long – so, 20 inches. Then fold these longer strings in half. You now have 4 strands of 10 inches as before, but at one end they are connected. At that connected end, tie an overhand knot and you’ll have a loop. Do all your knotting and then at the other end tie on a button.

  2. Avatar Emily

    So, what does it mean by repeat one knot for a spiral braid? Does it mean repeat every knot (of each color) twice or … what? I’m confused.

    • Emma Love Arbogast Emma Love Arbogast

      There are two knots in the picture. One is labeled Knot One and the other is labelled Knot Two.
      If you want a flat braid, do Knot One, then Knot Two, then Knot One, then Knot Two, etc.
      If you want a spiral braid, do Knot One, then Knot One again, and again, and again.

      If you practice, you will begin to get a feel that Knot One and Knot Two are the exact same knot but in reverse. Then it will make more sense that you do one and then the other, the alternating of them will make it lie flat, but if you do the same one over and over, it causes the twist.

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