The feeling you get when you bring home and trim your Christmas tree simply can’t be replicated. Decorating the tree is always a family affair—there’s a story behind each ornament and the day is spent reminiscing as we hang each one.
But building up a sentimental Christmas ornament collection takes time—and if you’re going for aesthetic consistency over charm, purchasing a set of ornaments can be quite expensive. Today’s DIY project aims to solve both challenges so you can enjoy a fully decked-out tree no matter how large or small your ornament archive. These simple rope ornaments are made with inexpensive materials—you’ll just have to buy some rope and ornament hangers—and come together in no more than thirty minutes or so.
Let the trimming begin!
Step 1: Cut rope
Unravel your rope to measure three feet and cut. You can use whatever rope you like for your ornament, but we decided to use red 5/32” paracord. We cut ours to three feet, but depending on the thickness of your rope, you may decide to cut a shorter length (for thinner rope) or a longer length (for thicker rope).
These instructions make a single ornament, so cut a length of rope for each ornament you’d like to make.
Step 2: Knot one end of rope
Measure three or four inches from one end of your rope. Then, fold it at the four-inch mark so it’s doubled back on itself, and loosely tie a simple overhand knot.
Position the knot at the end of the rope as close to the spot where the cord doubles back on itself. Tighten the knot into a ball shape and snip off the loose (short) end.
Step 3: Mark rope with safety pin
Mark your rope with a safety pin, about one inch from your knot. You’ll need to reference this starting point later on, so marking it now will make things easier.
Step 4: Wrap first section
For this step, you’ll use the middle three fingers of one hand to wrap the cord.
Pinch the knot you made in step two between your index and middle fingers with the tail of the knot trailing upward in front of your index finger.
With some space between your fingers, wrap the cord around the back of your three middle fingers coming up from the bottom to the front. Wrap two full times with the second pass to the right of the first one. Start one more pass, but as the cord comes up from the bottom, pass it over the top of your middle finger and pause.
Step 5: Wrap second section
This next series of loops will be horizontal—perpendicular to the vertical loops you made in step three. Pass the cord around the right side of the knot between your index finger and middle finger. Bring the cord around to the front on the left side of the knot and then make two more loops (for a total of three). The first loops should be nearest to your middle finger and the next two stacked on top of it.
Step 6: Wrap third section
At this point, you can slide the knot carefully off your fingers, keeping it intact.
Rotate the knot so you’re looking through the holes where your fingers were. Insert the loose end of the cord through the top hole from the front toward the back. Continue down and bring the cord toward you through the bottom hole and upward again. Make three loops stacked left to right.
Step 7: Locate starting loop
Find where you marked the cord with a safety pin in step three and trace that part of the cord through the middle of the monkey knot to where it comes out on the other side.
Step 8: Cinch knot
Starting with the spot you located in step seven, gently pull on the cord to tighten the knot. This will create a loose loop. Follow that loop to the other side of the middle loops (which run the other way) and pull from here to take up the slack. This will create another slack loop which you’ll need to trace to the opposite side of the middle loops and pull on to tighten.
Continue pulling gently, creating a loop and pulling it taught, until you reach the end. As you’re doing this, you can form the knot into more of a sphere. You will likely need to make another pass at tightening the whole knot again (starting again at the spot from step seven).
Step 9: Attach ornament hanger
Once you have the knot tightened up to your liking, cut the long stray end of the rope at the desired length and attach an ornament hanger. There are a few different kinds of ornament hangers; if you’re using the inexpensive wire hook type, attaching can be as simple as pushing the wire through the end of the rope.
To finish it off, use a lighter or match to briefly melt the end of the rope so it doesn’t fray.
Now you have a handmade Christmas tree ornament you can proudly display. Happy trimming!
Don’t have your tree yet? Check out our Christmas tree comparison guide. For more holiday inspiration, check out this easy DIY Christmas village.