Knotting Stretchy Cord for Bracelets: Surgeon’s Knot

I got an email from a friend – she says she can’t make head nor tail of the surgeon’s knot instructions. She’s fixin’ to make a stretchy cord bracelet – and needs to know.

When using stretchy cord to make bracelets – securing the knot so that it doesn’t come undone is really the only challenge.

You have 3 options.

1 is to use a crimp to help secure the knot, and I personally found that more awkward. A crimp by itself doesn’t seem to do the job, and I usually wound up tying the knot around the crimp. Maybe that’s what you are supposed to do – but it didn’t really appeal to me.

2 is to secure the knot with a drop of glue. This certainly helps. Always helpful with knots in cord or anything non-wire. Please – do not tell me that nail polish also works for this. What – you don’t have glue but you have nail polish? Puhleeze. Stick to using nail polish for what it is designed for – i.e. a mask on beads being etched, or painting on the brushed silver beads. Or using to mark your tools for when you are attending a class.

3 is to use a surgeon’s knot. Which brings us to: What is a surgeon’s knot?

Ok – we are familiar with the plain old knot – known as the “square” knot. This is the one you learned as a kid – you have a end of string in one hand (left), and another end in the right hand. You put them together, and put the left over the right. Now you point those ends back at each other and do it again, but this time, you put the right over the left. Now – for the surgeon’s knot – take that end that still sticking out, either on the right or the left, but for argument’s sake – let’s take the one on the right, and wrap it around and stick it through the loop one more time – so you have made that tying motion twice on the second round. Now pull tight.

Here’s my diagram. This is as knot in a single cord – but works fine for knotting two ends together.

There is a video here – at ehow, that demonstrates – with two ropes (or two ends). He shows you doing the extra loop first, but I don’t suppose it matters much. (The young gentleman demoing this has other very worthwhile demos in knot tying too, btw.)

Hope that helps! If it doesn’t – let me know and I will do a video!


  1. Thanks so much!! I did try a square knot and bought some Krazy Glue to secure it, but your explanation of the surgeon's knot sure beats the heck out of BeadStyle and Stringing magazines……(I would copy it over, but the mags are downstairs).

    And that video helped a lot too. I was going to follow the teensy pictures in the mags (ignoring the senseless descriptions, grin). But that cemented (groan) the whole thing.

    My problem, as I discovered, is that I am *ambidextrous* and I wasn't reversing the 2nd half of the knot. So much for Girl Guides, lol.

    Thanks again……Heather

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