Rope making has been one of the most important tasks throughout human history.
The earliest evidence of rope making dates back to the Neanderthals, around 50,000 years ago. There is further evidence that rope was regularly created in Europe 28,000 years ago.
There are many methods of making rope. Whether you want to make a rope for a certain project or just have a hankering for giving it a go to build up your skills, we are here to help.
While there are many complicated ways of making rope, we are going to focus on one of the easier methods by twisting and braiding multiple strands together. We will do this until the material is stronger and more durable than ever before.
If you are ready to join the art of rope making, you will never look back. It’s an extremely useful skill to have and you will be joining a rich history of our ancestors who have relied on rope for centuries for tying and binding objects together as well as pulling, dragging, and lifting many items for construction and more.
Standard Rope Making Method
You can make rope out of a range of materials and many of these may be lying around your house right now. Some of these materials include:
- Twine, thread, string, or dental floss
- Plastic bags or paper (shredded)
- Certain plant fibers such as grass, straw, hemp, flax, nettles, bark, or other vine-like plants
Next up, you need to gather or cut your threads.
Whether you’re using plant fibers such as blades of grass or a piece of dental floss, you need to make each thread about the same length and width as the other.
If you want to create a thicker rope, you will require more threads while thinner ropes need around six thread pieces, to begin with.
Once you have cut your thread into the correct sizes, you need to tie the threads together.
Line up your threads next to each other on a flat, even surface. On one end, tie a knot to secure them together. Now, divide the whole group of threads into two evenly matched sections.
When working with string or similar materials, the rope will become shorter as you twist it together after cutting. If you’re working with plant fibers such as grass, you can interweave more lengths in later on if you wish to make the rope longer.
Once the sections are divided, your bundle of threads should take a V-shaped form that attaches at the knot.
Here, you have to take the two sections and twist them.
Holding one section in each hand, begin by twisting all the threads in the exact same direction tightly and smoothly. As you twist, you will notice the two strands start to wrap around each other, forming your rope!
To make the rope longer, splice in further threads.
When you’re close to the end of your first bundle of threads, get two more sections of thread that measure the same width and thickness as the original two threads.
Grab the original thread sections and overlap their tails with the new section’s head. Just ensure the tops of the heads extend out further than the tails to fully secure the new threads in the correct place.
Continuously twist until the new and older thread sections are twisted together. Now, you should have a longer piece of rope.
Now that you have twisted the threads together, you must tie off the rope.
If you’re happy with the rope’s length, grab the end and tie a strong knot so the rope won’t become unraveled. Some materials, such as nylon, can be burnt on the end to mold them together securely.
You’re almost there! This is where you trim off the excess rope.
Most of the time, you will find there is some excess piece of thread poking out from the rope. This is especially evident with plant fibers such as straw or hemp.
Simply cut off any of this excess to tidy up the rope. You can repeat this process before twisting the two ropes together if you want to make an even stronger and thicker rope.
There it is! Your new handmade rope!
Reverse Wrap Method
There are other ways to make a rope and here is a quick method using a reverse wrap
Firstly, gather which materials you want to use for the reverse wrap method. This is similar to the twisting process.
Next, tie a knot and then divide the threads into two separate sections.
The threads should be tied together into a neat, single bundle before being divided into two sections that meet at the knot.
Here, you need to twist the threads and wrap the sections.
This is the reverse wrap method where you grab the top of the threads near the knot and then with your dominant hand, hold the section that is the furthest from you.
Twist this section away from you and move it over the top of the second section back toward you with your non-dominant hand before securing.
With your dominant hand, take the new section and repeat this twisting and wrapping until secure.
You need to take the ends and knot them together.
You must alternate between your two sections until you get to the end of the thread. Twist away from you and then cross the section before securing the cord into place using your non-dominant hand.
Once you reach the end, knot these ends together so the rope is secure.
And there you have it! Another way to make a rope!
Although a little fiddly to do at first, rope making is far easier than many would believe. With the right materials and tools, you should be able to create a strong rope for various tasks.
In the future, you can experiment with different materials to see which one suits you and your rope best.