How to Make a Macrame Bell Lanyard

Updated February 21, 2017

If you have a bell on your boat, either its presence is required or its presence lends an air of "nautical authenticity" to your vessel. In either case a ship's bell, regardless of the size of the ship, deserves a proper, seamanlike lanyard. Such a lanyard is the product of a skill called marlinspike seamanship, or it may be called macrame, a craft strongly resembling the more artistic forms of the art of knotting and splicing. Regardless of what you choose to call it, its presence enhances the appearance of any vessel.

Make a crown knot using two, doubled strands of rope. The loops formed by doubling the strands will serve to connect the lanyard to the clapper of the bell.

Turn and reverse the direction of the next crown knot (the method for tying a crown knot is described in Reference 1). If you laid the strands across each other in a counter-clockwise order, reverse the direction so that you are laying the strands across each other in a clockwise manner. Cross each strand over the strand next to it. Repeat until you near the end of the strands.

Tuck the ends of the strands back into the final crown knot. This will secure the end that will not be attached to the clapper and provide a slightly enlarged base on the chain sennit, making it ready to be finished.

Make a turkshead out of another piece of rope of the same diameter. (The method for turning a turkshead is described in Reference 3.) The turkshead should be slightly larger than the chain sennit, so that it can be "worked onto" the sennit, covering--and finishing--the end of the sennit.

Push the turkshead onto the sennit and begin to tighten the turkshead until it holds on the end of the chain sennit. Use a candle to melt together the two ends of the line from which the turkshead was made.

Turn a metal split ring into the loops on the free end. Turn the split ring onto the clapper of the bell.


If it doesn't work the first time, untie it and retie it again.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 strands of rope (each six times the desired length of the lanyard and of a diameter to fit through the hole in the clapper of the bell)
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About the Author

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.