How to Tie Surf Sailor Bracelets

Updated July 20, 2017

Surf or sailor bracelets are braided works of jewlery made from cord or rope. They have been around for centuries. Sailors often wore them and used them to wipe their brows while swabbing decks. The bracelets were made popular again by "Comet's Nine Lives," a children's book by Jan Brett. You will make this bracelet on your wrist and tie it off on your arm. It will remain there until the cord wears out and breaks.

Wrap the end of the string around your wrist twice. Use tape to secure the cord in place. You will need the long end later to weave back into itself and finish the bracelet.

Take the long end of the cord, and roll it into a ball. You'll unravel it as you go. Pull the cord under the right string and over the left.

Pull the long portion of the string to the left, and hold it there with your hand. With your other hand, cross the middle strand over the right strand and hold it in place. Take longer left string and thread it under the middle strand and over the right. You've just made your first knot in your sailor's bracelet.

Start the process again by threading the long part of the cord under the centre cord and over the left. Hold that cord to the left, and cross the other two strings. Push the long end back through the knot. Continue threading the long end into the braid until it's completely around your wrist.

Start another braid. Push the long end of the cord back through the braid in the same pattern. Continue the same pattern for three or four braids until you're satisfied with the size and look of your bracelet.

Once you've completed the number of braids you want for your bracelet, remove the tape from the beginning of the process. Tie that end where it meets the long portion of the cord. Use scissors to cut off excess cord.


These bracelets will shrink when they get wet, so don't make your bracelet too tight.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • 3 yards of nylon/hard cotton cord
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About the Author

Traci Bridges is a veteran newspaper editor and reporter. She earned her bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in print journalism from The University of Alabama. She began writing for the "Morning News," a daily newspaper in South Carolina, in 1998. Since then, her work has appeared in several other publications including the "Winston-Salem Journal," "Tampa Tribune" and "AARP Magazine."