Instructions for tying a cargo net

Updated February 21, 2017

Cargo nets are used to secure cargo to a structure. Additional uses for a cargo net include an easy-to-climb net for children's play equipment, a retaining net for storing cloths or bags, or for supporting lightweight items from the ceiling. You can purchase netting of various sizes and shapes from hardware and supply stores, or you can make one using rope and scissors. The hardest part to tying a cargo net is the formation of the knots.

Cut the first strand of rope. Choose rope that you feel will support the product you will be carrying. Stretch the rope from one corner of the area that will be covered by the cargo net to the other corner on the same side. Cut your rope with an extra 20 per cent of length. For example, if the length is 5 feet, or 60 inches, the rope should be 60 inches plus 20 per cent, or 12 inches, making it 72 inches. This is the vertical rope.

Cut the top rope in the same way as Step 1 but going from the top right corner to the top left corner. Add the 20 per cent to the measurement and cut the rope accordingly. You want extra rope to make the knots without sacrificing the length or height of the cargo net so you can cut the rope long if you want. You will be able to trim excess off. This is the horizontal rope.

Cut additional lengths of ropes for both Steps 1 and 2. Keep them separated by length unless you are making a square cargo net.

Tie the first corner to be positioned in the top right using one vertical rope and one horizontal. Use a normal overhand knot: Grasp the two ropes together, make a loop, and feed the ends of the ropes through the loop. Pull the knot tight, leaving the ends exposed by 1 to 2 inches.

Mark the location of the next knot of the vertical rope several inches down from the first knot. The distance you go should be not be greater than the size of the object the net will be carrying. For example, if you will be using the net to store golf balls, you want to go down about half the width of a golf ball or 1 inch. Should you use the net to store bean bags, you can go down 6 to 8 inches to the next knot.

Attach a new horizontal rope to the vertical rope at the location marked in Step 5. Tie the two ropes using a normal square knot: Twist one rope around the other one time. Loop the ropes back over each other to make a circle and twist the same rope around the other rope again by bringing it over the other rope and back through the circle. Pull the knot tight.

Repeat Step 6 at equal spaces along the first vertical rope. End the vertical rope with an overhand knot. The overhand knot is used on each corner. Attach a second vertical rope to the first horizontal rope with another square knot. The second vertical rope should be spaced as far apart from the first vertical rope as the horizontal ropes are spaced. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 for each vertical rope until you reach the bottom left corner.


Secure the corners of the ropes with something heavy to keep the net stretched out as you construct it. This will make it easier to see the spacing and adjust as necessary. You can use a needle and thread and place a stitch in each knot to make sure the knot does not come undone.

Things You'll Need

  • Rope
  • Scissors or other cutting implement
  • Marker
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