How to Tie a Gallow Noose

Updated July 20, 2017

Hanging has existed as a form of capitol punishment for thousands of years. Gallows were the cheapest and cleanest way to do away with dangerous criminals.

Hanging knots can be called "gallow knots" or "nooses". These knots make eerie decorations for Halloween parties and good examples for presentations on capitol punishment. Nooses are tied this way to ensure that the knot doesn't slip, and that they can be positioned to snap the neck cleanly when the condemned is dropped.

Cut a length of rope to about 10 feet.

Lay your rope out on a flat surface.

Fashion an "Z" with one end of your rope. Make sure the top bar of the "Z" is at least 2 feet longer than the bottom bar.

Compress the curve. At the end of this step, you should have a length of rope with a "Z" bend followed by 2 feet of rope.

Double-back your 2-foot piece of rope. Stick your finger in the bottom-right corner of your compressed "Z."

Wrap the 2 feet of rope around your compressed "Z" creating a tightly compressed coil.

Slide the remaining rope through the loop at the top of your coil. This is really the left corner of your "Z."

Pull the bottom corner of your "Z" out. This is the loop where you put your finger. Pull out just enough to form the gallow knot. This should be just enough to look like a hangman's noose.


Gallow knots are NOT toys. Do not ever put your neck in one. Keep gallow knots away from children.

Things You'll Need

  • Rope
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About the Author

Austin Cross began writing professionally in 2007, with work appearing on the websites for KAPU Radio and CBS Radio. He specializes in restoration of vintage studio electronics including microphones, radios, tape players and record players. Cross received his Bachelor of Arts in music theory and composition from Azusa Pacific University.