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 Fish Bone Designs

Standard Fish Bone

Beaded Fish Bone

Standard Fish Bone

Beaded Fish Bone

Description:  Fish Bone Designs are vintage Square knot patterns featuring picots. Three or more working cords are used in an alternating pattern, to form the interlocked picot loops.

When using this decorative knot in a Macrame project, you must have at least two colors to show the details.   When practicing, try to use three colors.

On this page are the Standard Fish Bone and the Beaded variation.  They are not tied the same way, so be sure to practice both.

These designs are suitable for belts, bracelets, plant hangers, purse straps, etc.

Make sure you know how to tie Square Knots before you get started.

Standard Fish Bone

Standard Fish Bone

You need three 2-yard working cords to practice both Fish Bone Designs, along with a 1-yard filler cord.

To use these designs in a project without a loop, use 8 individual cords, so you don't need to fold them.   You start in the center and work towards the ends in both directions.


Step 1:  Fold the filler cord in half and secure it vertically.

Place one of the working cords underneath, and match the ends to balance it.  Secure it at the center.

First Cord

Step 2:  Use the working cord to tie a Square Knot.

The image shows the first half of the knot.

Three Cords

Step 3:  Repeat steps 1 and 2, adding the other two working cords below the first knot.

Mentally number the working cords 1 - 3, in the order they were attached.

Cord 1

Step 4:  Move cords 2 and 3 to the sides.

Bring working cord 1 forward, passing it over the other two cords.  Then use it to tie the next Square Knot.

Tighten it loosely.


Step 5:  Form the picot loop by pulling firmly on the area between the two knots made by cord 1.

This will tighten the 4th knot you just tied.

Important:  When making Fish Bone Designs, it's important to keep the picots the same size, so the width will be the same all the way down.

Use tape or draw guide lines on either side of the sennit, and pull the picots out to the marked areas.

Cord 2

Step 6:  Repeat steps 4 - 5 using working cord 2.

Make sure cord 2 passes over the other two as you move it into place (both sides).

Cord 3

Step 7:  Move working cord 3 into position, passing over cords 1 and 2.

Repeat steps 4 - 5 to make the next SK.


Step 8:  Repeat steps 4 - 7 at least one more time, using all 3 working cords again.


Beaded Fish Bone

Beaded Fish Bone

The two Fish Bone Designs on this page use different techniques.  This pattern is designed specifically for items where you want to add beads. 

The cords are used in reverse order compared to the standard Fish Bone.

The first set of picots in this pattern are different from the ones you make lower down.  You will see this in the images below. 

To create a Macrame project where the picots need to be the same, you can use 8 individual cords and start in the center, working towards the ends.

Three Cords

Step 1:  Repeat steps 1 - 3 in the pattern above, attaching 3 working cords to the filler cord.

Cord 3

Slide a bead onto both halves of the filler cord.

Move working cord 3 around the bead and tie the next Square Knot.  Tighten it loosely.


Step 2:  Form the picot by pulling outward on cord 3 in the area on either side of the bead.

For this Fish Bone Design, the picots are different sizes, and can be made as large as you want. 

Cord 2

Step 3:  Use working cord 2 next.  Move it around the previous knot, passing over cord 3 on both sides.

Tie the SK, then pull outward to form the picots.  They should be slightly larger, and surround the first ones.

Cord 1

Step 4:  Select working cord 1 and move it around the others, passing it over cords 2 and 3.

Tie the SK and pull outward to form the picots.  They should be large enough to surround those made with the other cords. 


Step 5:  Place a bead on the filler cords.

Repeat steps 1 - 4
one more time. 

To continue, repeat this step again.  Fish Bone Designs look better if they are longer than they are wide.

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Have any comments about the Fish Bone Designs? Contact Me.

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Priscilla Bead Work