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 Fish Bone Designs

Standard Fish Bone

Beaded Fish Bone

Standard Fish Bone

Beaded Fish Bone

Description:  Fish Bone Designs are Square knot patterns with picots, and can be made any size.  When using this decorative knot in a Macrame project, you must have at least two colors to really show the details.  

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 are considered common vintage knots, suitable for belts, bracelets, plant hangers, purse straps and more.  They are similar to the Square Knot Weave listed separately.

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

Standard Fish Bone

Standard Fish Bone

You need 4 cords to practice both Fish Bone Designs, with 3 working cords and 1 filler cord.    I recommend the cords be at least 60 inches long.  The filler cord can be shorter than the others.

To make these picot designs without a loop at the top, use 8 individual cords, so you don't need to fold them. 

Start in the center and work towards the ends.


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

Place one of the working cords under it 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 the ends of cords 2 and 3 to the sides.

Bring the ends of cord 1 down, passing it over the ends of the others on both sides.

Use cord 1 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 (cord 1). 

This will tighten the 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 to the marked areas.

Cord 2

Step 6:  Use cord 2 next, and repeat steps 4 and 5.

Make sure cord 2 passes over the ends of cord 3 and cord 1 as you move it into place (both sides).

Cord 3

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

Repeat steps 4 and 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 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 they need to be the same, you can use 8 individual cords and start in the center, working towards the ends.

Three Cords

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

Cord 3

Step 1:  Slide a bead onto both ends of the filler cord.

Move the ends of cord 3 below the bead and tie the next Square Knot.  Tighten it loosely.


Step 2:  Form the picot by pulling outward on cord 1 in the area on either side of the bead.

For this Fish Bone Design, the picots are different sizes, and can be made large or small.  Just make sure they are as round as possible.

Cord 2

Step 3:  Use cord 2 next.  Move it down below the previous knot, passing over the ends of cord 3 on both sides.

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

Cord 1

Step 4:  Use cord 1 next.  As you move it down, pass it over the ends of 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:  Repeat steps 1 - 4 at least one more time.

Fish Bone Designs look better if they are long.

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

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Priscilla Bead Work