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Key Keepers

Key Keepers

Description:  The Key Keepers on this page are 6 designs that can be used as key rings, or as decorations on other handcrafted items.

All of these Macrame patterns feature picots, which are small loops at the sides of the knot design.  They are all made with Square Knots (SK).

This is a good project for children to learn one of the basic knots frequently used in Macrame. 

In the examples shown I used nylon Paracord.   When using this material, make sure an Adult heats the ends with a flame to melt the fabric.  Otherwise, the inner core will come out.  It's a good idea to add tape on the tips as well.

Heating is also needed after you tie the finishing knots.

Supplies Needed:
  • 2mm to 4mm cord material
  • Project Board and pins
  • Beads for designs 5 and 6
  • Fabric Glue
Knots Used:


Mounting Instructions

All the Key Keepers described below begin with mounting two cords to a ring. Each should be at least 36 inches long.

This is how you make a Larks Head knot:

Step A
<< Step A:  Fold one cord in half and place it through the ring with the fold heading toward you.

Step B:  Bring the ends down and under the folded area.  Tighten by pulling on both ends firmly.    >>
Step B


Square Knot Instructions

All the Key Keepers described below use the Square Knot (SK) as part of the design.  Mentally number the four cords.

The working cords are 1 and 4.  The fillers are 2 and 3.   

Step 1
 <<  Step 1: Move cord 1 to the right, passing over 2 and 3 (fillers), and under cord 4.

Step 2: Move cord 4 under the fillers and over cord 1, as you pull it out on the left.   >>
Step 2

Step 3
<<  Step 3:  Move cord 1, which is now on the right.  It should pass over the fillers and under cord 4.

Step 4:  Bring cord 4 under the fillers and over cord 1, as you pull it to the right. >>
Step 4

Macrame Cord Divider

Basic Picot Design

The first step to making Key Keepers is to decide how you want to arrange the picots.  For this first design, I'll show you a very basic way to alternate sizes.

Start by attaching 2 cords to a ring as described in the mounting instructions.

First SK

Step 1:  Tie the first Square Knot just below the mounting knots.

Leave a 1-inch space. Tie the second Square Knot, and tighten it firmly.

Push the second SK up so it rests just below the first one.  This forms the first set of picot loops.

Next Picot

Step 2:  To change the size of the next two picots, leave a 1.5 to 2-inch space.  Tie the Square Knot, and then push it up to rest next to the 2nd SK.

Step 3:  Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the key ring is the size you need.  

Finishing:  You can finish the ends by adding beads, and/or finishing knots, such as the Barrel Knot


Tree Shape

Key Keepers are great gifts for the holidays, particularly this design.  It's shaped like a Christmas Tree, and you can finish it so it has a wrapped "trunk" at the bottom.  You can also add small beads before you tie each Square Knot, to decorate the tree.

Start by attaching the cords to a ring as described in the mounting instructions.

Small Space

Step 1:  Tie one Square knot, which should rest next to the mounting knots. 

Leave a 1/2-inch space and tie the second SK.  Move it up to rest next to the first one. The picots will be very small.

Larger Space

Step 2: Leave a 1 inch space, and tie the next Square Knot.

Move it up, forming the next set of picots, which will be larger.

More Space

Step 3:  Leave a 1.5 inch space, and tie the next Square knot.   Move it up to form the next picots.

Repeat this process at least 2 more times, increasing the space between the knots.  I recommend you  increase by 1/2-inch each time.

Wrap Ends

Step 4:  Wrap one end around the others 3 - 4 times to form the "trunk".

Pull a portion of the last wrap to the side, forming a loop, and push the end through it.

Half Hitch

Step 5:  Select a different cord.  Bring it around the other three cords, tying a Half Hitch as shown in this image. 

Finishing:  I recommend you tie a tight finishing knot with the four cords.  Apply glue as you tighten it. 

Key Keepers need to be finished well so they hold up with use.   See the options listed in Learn Macrame.

Macrame Cord Divider

Direction Change

Key Keepers can be made so the picot loops are on one side or the other. In this design, the loops change direction. 

You can combine them with picots on both sides (like the ones above), if you want to create your own special design.

This vintage pattern is frequently seen in Macrame projects of the 1800's. 

Start by mounting the cords to a ring as you did with the designs shown above. 

Step 1:  Tie a regular Square Knot so it rests next to the mounting knots.

First Picot

Tie the first half of a Square Knot (steps 1 and 2).

Pull a segment of the right working cord to the side and secure it with a pin.  

Tie the second half of the knot, and tighten it so it rests next to the first Square Knot. The picot will form on the right side only.

What makes this Square Knot pattern different from the other two shown above, is that there is no space between the knots. 

When you tighten each one, they should be next to each other.

Next Picot

Step 2:  Tie the next SK as you did the previous one.

When you tighten it, make sure the left edge is flat.

Change Sides

Step 3:  Now you can change sides if you wish.

Tie the first half of a Square knot, and then pull a portion of the left working cord to the side.
Tie the second half, making sure the right edge is flat and the knot rests below the one previously tied.

Step 4:  Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times, until the sennit is the size you want.

The ends of all these Key Keepers need to be finished, so use beads or other decorative knots on the ends. 


Beaded Key Keepers

The next two picot designs show what you can do with beads.

Design A
  Design A features picots above and below the beads. 

Design B features picots around the beads.
Design B

Design A

Mount the cords to a key ring.  Tie one SK under the mounting knots.

Leave a 1-inch space,  and tie the second one.  Push the knot up to form the picot. 

One Bead

Add a bead to the filler cords.   Tie the 3rd Square Knot, and tighten it firmly, so it rests under the bead.

Leave a 1-inch space, and tie the 4th SK.  Slide it up to form a picot.

Key Keepers look great if you finish the ends with beads.

Pandora style beads have a silver or gold lining, and are just the right size if you are using Paracord.

Design B

Mount the cords to a key ring.

Tie one SK so it rests just below the mounting knots. 

Bead on Fillers

Place a bead onto the filler cords.

Tie another Square Knot, tightening it so it rests 1-inch below the bead.

Slide it up so it rests against the bead, forming a picot.

Next Bead
Add another bead to the fillers.  Tighten it the same as the previous one if you want the picots to be the same size. 

Tighten the next SK 1.5 to 2 inches below the bead, if you want the picot to be larger

Slide it up to form the next picot.

Finishing:  Add beads and/or finishing knots to the ends.

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Have any comments about the Key Keepers? Contact Me.