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Monkey Fist

Monkey Fist

Description:  The Monkey Fist is an interesting decorative knot seldom used in Macrame patterns.   It's easy to construct, but challenging to tighten.  

You could use this technique in combination with a Buttonhole Clasp to make a closure for a belt or bracelet.

Try using this button knot as a pendant for a necklace, or make it with rope for a pet toy.   It can also be used as the head for an animal project.

Dowels were used in the example shown, but you can tie it around two fingers if you wish.

Monkey Key Chain

The Monkey Key Chain is an easy Macrame project featuring this knot. 

Click on the link or image to visit that page.

Preparation:  Cut one cord, at least 36 inches long. 

Arrange two dowels horizontally on you project board.  The one closest to you is considered the front dowel, and the other is the back (see image below).

Using dowels is the best way to practice the Monkey Fist, especially if you are a beginner.  After you have practiced a few times, you can wrap the cord around two fingers to construct the first and second set of wraps.

First Wrap

Step 1:  Secure the cord vertically on the right.

Use the working end to make three vertical wraps around both dowels, moving right to left. 

When you are finished, bring the working end between the two dowels (on the left).

Designer's Tip:  When you count the wraps, don't include the secured end.

Second Wrap

Step 2:   Wrap the working end around the previous wraps three times (horizontally). Make sure you go around both the top and bottom segments.

Start near the front dowel and move towards the back dowel (black arrows).

Important: Do not wrap around the secured end.

Left to Right

Step 3:  Pass the working end under the three segments that rest around the BACK dowel, from left to right.


Step 4:  Carefully remove both dowels from the Monkey Fist knot.

Turn it sideways, so the working end is on the left.

Secured End

Step 5:  Move the secured end so it's heading forward.

This step is optional, but it gives you both ends to tie additional knots. 

No matter which direction you place the secured end, do not wrap around it in the next step.

Third Wraps

Step 6:  Wrap the working end around the second set of wraps three times horizontally.

Start near the back of the knot, and move forward (towards you). 

The working end should come out from where it started (left) when you are through.


Step 7: Starting at the secured end (on the right), tighten each segment one at a time. 

Make sure the segments overlap as little as possible, and that you tighten them completely.  The Monkey Fist is supposed to be FIRM. 

Tightening Tips

  • The first set of wraps are the loose ones on the right and left.  You will tighten them first, followed by the other areas. 

  • Locate each segment by pulling gently on the loose one you are tightening. Observe the segments on the opposite side to see which one moves.  That's the next one you will move.

  • Once you know you have the right segment, pull it firmly to tighten the loose one completely.   It's really hard to go back a second time to remove slack from segments that were not tightened enough.

  • Gradually push the Monkey Fist into a round shape, particularly when tightening the second and third set of wraps. 

  • Finish off the ends in the manner most appropriate for your project. 

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Have any comments about the Monkey Fist? Contact Me.