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Sliding Clasps


Sliding Clasp

Sliding clasps are very popular closures for bracelets and necklaces. To use them, you must first understand the general concept of how these designs are constructed.

On this page are important tips and images to show you the basics.

Below those instructions are examples of different knots that can be used to make adjustable clasps for Macrame jewelry items.

Once you have practiced, try experimenting with your favorite decorative knots to create your own unique jewelry clasps.

In the examples shown, heavier cord was used than is normal for jewelry. So the clasps will appear larger than usual.



General Design Tips

Tip 1:  The decorative knot used to form the clasp needs to be the type that can be attached to one or more cords.

Square Knots

The knot is tied around the ends that were used to make the necklace or bracelet.

Square Knots are suitable because they are usually attached to other cords (fillers).

Any time you see the term HITCH in the name, that knot will likely work for sliding clasps.

Flat knots with open spaces can be used, simply by passing the cords through them, and then tightening.  

Look through the list of knots in the Learn Macrame section, and experiment with several types until you find one you like for your project.


Tip 2:  When using this type of clasp in any jewelry project, make sure you add extra material when you cut the cords.  Adding 6 - 12 inches is usually enough.

In order to use this type of closure for a necklace, it has to be passed over the head.

So you need extra material to make the circle large enough for your head to pass through.  This applies to bracelets as well.

Tip 3: You should start the bracelet or necklace design in the center, and work towards the ends.

This way the knots are balanced, and you are left with ends that are close to the same length.


Tip 4:  Once the bracelet or necklace design is finished, start the sliding clasp by making a circle with the ends crossed.

Then you add a separate cord to make the clasp.


Macrame Cord Divider

Basic Instructions

Below are some general instructions to show you the basic concept of sliding clasp designs.

These images are for bracelets, but the instructions are the same for necklace designs.

Arrange the necklace or bracelet in a circle, so the ends are crossed.

Cut 1 piece of material for the clasp. 

Place this cord under the crossed area.



Tie 2 or more knots around ALL the bracelet cords, which act as fillers or holding cords.

Square Knots were used in this example.

Be sure the knots are loose enough for the cords to be able to slide through easily.


Tip 5:  The two ends of the cord used to make the clasp need to be finished off somehow.

Below is one method:


Turn over the design, so you are working in the back of the clasp.

Tie the two ends together with an Overhand knot.  Make sure the knot is tight.  You can apply glue under the knot so it adheres to the clasp. 

Tip 6: Once the sliding clasp is finished, you must do something with the ends of the bracelet or necklace, so they can't slide out.  

You should first open and close the bracelet by pulling on the ends, to make sure they slide through easily.

Pull the ends so the jewelry item is in the closed position, with the clasp resting between the last knots tied in each half.


Finish the Ends

When everything is balanced, tie tight finishing knots with the endsYou can keep the ends together in groups, or tie the finishing knots with each cord.

Barrel Knots work the best, but other knots can be used to keep the ends from sliding out of the clasp.

Another option is to apply beads to the ends, followed by a Barrel knot.  You can add the beads to each cord, or onto groups of cords.

Tip 7:  Practice making sliding clasps with scrap cord before you try using them in necklace or bracelets. 

Even though you use fine material for the necklace, use heavy cord to practice (2mm or more). 

Does the design look good with thick cord? Then it should be fine with delicate material.


Examples of Sliding Clasps


Here are a few designs that show you how to create these types of decorative clasps.

The clasps were made with a different color, only so you could see the details better. 


Wrapped Knot Clasp

Wrapped Knot Clasp
The Wrapped Knot sliding clasp is by far the best one for jewelry.

The advantage to using this knot is that the ends can be cut off completely, once the knot is tightened.   This means you don't need to finish them off.

Arrange the bracelet in a circular shape with the ends straight, heading in opposite directions.

Arrange Ends
  Tie an Overhand knot at one end of the cord used to make the Wrapped knot.

Secure the knot next to the bracelet cords, on the right.

Move the cord left, fold it, and then bring it back to the right.  The long portion closest to you is used to tie the Wrapped knot.

  Wrap the working end (long) around the cords from the bracelet, as well as the secured end of the cord you are using.

Wrap firmly but not tightly, since the ends need to slide through the knot.  Progress from right to left, wrapping for at least 1/2-inch.

  Pass the working end through the folded area, which looks like a loop.

  Pull the secured end (with the knot). 

The loop and other end will be pulled inside the Wrapped Knot, securing it.  Make sure it's pulled about half way through the knot.

Pull the ends of the bracelet to be sure they slide through the knot easily. 

Trim both ends of the cord used to make the knot, so they are flush with the top and bottom edges.

Make sure you don't cut the others.

  Sliding clasps require additional knots and/or beads.

Pull the ends to close the bracelet.  Measure at least two inches from the Wrapped knot.

Barrel Knot
  Add a bead and tie a Barrel or Overhand knot at the spot measured.

This prevents the ends from sliding out of the clasp.


Macrame Cord Divider

Square Knot Clasp

Square Knot Clasp
Sliding clasps can be made using Square Knots.  Arrange the bracelet or necklace in a circle, crossing the ends.

Place the new cord for the clasp underneath the crossed area, and center it by matching the ends. 

First Half of SK  

Part 1: Tie the first half of the Square Knot

The bracelet or necklace cords act as the fillers.

Don't know how to tie a SK?  Click on the link to visit that page now.


2nd Half of SK  

Part 2: Tie the second half of the Square knot.

Repeat parts 1 and 2 at least two more times.

Tie More SK  

Finish off the ends of the cord used for the clasp. (See Tip 5) 

Do the same with the ends of the necklace or bracelet cords. (See Tip 6).


Macrame Cord Divider

Half Hitch Clasp

Half Hitch Clasp
The Half Hitch sliding clasp takes advantage of the raised area in the BACK of the knots.

So you need to turn the bracelet or necklace upside down, then arrange it in a circle with the ends crossed.
Half Hitch  

Secure the cord for the clasp under the crossed area.

Bring the lower portion over the ends, under them, and over the cord you are using.


Turn Clasp Over  

Tie at least 3 more Half Hitches in the same manner.

When you turn over the bracelet, you will see the raised design shown in this image.

Finish the off the ends (Tips 5 - 6).



Design Tip: You can also use an Alternating Half Hitch Pattern to make the clasp.

You would tie a Half Hitch with each end of the cord used to make the clasp, alternating back and forth.   In the example above, only one end was used.

This type of clasp is easier to make if you turn the bracelet or necklace sideways, so the sennit is made vertically (up and down).


Macrame Cord Divider

Larks Head Clasp

Larks Head Clasp
The Larks Head knot is another option you can use for sliding clasps.

Fold the Clasp Cord  

Cross the ends of the cords used to make the bracelet or necklace.

Fold a separate cord for the clasp in half. Slide it under the ends, so the fold is at the bottom.

First Larks Head  

Move the ends over the front of the bracelet cords, and under the folded portion of the clasp cord.

Pull on the ends to tighten the first Larks Head knot.


Design Tip: The knot you just tied is a typical Larks Head used as a mounting knot.

The next two need to be tied in two parts, just like a Vertical Larks Head:

Part A  

Part A: Move the right half of the cord over - under the ends of the bracelet.

Make sure you pass it over the clasp cord as you bring it down.


Part B  

Part B: Move the right half of the cord under the ends, and then over them.

As you pull it down, pass under the clasp cord.


Three Knots   Repeat parts A and B with the left half of the clasp cord.

Finish the ends of the clasp cord, as well as the bracelet or necklace cords (See Tips 5 and 6).

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Have any comments about any of these Sliding Clasps? Contact Me.

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