How To Tie A Half Knot

Half knots are simple binding knots that are not secure. They are often used to construct the beginning of other, more complex knots, like the square knot.

Half knots, when used alone, are most common in macrame and other crafts. They are great for securing macrame cords. Artists use them to make decorative plant hangers, bracelets, and other jewelry.

Follow the simple directions below to learn how to tie a half knot.

What Is A Half Knot?

A half knot is a simple binding knot. It makes up the basis of the square knot, otherwise known as the reef knot.

The half knot is not secure, so you should never use it for critical loads. For binding, you must always secure the knot around an object; never tie it in the air.

These knots can capsize into a half hitch if not tied correctly. Half hitches are less secure and will slip.

How To Tie A Half Knot

How to tie a half knot tutorial

Tying a half knot doesn’t have to be complicated; just follow the four simple steps below. Begin with two ropes and a support structure.

Step 1:

Half Knot step 1

Overlap the working end and the standing end over the support structure. Doing so creates a loop around the support.

Step 2:

Half Knot step 2

Pass the working end under the standing part.

Step 3:

Half Knot step 3

Pull the working end upward.

Step 4:

Half Knot step 4

Pull both ends creating the loop simultaneously to tighten the knot.

Notice that you’ll make a symmetrical knot while tying. Having a symmetrical knot is crucial because the knot won’t bind other

Uses Of The Half Knot

The half knot is mostly used for macrame and other decorative purposes.

Half Knot Macrame

Half knots are popular in macrame, an art form that uses cords to create designs. Macrame artists tie a half knot around a central core comprising at least two strands.

Macrame artists often refer to half knots by different names. A “spiral” or “banister bar” is a design created with repeating identical half knots. A “Solomon bar” design is tied with half knots that alternate lefts and rights.

Other Uses Of The Half Knot

The half knot has a variety of other purposes, including:

  • Making friendship bracelets
  • Making half knot jewelry
  • Tying scarves and bandanas

Knots Similar To The Half Knot

How to tie a half knot step by step

There are several knots like the half knot, including:

Square (Reef) Knot: Knot tyers often make two half knots to make a more secure knot. Doing so creates a square knot.

To do this, you’ll simply tie another half knot after the first one. Knowing which way you tied the first knot is essential before beginning the second one. You must tie the second knot the opposite way.

For example, imagine you tie the first knot “right over left.” Then, you’ll need to tie the second knot “left over right.”

How you tie these knots determines which knot you can turn them into. Half knots tied in the opposite direction creates a square knot. Half knots tied in the same direction creates a granny knot.

Overhand Knot: An overhand knot makes up the basis of a half knot. It is a simple foundation knot that is the beginning of other, more complex knots. You’ll most often use an overhand knot as a stopper knot to prevent fraying and unraveling.

Half Hitch: A more complex version of the overhand knot. One end of the rope passes around an object and then secures to its standing part.


When Was The Half Knot Invented?

It’s not clear exactly why and how the half knot was invented, but the first mention of it occurred in 1913.

What Are Other Popular Knots In Macrame?

The half knot is one of the most used knots in macrame. Still, there are six other basic knots that all macrame artists should know:

Lark’s Head Knot — attaches cords to a dowel or ring
Reverse Lark’s Head Knot — attaches cords to a dowel or ring
Square Knot — used to create sennits
Half Hitch Knot
Double Half Hitch Knot
Horizontal Half Hitch Knot
Diagonal Half Hitch Knot
Vertical Double Half Hitch Knot — good for adding contrasting colors
Overhand Knot — good for securing cords at the end of a braid
Gathering Knot — a decorative way to gather several cords together

About the author
Kaylee is a content creator and copywriter who has taken an interest in the creation of knots and their uses.