How to Make Handfasting Cords: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Making handfasting cords involves choosing the right materials and braiding them together to create a symbol of commitment and unity. Now, let’s delve into the aspects of making handfasting cords that will make them special and meaningful for your ceremony.

Handfasting is an ancient celtic tradition that symbolizes the binding of two people in love and commitment. It involves tying cords around the couple’s hands, representing their unity and mutual devotion. The cords can be made of different materials and colors, each representing a different aspect of the couple’s journey together.

Making your own handfasting cords can add a personal touch to your ceremony and provide a lasting memento of your special day. In this article, we will discuss the different steps involved in making handfasting cords and the materials you can use to create them.

How to Make Handfasting Cords: A Step-by-Step Guide.


Materials Required

Handfasting is an ancient celtic tradition in which two individuals come together in commitment and are bound together, symbolizing the unity of their lives. One of the key components of this ritual is the handfasting cords that are used to bind the couple’s hands.

If you’re interested in crafting your own handfasting cords, this step-by-step guide will show you how to do it.

Types Of Cords

Choosing the right type of cord is crucial, given that the cords will represent a couple’s union and last for a lifetime. Here are various types of cords you can choose from:

  • Satin cord
  • Nylon cord
  • Braided leather cord
  • Hemp cord
  • Twisted cotton cord

Types Of Yarns And Ribbons

Choosing the right yarns and ribbons for your cords will enhance their elegance and beauty. These options will also ensure that your cords match the theme of your matrimony. Here are some options:

  • Satin ribbon
  • Tulle ribbon
  • Silk ribbon
  • Twine yarn
  • Crochet yarn
  • Embroidery floss

Other Common Materials

In addition to using different types of cords, adding elements like beads, charms, and feathers to your cords will enhance their uniqueness. Here are some other materials to consider including:

  • Glass, crystal or wooden beads
  • Charms with love symbols
  • Lace or colorful fabric
  • Feathers or dried flowers
  • Embellishments like tassels and small ornaments.

Making handfasting cords will be a delightful experience for you and will add an extra layer of symbolism to your special day. Do not forget to choose the materials that complement each other to ensure a perfect outcome that will reflect your personalities.

Preparing The Cords

Handfasting is a beautiful and symbolic way to celebrate the unity of two people. The cords used in this ceremony are an integral part of the ritual and carry significant meaning. Making your own handfasting cords can add an extra touch of sentimentality to the occasion.

In this guide, we will take you through the steps involved in preparing the cords before the ceremony.

Measuring The Cords

The first step in preparing handfasting cords is measuring the required length. Standard cords are usually around six feet in length, but this can vary depending on the couple’s preference. Here are the key points you need to follow:

  • Measure the length of the cords by placing one end on your shoulder and dragging the other end to your opposite leg.
  • Add extra length to the cord if you want to incorporate knots or braids.
  • Be sure to have extra cord length for tying the knot or braids.
  • Consider using different colored yarns or ribbons to create a unique look for the cords.

Cutting The Cords To The Required Length

Once you have measured the required length, it’s time to cut the cords. Here are the key points you need to follow:

  • Using sharp scissors, cut the cords to the required length ensuring that the ends are straight.
  • If you’re working with a group, make sure everyone has the same cord length.
  • Seal the cut ends with a flame or glue to prevent fraying.
  • Handle the cords carefully to ensure they remain straight and tangle-free.

Preparing The Yarns And Ribbons

The final step in preparing handfasting cords is to add yarns and ribbons to create a unique and personalized look. Here are the key points you need to follow:

  • Cut the yarn or ribbons to the same length as the cords.
  • Tie the yarn or ribbon to each cord tightly using a knot or a bow.
  • Alternate colors or patterns to add interest and meaning.
  • Avoid using synthetic material as it can melt when touched by a flame during the ceremony.

Now that you have your handfasting cords sorted, it’s time to move on to the next step of the process. Keep in mind that these cords are a significant part of the ceremony, so take your time and ensure they are prepared with love and care.

Braiding The Cords

Once you have prepared the rope for braiding, it is time to start. Braiding cords is a relaxing and intuitive process; after a few practices, you will find a rhythm and get creative with the patterns you create. Here are the types of braids commonly used for handfasting cords and a step-by-step guide on how to make them.

Types Of Braids

  • Three-stranded braid: Known as a classic braid, this is the most straightforward braiding technique. Once braided, you can add beads, charms or knots along the length of the cord.
  • Four-stranded braid: This braid is slightly more complex than the three-stranded version, but creates a beautifully textured cord. This braid can be used as a decorative knot to add interest and dimension to the cords.
  • Five-stranded braid: This braid is more challenging than the previous braids and creates a flatter, wider cord with a uniform braid pattern. This braid can look stunning by using different rope colors to create intricate patterns or by adding beads during the braiding process.

Step-By-Step Guide To Braiding The Cords

  • Step 1: Choose the number of strands you want to use for your braid and cut three equal lengths of rope so that the finished cord length is twice the length you want to end up with.
  • Step 2: To make a three-stranded braid, take the three lengths of rope and knot them together at one end.
  • Step 3: Secure the knotted end of the rope to a stationary object or hold it still with your foot on top.
  • Step 4: To start braiding, bring the right-hand strand over the middle rope. When the right-hand rope is now the middle rope, take the left-hand rope and bring it over the middle rope.
  • Step 5: Continue this braiding process, alternating right-hand and left-hand ropes, until you reach the desired length.
  • Step 6: To finish the braid, tie the three strands together with an overhand knot.

Tips For Braiding

  • Always keep tension on the cords to avoid loose and messy braids.
  • Be careful not to twist the cords while braiding to create clean and neat cords.
  • Use tape to secure the knotted end of the rope to a stationary object so that the braid doesn’t come loose.
  • Experiment with different colors and textures to create unique and personalized cords.
  • Practice braiding techniques in advance, so you know what to expect and can create cords that are not only beautiful but also secure.

With these simple and straightforward instructions, you can easily create beautiful and durable handfasting cords. Remember to experiment with different braiding patterns and cord materials to create meaningful and unique cords for your special day.

Decorating The Cords

One of the essential steps in making handfasting cords is adding personal touches, such as beads, charms and special symbols. These embellishments can add meaning to your cords and make them unique to your special day. Here are some decoration ideas for your handfasting cords:

Adding Beads And Charms

  • Choose beads that complement your cord’s color scheme and tie them on the ends.
  • Consider adding personalized charms, such as initials or a heart, that represent you and your partner.
  • Add a pop of color by using colored beads in between the knots.

Incorporating Special Symbols

  • Think about what symbols represent you and your partner, such as an infinity symbol, a heart, or a favorite animal.
  • If you have a specific theme for your wedding, try to incorporate symbols that represent it.
  • Use embroidery floss to stitch a favorite symbol along the length of the cord.

Wrapping The Cords With Fabric

  • Wrap the cords with a ribbon or fabric that matches your wedding colors.
  • Use a fabric with a special meaning, such as a family tartan or a vintage lace inherited from a relative.
  • Add a personalized touch by embroidering your names or wedding date onto the fabric.

Remember to keep in mind the significance behind each embellishment you add to your cords. Your handfasting cords are a symbol of your commitment and love, and by adding personal touches, you create a keepsake that you can cherish for years to come.

Finishing The Cords

Handfasting cords are an essential part of any handfasting ceremony, symbolizing the union between two individuals. It’s important to create cords that are not only beautiful but also sturdy enough to withstand the test of time. In this guide, we will take you through the process of finishing handfasting cords, ensuring they will be a cherished keepsake for years to come.

Tying The Ends Of The Cord

When it comes to tying the ends of your handfasting cords, there are several options to consider. Here are a few popular methods:

  • Simple knot: Tie a simple knot at the end of each cord and trim away any excess. This is a quick and easy option for a neat finish.
  • Beads: Add a decorative bead or charm to the end of each cord and tie a knot to secure it in place. This adds a personal touch and can complement the overall design of the cords.
  • Tassels: Create tassels at the end of each cord by knotting and trimming away excess material. This adds a decorative and elegant finish to the cords.

Sealing The Ends Of The Cord

Sealing the ends of your handfasting cords will help prevent fraying and keep them looking their best. Here are a few methods for sealing the ends:

  • Lighter: Use a lighter to carefully singe the ends of the cords. Be sure to hold the cord at a safe distance and move the flame quickly to avoid overheating and breaking the fibers.
  • Glue: Apply a small amount of fabric glue to the end of each cord, then use your fingers to roll and seal the edges. Be sure to allow the glue to dry completely before use.
  • Clear nail polish: Apply a thin coating of clear nail polish to the ends of the cords. This will protect them from fraying and give them a glossy finish.

Ensuring Knot Strength

To ensure the strength and durability of the knots in your handfasting cords, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Test: Before using the cords in your ceremony, give each knot a firm tug to make sure it’s securely tied.
  • Double knots: Consider tying double knots for added strength and security.
  • Trim excess: Be sure to trim away any excess cord after tying knots to prevent tangling and ensure a neat finish.

With these finishing tips, your handfasting cords are sure to be a beautiful and lasting symbol of your union.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Make Handfasting Cords

What Is Handfasting?

Handfasting is a pagan custom of symbolic spiritual unity. It’s a tradition where couples temporarily or permanently join their hands using a cord.

What Is A Handfasting Cord?

A handfasting cord is a cord that is made to be used in handfasting ceremonies. It is used to tie the hands of the couple together during the ceremony.

What Materials Do I Need To Make Handfasting Cords?

You will need three pieces of cord, each about 3 yards long, and a pair of scissors. Natural fibers such as cotton, wool, silk, hemp or jute are recommended for making handfasting cords.

How Do I Braid The Handfasting Cord?

To braid a handfasting cord, you first need to knot the three cords together at one end and then braid them while tying knots along the way. The knots not only add to the beauty of the cord but also act as stoppers for the braid.

Can I Personalize My Handfasting Cord?

Yes, you can personalize your handfasting cord by adding different colored cords or beads. You can also incorporate objects that are meaningful to you as a couple, such as feathers, seashells, or crystals. Just make sure that whatever you add to the cord it does not outweigh the cords itself.


As you can see, making handfasting cords can be both meaningful and fun. Whether you decide to use traditional colors or incorporate your own personal touch, the result will be a beautiful cord that will add depth and significance to your handfasting ceremony.

Remember, the cords symbolize your union, so take the time to create something that represents you and your partner. With these simple steps and a little creativity, you can easily create a beautiful handfasting cord that will be a cherished part of your wedding ceremony.

So, get to work and let your imagination run wild. Your handfasting cords will be a beautiful reminder of your love for years to come!

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