As a hobby, I measure out a dozen feet or so of string and tie it into a bracelet. I make quite a few of them, usually finishing the ends off with a small tassel, and then I give them away. (If you're wondering why you got one, all I can say is "Who knows?" Either you expressed interest, or smiled at me, or maybe you were just near at hand when I finished it. Enjoy.) I make them pretty quickly, and usually give away as many as I make. They generally go to kids, but anyone is welcome to have one. I find it very soothing to work with a bit of cotton string -- it actually helps me concentrate better when I'm engaged in conversations or attending concerts or shows.
I have conducted numerous workshops for kids to make their own string bracelets, at the conventions I attend. While I do charge for jewelry workshops, I teach the string bracelets to anyone who is interested in learning, using simple tools that make it very easy. Children as young as eight years old have used them quite successfully, in fact. The tools that I use to create jewelry are similar, and are available here on my website, along with an instructional DVD which provides all the guidance most people need in order to acquire and refine their new skills. However, many prefer in-person instructions, which is what makes the workshops so popular.
Very often, people will ask "How much?" I point out that since I give these away in person, I cannot, in all conscience, ask for payment from any recipient. If you want me to mail one to you, though, I'll charge $10 plus postage and handling. (Continental United States only, sorry!)
I do make some fancy ones that go for $20 or more, depending on how fancy they are, how much trouble I went to in making them, or some other factor at the time. Generally this involves hand-dyed string, or unusual patterns. Again, you'd have to catch me in person to see what I've got on hand, but you can see some examples at the bottom of this page.
If you look around at any of the conventions or dances that I have attended, you will probably see at least a few folks sporting these as bracelets. If you have glanced through the photo folders here on my site, you may have noticed them on the wrists of some of the individuals in the pictures.
If you like, you can go to my Facebook page that keeps track of bracelets "in the wild", so to speak, and see pictures and comments from folks who've spotted them in passing, or who wish to show the ones I've given them.
If you want a cotton Turk's-head bracelet of your own, come and find me in person at some convention, dance, or art show, and ask for one, or, if you must order one, click the button:
White Cotton Turk's-head Bracelet:
In the meantime, feel free to explore the part of the site where I have placed illustrated directions on making them, and learn to do your own:
In teaching kids how to make bracelets in string, I've been working my way toward easier and easier teaching props, and I've come up with patterns that can be wrapped around those styrofoam "noodle" pool toys and used as a guide for the Turk's-head knots I use. There are several, here are a couple of examples found on that page: five-lead by nine-bight knot and the seven-lead by nine-bight knot.
Print the pattern out with no scaling and it should be just about the right size to wrap around the noodle. Put toothpicks into the loops, no particular precision required, then follow the over and under pattern of the knot with string.
Once you get back to the starting point, pull it off the cylinder and run more string through, next to the first pass, and tighten it up to the desired size. Practice until you get it right. Oh, and never tighten it down on someone's wrist -- always leave some slack.
Okay, here's a pile of fancy bracelets, hand-dyed cotton seine twine, mostly #18 and #24, various colors, and a few bits of mixed-up string.
Sometimes I finish a bracelet in white cotton (like the one at the top of this page) and then dye it. This is interesting enough, but if I then re-size it, the colors shift around. Look at this one:
Here's an even fancier one:
Here's one that I've finished dyeing, but haven't shaped into a bracelet yet:
Okay, several people have asked me about these, and offered to buy them, so I'll see how this works out. If you would like a fancy-colored bracelet, it's $25; you can click this "buy" button and I'll send you one.
They're all different, and they're all the same... so I don't know for sure what you'll end up with. Small ones for kids, big ones for adults.
Here's the way I make the tassel knot to join the ends. It's a "Matthew Walker" knot.
Many times the questions comes up of where I get my string (R&W Rope Warehouse) and how it comes to be so soft and pliable for making bracelets. In the picture below you will see three pounds of cotton seine twine (#18, if you were wondering) in various stages. It comes to me in a tightly wrapped ball, of course. I unwind it completely and turn it into a big loose skein, then I put it into a lingerie bag to run through the wash. You can see where I seized the skein in sections to keep it from becoming hopelessly tangled. After washing, I ball it again, loosely, in sections small enough that they'll fit into the pocket of my cargo pants.
When I'm out and about, I often teach kids how to make their own bracelets. Not just children, though, as I tell the organizers at shows "ages eight and up!". I use a short section of swimming-pool noodle, that soft foam stuff, and wrap a picture of the knot around it, pegged in place with toothpicks to give stability to the string while it's being followed. I've decided to offer them on my tools page, to be ordered through PayPal. The kit comes with several different patterns and enough string to make a couple of bracelets. I'll also offer a "party pack" with half a dozen sets and plenty of extra string. Here's a YouTube video that demonstrates how one of the patterns works: