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{DIY} Fishtail Bracelet

DIY Fishtail BraceletsThese DIY fishtail bracelets were a product of my impatience. I ordered a bunch of Chinese knotting cord to make this necklace and the cord arrived a couple of days before the rest of the supplies I needed. I immediately became obsessed with it, making all sort of macramé and friendship bracelets. If you’ve been following DIY blogs then you’ve seen plenty of macramé lately but hopefully, this is the first time you are seeing the fishtail or herringbone weave.

Easy DIY Fishtail Braclets

You will need:

  • 30 inches of Rattail or faux-suede cord
  • 80 inches of .8mm Chinese knotting cord (for a six-inch wrist, if you have a larger wrist I would add 10-15 inches of knotting cord per inch.)
  • A stand-out button or hex nut
  • A thread burner
  • A small box lid
  • Some scrap rattail or yarn

DIY Fishtail Bracelet - Supplies Needed

Fold the rattail for the bracelet in half and tie a knot so that you have a loop, keeping in mind the size of the button you are using as the clasp. Thread your scrap piece of rattail through the loop and pull it half-way through and fold it so it extends the length of your bracelet.

DIY Fishtail Bracelet Step 1

Wrap it around your box lid length-wise and secure it with a double knot so it looks like this.

DIY Fishtail Bracelet Step 2

Fold your knotting cord in half to find the center and place it under the knot. Take the left strand of knotting cord and weave it over the left strand of rattail and under the right strand of rattail and then pull it snug. The first stitch is the trickiest so use your fingers to hold it in place. Make sure so that it ends BELOW the other strand of knotting cord on the right side.

DIY Fishtail Bracelet Step 3

Now, grab the TOP strand on the right side and weave it over the right piece of rattail and under the left piece of rattail. Pull it tight, but not too tight and make sure you slide the completed stitch up towards the top of the bracelet. Ta-da! You are back to wear you started with one piece of knotting cord on either side. Use your thumb to make slide it up and make sure it is secure.

DIY Fishtail Bracelet Step 4

Keep working in the same pattern until you reach the desired length, over-under-pull, over-under-pull. Make sure that when you are coming from the right hand side that you are grabbing the top strand or else you will notice that your pattern gets funky.

DIY Fishtail Bracelet Step 5

When you get to the end, tie the two strands of knotting cord in a knot at the bottom and remove the bracelet from your box lid. At this point you can try and secure it with a dot of super glue or use my new favorite tool, the thread burner, to fuse the knot and burn off the excess.

DIY Fishtail Bracelet 6

Make a knot at the bottom, using the rattail to cover-up the ends of the knotting cord.

DIY Fishtail Bracelet Step 7

If you are using a button slide it up one of the strands of rattail or if you are using a hex nut, slide it up both strands; then secure it with a knot. Pull the knot tight. Rattail is slippery stuff and it will come undone if it is not secure. Cut off the ends but make sure you don’t cut them too close to the knot. You want to be able to have something to tug on to tighten the knot if it feels like it’s starting to come loose.

DIY Fishtail Bracelet Step 8

That’s it! After one or two you’ll have it down and will be able to do it on a plane, while you are in a train, watching TV or attending webinar. You can make them anywhere.

DIY Fishtail Bracelets
Now tell me, do you like?


{ 86 comments… add one }

  • Stephanie August 28, 2012, 11:05 AM

    Those look like fun!
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  • Carolynn August 28, 2012, 2:31 PM

    I love your darling fishtail bracelets! Thank you for the wonderful tutorial. I can’t wait to make one!
    have a great week and thanks again!

  • Jen @ Our Fine House August 29, 2012, 10:37 PM

    Um, I’m pretty sure you’re awesome.

  • Erin @ Thanks, I Made It August 31, 2012, 11:12 AM

    These look so great! I love them all stacked together, it’s a wrist rainbow!

  • Speed Chic September 1, 2012, 3:02 PM

    Love the fishtail bracelets! These look like they need to be sold for $40 at Stella and Dot ;) Also, way to pick up on the summer trend of fishtail braids–cute! You were above me on SITS, glad to come by…

  • Stacie September 1, 2012, 3:16 PM

    These are so cute! Your instructions and pictures make it look so easy. Thanks for posting! New follower from SITS sharefest! Stacie xo
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  • Lisaa September 1, 2012, 3:29 PM

    Great idea! I’m here via SITS. I just shared this DIY on my FB page and Twitter. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Venassa September 1, 2012, 4:29 PM

    They look very nice!
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  • madge | the vegetarian casserole queen September 1, 2012, 7:40 PM

    Oh these are super cute! Like an updated version of the friendship bracelets we made in the elementary school….
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  • Nellie September 1, 2012, 7:47 PM

    This is so cool, thank you for sharing!!
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  • Miranda B. September 1, 2012, 8:38 PM

    Love the blog. These look like so much fun to make. I’m starting all my crafting projects in October. This is definitely going to be one of them! Thanks for sharing:) And thanks for stopping by my blog!
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  • Angela September 2, 2012, 12:56 PM

    Loved it!

  • Sandra @ The Sensible Mom September 2, 2012, 6:29 PM

    They bracelets look great! Cute colors, too. :-)

  • misssrobin September 3, 2012, 11:41 AM

    Absolutely beautiful. And a great tutorial. You captured it all so well. Good job!

    Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a great weekend.
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  • Jessie M. September 4, 2012, 7:43 PM

    Oh my gosh!! I love this idea! About how much are the materials all together?? And also where can you get them at?

    • mskristiina September 4, 2012, 7:59 PM

      Thank you so much Jessie! It really depends on how many different colors you want to make but they are pretty inexpensive. You buy them buy the yard so you can choose how much you spend. I got the rattail from MJtrim and the knotting cord from tangles & knots, there are links in the supply list. I’ve also found rattail at my local fabric store but they didn’t have as good of colors.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Ina September 9, 2012, 9:26 PM

    Saw these on my granddaughter’s Pinterest board and would love to make several for her. Have been making beaded macrame bracelets all summer using .5-.6mm Chinese knotting cord and would like to know what size cord you used on these herringbone bracelets. Thanks for a great tutorial.

    • mskristiina September 9, 2012, 11:02 PM

      Hey Ina,
      Thanks so much for the comment and question! I should have put that in there. I used .8mm-1mm Chinese knotting cord but you could definitely use something smaller, you would just need a longer strand because you would do more stitches to cover the same amount of area. Let me know if you have any other questions :)
      mskristiina recently posted..{DIY} Wavy Friendship BraceletMy Profile

  • ruth September 10, 2012, 2:09 PM

    instead of the box, i use a clip board…..the first loop gets slipped under the clip, i place a pencil under this to raise the cord up. the other end of the cording is clipped at the bottom with a bull dog clip. i use this method for making my various bracelets.

    • mskristiina September 10, 2012, 2:17 PM

      Thanks Ruth! That is a great idea, I’ll have to try it on my next one.

  • Darci September 10, 2012, 3:56 PM

    I am having so much trouble finding this type of cord at any craft stores! Can you please help me I really want to make these bracelets.

    • mskristiina September 10, 2012, 4:12 PM

      I would be happy to help! What area do you live in?

  • Ina September 10, 2012, 8:25 PM

    Thanks for your reply about the size of the Chinese knotting cord…..I am a little confused, though; the website where I have been buying my cord has 7 sizes of Chinese cord…..the .8mm and the 1mm are two different thicknesses so I’m a little confused as to the site you linked where they sell a cord stating .8mm-1mm……How can that be when they are two different thicknesses? Granted, they are very similar, but I’m looking right now at the samples that I have and you can tell the difference? Any thoughts on this? Thanks for your input.

    • mskristiina September 10, 2012, 10:05 PM

      You know what, that is a great question! I am going to email my supplier and find out. Where do you get yours from? Maybe yours in more consistent in it’s sizing.
      mskristiina recently posted..{DIY} Wavy Friendship BraceletMy Profile

    • mskristiina September 11, 2012, 5:03 PM

      Okay here is the response I got.

      “Well, to make a long story short, when I first started selling the cord years ago, the quality of the cord was not as good as it is now and the size of this cord use to vary from .8mm to 1mm depending on
      the color. As I am mainly an online business, I wanted to give my customers as much information as possible so that they would know what they were receiving and the feedback I received confirmed the
      fact that they appreciated the range, especially when it came to finding the right size cord for their beads. (Originally, the .5mm was also originally listed as .5mm-.7mm)

      Over the past couple of years, we have been working very closely with our suppliers in an effort to improve the consistency of the cord in terms of color, size and color fastness (keeping the color
      consistent throughout the rolls) and we are happy to say that it is finally getting there, although there are still some colors like gray and green which cause problems in terms of consistent dye lots.
      Anyway, when I tried to relist my sizes as .5mm and .8mm, I received so many emails and questions from my older customers who had gotten use to the .8mm-1mm listing that I just decided to leave it
      as is instead of switching it.

      The .8mm-1mm cord measures at .8mm. I do not currently sell a 1mm cord.”

      In short the cord I used was .8mm :) S
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      • Ina September 15, 2012, 11:12 PM

        Thanks again for your reply about the size of the cord. I have been getting mine from marionjewelsinfiber.com
        She is a real sweetheart to work with and has a fabulous website with all kinds of cording. Her prices, though, are higher than your link, but I love the range of sizes she has for the Chinese knotting cord; also all the colors. She does run out of stock a lot and sometimes can’t get the exact same color back in, but I would assume that’s standard for anyone selling the cord. Again, thanks for your tutorial and all your information. Have a great weekend.

  • 1000Shoulds September 11, 2012, 12:10 PM

    very nice!

  • Lindsay Stewart September 19, 2012, 12:51 AM

    This is so funny because I did totally the SAME thing – I bought all that cord to make those exact necklaces, but I havent gotten the clasp and such yet, so I was looking for something else to do with all that Chinese cord I bought! I am SO going to try this out!! Thanks for sharing!

  • nuray September 30, 2012, 2:38 AM

    so chic!

  • Mary Ellen October 20, 2012, 8:22 PM

    Great idea!

  • Vilde November 6, 2012, 2:16 PM

    My name is Vilde, I am 15 years old. I live in Norway, and i just discovered your blog and i LOVE it!!!
    Love the fishtail bracelets! Love all of the DIY “posts” !! :-D

  • Ashley Ellis November 10, 2012, 2:56 PM

    Packing for a trip where my kids and I will be on a plane for hours and now know what we’re going to do to pass (some) of the time. Thanks!!
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  • Rachel @ Architecture of a Mom January 4, 2013, 3:54 AM

    This project takes me back to jr high! Cool!! Stopping by from SITS!
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  • Angie Nelson January 4, 2013, 3:59 AM

    Love it! The process is a little reminiscent of making friendship bracelets.
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  • Nicole January 4, 2013, 6:43 AM

    OMG!!!!! I MUST try this!!!!!! Definitely sharing! <3
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  • Sarah January 4, 2013, 7:25 AM

    Ooooo!!! These are way cute. Thanks for sharing! Might have to try it.

    Happy SITS Day! :)
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  • Sheila Skillingstead January 4, 2013, 7:37 AM

    Great instructions. The photos really helped. I love the bright colors. Visiting from SITS. Enjoy your day.
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  • Rabia @ TheLiebers January 4, 2013, 8:24 AM

    This is cool looking! And easy enough that my daughter could probably do it herself!
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  • Lydia January 4, 2013, 8:24 AM

    Pinned this so I can look at it again! I love it. I used to love making friendship bracelets as a kid- this reminds me of those. :) Happy SITS day!
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    • mskristiina January 4, 2013, 7:34 PM

      Thank you! I love pinners! You make my world go round!

  • The Roving Retorter January 4, 2013, 10:18 AM

    I’m obsessed with jewelry, have wanted to learn how to make my own for years, and couldn’t have asked for a better primer – thank you!
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  • Ashley January 4, 2013, 10:53 AM

    Love the tutorial! Definitely helps that you have such great close up shots! Visiting from SITS! :D
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  • Melanie January 4, 2013, 1:58 PM

    I want to get this stuff and make one now! New follower from SITS.
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  • Whitney January 4, 2013, 3:37 PM

    This will be a great bracelet for my daughter to make! Happy SITS Day!
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  • Denise January 5, 2013, 11:35 AM

    Cool! Pinned it! Happy SITS day!
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  • Anna January 6, 2013, 6:56 PM

    What a cute idea!

    Where did you get the thread burner from? I have no idea where to find it here, wonder if I can get one off ebay?

    • mskristiina January 6, 2013, 8:37 PM

      I actually got mine from Jo-Ann’s. If you don’t have one in your area you could also try checking a beading store. Thanks for coming by! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Sweet Sarah January 8, 2013, 6:52 PM

    Fantastic DIY! Totally pinning this :)

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  • home jobs by mom January 8, 2013, 8:51 PM

    Sounds very nice! I don’t see a picture of the bracelet though. I’m sure it’s lovely.
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  • Jessica February 7, 2013, 10:24 AM

    I definetly want to make these! i think I might try using hemp or just using the rattail

    • mskristiina February 7, 2013, 11:28 AM

      Yes! I think that would look awesome. Please share a pic with me on my facebook or g+ if you do. I would love to see how they turn out!

  • Holly February 12, 2013, 11:17 AM

    Super cute – thanks for sharing
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  • Leandro Chevrette February 17, 2013, 2:55 PM

    Have you considered introducing some videos for your write-up? I think it will truly improve my comprehension.

  • Mel J. H. June 22, 2013, 6:33 AM

    Thank you for this tutorial – my girls will love these! (easy enough to add a few beads, too!) Thanks, again!

    • mskristiina June 22, 2013, 6:52 AM

      Thanks Mel! Please tweet me a pic or post one to my Facebook page. I would love to see the end result.

  • Liz Curtin June 29, 2013, 8:39 AM

    Love these bracelets! The colors are so great for summer. I just made one with braided waxed linen as the core (I had this on hand from a bracelet I made and didn’t like) and light tan for the weaving tails. I added a cool vintage bronzed button and LOVE it!

    Really Great Tutorial. Thanks so much!

    • mskristiina June 29, 2013, 9:07 AM

      Thanks Liz! I’d love to see a picture if you don’t mind sharing on my facebook page.

  • Patty Halfpop June 29, 2013, 10:38 PM

    I love the Bracelets but was wondering if you or one of your readers would have any suggestions for a different type of fastener? Thank You

    • mskristiina June 29, 2013, 11:11 PM

      Definitely! You could also use a lobster clasp, spring clasp, or toggle. I can post some links if you would like. Just let me know :)

      • Patty Halfpop July 3, 2013, 11:05 PM

        What mm size would I have to order to get cord through opening?

  • melibia July 1, 2013, 7:18 AM

    very beautifule idea

  • Friends into lovers July 14, 2013, 8:17 PM

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely feel this web
    site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the information!
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  • Velma Bayless Cox July 21, 2013, 4:24 PM

    Thank you so much for this wonderful idea. Will be trying it myself soon.

  • emma July 29, 2013, 4:53 AM

    Loved it!

  • ASma September 20, 2013, 12:42 AM

    any idea where i can buy those ?

    • mskristiina October 10, 2013, 2:07 PM

      I’m actually opening up a shop the end of this month. I’ll send ya an email when it’s open!

  • shifra Brodsky March 8, 2014, 4:54 AM

    I have a friend in Israel that would love to make the bracelets with her granddaughters. Is the cord available there? if not where can she get it?

  • Norma March 8, 2014, 11:40 AM

    Fantastic! And also looks simple

  • Desiree April 9, 2014, 12:53 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial… I am pinning!

  • Monarose Hunt April 28, 2014, 2:27 PM

    awesome project!……just cruzed thru the ‘how to’ projects for a fun bracelet to make. Your instructions are understandable & pix clear along the way…perfect.
    :D ~Monarose~

  • Klara May 20, 2014, 2:04 AM

    Saw this tutorial on All Free Jewelry Making, Bling Buzz newsletter. Nice. I think I’ll play about with adding beads and charms and using natural cords or threads with two or more colours. I like it.

  • Cîndi Wittekind May 20, 2014, 2:45 AM

    Hi house cat. .kristina! Just love the fishtail bracelets. I’m whatcha call one of the starving artists. My sister may help me out with the chording. Where is a good place to order? I am fairly new to all this. The chord i do have is assorted color chord for macrame,plain macrame chord, all kinds of embroidery thread,all kinds of beads & seed beads galore. Since i am so new to this,could you email me back & let me know i f any of chord i?¿ have,like the macrame colored chord could be used

  • Cindi Wittekind May 20, 2014, 3:08 AM

    Love the fishtail bracelets!! I’m what u call. .a starving artist….work in all different media. I am new to the jewelry making. All i have for now is assorted colored macrame chord,all kinds of embroidery thread,tons beads & seed beads. Can the macrame chord be used for this project? It would be great if you could email me back. I am so excited to begin a whole new stay at home world of jewelery making!! I just love your work as i see here do many others! !

  • Hilda May 20, 2014, 5:23 PM

    It beutifull and pretty

  • Lisa Bell June 25, 2014, 2:06 PM

    love this for my grand gals…thanks

  • MISoRu August 5, 2014, 8:59 AM

    Thank you so much for this awesome tutorial.
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  • Tracy August 27, 2014, 7:05 PM

    I will be trying this with plastic lacing as it is all my craft store had. However my questions is concerning the rat tail. Isn’t 30″ a lot for 6″ wrists? I mean when doubled, it is still 15″ so I fell there will be a lot wasted. Am I right?

    Can’t wait to try. Thanks

    • mskristiina September 5, 2014, 9:32 PM

      Yes, it is a lot. I just like it to be long so it’s easier to tie the knot at the end.

  • Melody November 2, 2014, 3:46 PM

    I tried this with knitting wool and it came out beautifully, if not fluffy. It was all I had on hand and I was desperate to try this out! With wool, it makes it slightly more wintery I think. Thanks for an awesome and easy tutorial on how to make such adorable bracelets! X

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