Thursday, October 15, 2009

Handfasting Cord Tutorial

Now that the matter of which unity ritual to have in our ceremony was settled, I moved on to finding the pieces that would make it happen.

Since the “hard” part turned out to be easy, you’ve got to know by now that the “easy” part turned out to be harder than I thought! Finding handfasting cords that would work was a little more difficult than I thought it would be. I don’t think that I was being too particular...I wanted something that looked like rope, but was more elegant and classy than rope...and searches online didn’t prove to be fruitful. Yes, there were options, but nothing that I liked enough to spend $30-$40 on.

What’s a bride to do when faced with this situation? Yep, you guessed right – it’s a DIY project! I came up with the idea to make my own out of cording that was somehow braided together after seeing something kind of similar cord online that involved braided ribbons. I didn’t like the look of the ribbons, but I liked the idea of using notions to incorporate my wedding colors...and just like everything else, I had a REALLY hard time finding the right shade of Purple. So, I compromised and just went with black and ivory. Simple. Elegant.

Here’s how I did it. Cording can be found at most craft/fabric stores. I don’t know if Michael’s carries cording, but I would think not, since they don’t carry fabric. But Hancock Fabrics, JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby here in Texas all carry cording. It’s usually found over in the drapery section, as this is used to decorate pillows, window dressings and other upholstery products. I found mine at Hobby Lobby, and since it was plain and simple, it was also less than $1 per yard.

I made the mistake of only buying 2 yards the first time. Brent thought 6 feet was a lot, and I wasn’t really sure about how I was going to “combine” the two cords, so I bought equal amounts of cording. One larger cream colored one and one smaller black one. I started by tying one end in a simple knot.

Then I played around with how tight to “twist” them together until I came up with spacing and tightness that I liked. For my own preference, every two twists was perfect!If I had found one more cording that I liked, I would have just braided them and then the length factor wouldn’t have been a problem, but I didn’t find a third one and you’ve got to work with what you have, right? Anyway. Back to the project. Once I decided on how to wrap them, I quickly saw that I didn’t have enough cording. When you wrap the smaller cord around the bigger cord as tightly as I wanted to wrap it, you use a LOT more of the smaller cord than the bigger cord. By the time it was all wrapped up and tied off at the other end, the whole cord was not much longer than 4 feet.

I know, it sounds long enough and B thought that it was fine, but I knew that there were several phrases said as the wrapping is done, and I wanted PLENTY of cording to do that. Plus, after your hands are wrapped, a knot is you need a little extra to my way of thinking...Back to Hobby Lobby. This time I bought 4 yards of the thicker cream cord and 6 yards of the smaller black cord. B doesn’t know that I bought more...shhh! Don’t tell. He thought the other one was fine and I was a little crazy...what he doesn’t know won’t hurt in this instance. LOL!

Back at home, I destroyed the evidence of my purchase and replaced the smaller cords with the longer cords. I tied the one end in a knot (as shown above) and got my hot glue gun out. This is the step that might seem a little “over the top” or “anal-retentive” to you, but don’t hate on me for wanting it to be just right. When you’re wrapping cording, they get a little tangled up, and I wanted to be sure that it all stayed neat and pretty, which meant that I would choose to “tack” each wrap down a little with some hot glue. That way, the day of the wedding, everything stays in order, doesn’t get all loopy on me, and looks pretty for the pictures.

Holding the main cord tight, I simply coiled the smaller cord around, placing a teensy-weensy drop of hot glue on the main cord to hold it all together.Now, when you first start this, the cords are long, and you have to keep unwinding and straightening them. As the wrapping progresses, the cords get shorter and this isn’t as difficult, but I found that I had to straighten out the cords after every two of three wraps.
Continue wrapping down the length of your cords. When you reach the end of one of the cords, simply tie off that end too.
Right now, there is tacky looking tape holding the cording together at the ends. That will be replaced with a drop of clear nail polish to keep the cords from unraveling, but I haven’t done it yet. Excuse the tape please!

And here’s the final product. And a close up...What do you think? It was a simple, cheap project, involving a final purchase of about $7. I already had the hot glue gun and glue sticks...easy, cheap and knocked out quickly one Sunday afternoon.

(Sorry for the over-exposed pictures...I had my camera on the wrong setting and realized too late to go back and "recapture" the early photos!)


  1. Love it! What a great last minute project!

  2. This is amazing! I think handfasting is such a beautiful ritual. I can't wait to see pics!

  3. This looks easy (and pretty), thanks for the instructions and pictures. Btw, I left you a treat on my blog.

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  7. when my husband and I renew our vows we had Wiccan ceremony. I made my own cord also....but the research that I had done said to get 9 feet that way you end up with the required 6 foot cord....When my daughter got married she asked me to "officiate" a Wiccan Ceremony for her and her a wedding gift...I gave her the same cord that we used for our renewal vows....

    I braided together 7 different cords and ribbons and a strand of fake pearls and little white roses on a came out beautiful...and I frayed the ends to give it a look that it had been around for awhile....

    Your cord is beautiful...