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Star knot button

Three lengths of cord is all you need to make a six-pointed star

Star knot button

Knot tying is a centuries-old skill practiced by sailors on long ocean voyages. During the early 1800s, few sailors could read, so they spent their free time onboard perfecting their knot-tying repertoire. Knowledge of complicated knots was a mark of the accomplished seaman, who often kept secret the details of how to tie a specific knot. Sailors displayed their handiwork on clothing, ditty bag lanyards, and other functional items.

In the instructions below, you’ll learn how to knot the bottom layer and top layer for this button. For full project instructions, download the free project PDF by clicking here.


Here are some knot-tying terms used in this project:

  • Crowning: to tie the top half of a button
  • Doubling: adding bulk to the button by placing additional cords next to the first cord strung
  • Middle: to center a knot or other component on a length of cord 
  • Seize: to tie together in a bundle


Star knot button

  • cotton or Dacron cord (Robert Black,, 405-946-7665405-946-7665)
  • 1/8-in. (6 mm) diameter wood dowel, 2 in. (5 cm) long
  • Awl
  • thread or dental floss
  • small sharp knife



Use very firm cord for tying knots. To test the cord, pinch it between your index finger and thumbnail. If your thumbnail leaves a crease in the cord, it is too soft. Craft cord was used for the purpose of illustrating how the star knot button is tied. To demonstrate how the strands are intertwined through the knot, one red-colored strand is used for photos only.


Star knot button Photo a
Photo A
Star knot button Photo b
Photo B

1. Cut three 20-in. (51 cm) pieces of cord. Fold and center, or middle, the three pieces of cord over the dowel, and tie them together, or seize, with a piece of thread or dental floss. Trim the thread close to the cord (Photo A).


2. Arrange the strands to look like spokes on a wheel (Photo B).


Bottom layer

Star knot button Photo c
Photo C

1. Lay the strands flat on your work surface, and begin with any strand. Make a clockwise loop and with the tail under the loop.


2. Working clockwise, make another loop, and slide the end of the strand through the previous loop from underneath. Repeat with each strand. After making the last loop, slide the strand from the first loop through the last loop (Photo C).


3. Gently tighten each loop, leaving space inside each loop to insert the next layer of knotting, and keeping the loops symmetrical around the center.


For the full project instructions – including doubling the knot, tightening the button and trimming the button – download the free project PDF by clicking here.

FIND MORE: buttons , fiber , knotting

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