Monday, 16 January 2012

Handmade Monday: How to make a Danish love knot

So, Valentines Day is creeping up on us, but whether you like to celebrate that festival or not, you might find these Danish love knots attractive!  I saw a tutorial for making them a while ago, then lost it, and struggled to find it again so I thought I might do one of my own.  They are easy to make and I think pretty effective.

You will need:

Some wire - I used 20 gauge, 0.8mm antique bronze wire but you could experiment with different thicknesses
A mandrel or object to wind the wire round
Step 1
Cutting pliers
Cup burr (optional)
About 15 minutes

Step 1: Start to wind your wire around the mandrel or cylindrical object.  You can work off the spool for this project which means there is virtually no wastage.  Can you see what I've used here?  Actually, it's a chopstick!  At about 6mm diameter, I've found it the perfect size to use with this thickness of wire and the fact that it's wood makes it a bit easier to grip than something metal or plastic, especially early on when you need to be firm with the wire.

Step 2
Make enough winds so that the whole thing can be divided equally into three parts. I've used four full rounds for each of my three coils, so I needed to wind 12 times round the chop stick for each love knot.  If you use a different thickness of wire and/or diameter of mandrel, you may need more or fewer rounds in each coil - you'll need to experiment a bit to find out what is the best choice. 

Step 2: Slip the whole coil of wire off your mandrel.  Then snip the wire three times at the appropriate points to make three equally sized coils.Try to snip so that the two cut ends are at the same place on the coil - this makes it much easier to hide the cut ends neatly at the end of the work.  You can tidy the ends with a cup burr at this stage if you want to.

Step 3

Step 3: Take two of your coils and hook one onto the other at right angles as in the diagram.  You are going to start winding them together.  It's the same action as putting your keys onto a slider keyring, except it is easier and you won't necessarily break any finger nails!
Step 4

Step 4: When you've wound them both together, they'll look like this.

Step 5

Step 5: Now take your third coil and begin to wind it on to one of the joined coils in exactly the same way as Step 3.

Step 6

Step 6: When the three coils are all joined to together they look like this.

Step 7
Step 7: The only thing left to do is to join two of the coils in the middle of the third.  This is a tiny bit fiddly, but easier if you hold the coils as in the picture and start to wind them together just as you did to get the first two together.  Be careful not to allow the end of the coil to be unwinding itself at the same time as you are winding it forward.  It is really just like when you are putting that second key on the slider keyring and you have to keep checking that the first one is not slipping off as you do so.

If there isn't room to manoeuvre the coils like this then you may have used a thickness of wire or size of mandrel that is inappropriate for this project.  It's a bit like chain maille in that you don't know if it will work until you get a bit further on in the weave.

Step 8

Step 8: Here's this final wind about half way through.

Step 9

Step 9: Actually, you've finished and the knot should look a bit like this.  At this point you can gently ease out the coils a bit, which will make the knot a little firmer.  Try to tuck the ends inside the knot so they can't be seen too. 

Step 10

Step 10: The finished knot can be mounted on a wire or threaded directly on beading thread.  Heck, it's your bead so you can do whatever you want with it now. There's a right way to put the wire or thread in the bead so that it sits properly - it's too complicated to explain in words, but you'll see what I mean as you try it out. 

I like them on wire with a bead cap or spacer on each end to cover the hole and give stability.

These ones in antique bronze wire are probably destined to become a bracelet.

I love these bronze earrings with red creek jasper beads too.

Look on the web and you'll see some stunning examples of folk making these in semi precious wires and then threading one on a chain as a stunning, understated necklace.

Why are they 'Danish' love knots?  I've no idea.  Some folk just call them love knots.  But I like the idea of them being Danish - it's so trendy at the moment with The Killing and Borgen providing our Saturday night entertainment!  You can't make them at the same time as watching, though, unless your Danish is so good that you don't really need the subtitles. 

Hope you've enjoyed the tutorial.  Here's a link to what my other handmade friends have been up to this week.


  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I can see myself trying these.

  2. Lovely jewels and many thanks for the tutorial. Have a good week.

  3. That is so neat but don't think my eyes could cope, lol may have a go though, have a good week

  4. Beautiful work as always and so nice to see the process too

  5. A lovely project, beautiful finished pieces and an excellent tutorial.

  6. They look gorgeous but they definately don't look easy to make! I love the purple beads in the top photo. x

  7. Thanks so much for the tutorial - I am going to settle down later and read it carefully and then hopefully try it Mich x

  8. OMG... I have earrings with this knot and am so delighted to see how they were worked. Superb tutorial :)

  9. Excellent tutorial but even the photos of such intricate work makes my head spin! Think I'll leave it to the experts and just look on in admiration!

    Ali x

  10. OH thank you, I have saved this, I keep meaning to make some jewelry, and this is just lovely!

  11. Brilliant tutorial, the description of the keyring slider thingy makes it so understandable, I may have a go at making these a lot bigger (not for jewellery)

    Jan x

  12. These are lovely. They look so complicated but are actually quite easy to make. Thanks for the tutorial!

    Zoraida -

  13. you are awesome !! Bravo for a great free tutorial!! This made this granny very happy!!hugs to u , and God Bless

  14. Excellent tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  15. So lovely! Thanks for sharing this great technique! I love the way they look with the spacers on both sides...very nice!

  16. Love your blog! Wonderful designs and much appreciated tutorials, awesome!

  17. Lovely and simply: you are a genius.
    Thank-you so much, really thanks!
    I love it :)))


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