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Snake Knot

A step-by-step guide for tying a snake knot lanyard.

How to Tie a Snake Knot

Step 1: Find the center of the line and fold it in half.  

Step 2: Form a loop on the right side, near the centerfold with the working line on top. 

Step 3: Feed the working line on the left through the loop from behind.

Step 4: Run the working line over the right line and back through the loop from behind.

Step 5: Tighten the first knot by tugging on the center point and both left and right lines.

Step 6: Flip the knot over.

Step 7: Loosen the first knot slightly, pass the line on the left behind the right, up, and through the previous loop. This is a bit complicated, so here’s some pictures showing the process.

Rope to Loosen
Hole when Loosened
Pass the line on the left behind the right, up, and through the previous loop.
Pull Right to Tighten

Step 8: Flip the knot over. 

Step 9: Loosen the last knot, pass the line on the left behind the right, up, and through the previous loop. 

Step 10: Continue until you reach the end of the length.

If you’re still stuck, watch our video explaining the process!

About the Snake Knot

The snake knot is decorative but useful when packing rope or cord for the backcountry, or just around the house. It’s a compact way to store paracord or rope and add a little style to wherever you keep your gear at home. It’s also an introduction to decorative knots for macrame, jewelry, and fiber art. 

When measuring cord, use a 5:1 ratio. For every 5 inches of paracord you use, you’ll end up with 1 inch of snake knots. This ratio will change based on the thickness of the material you’re using, expect it to be most accurate for paracord and rope of similar thickness.

Related Knots

Chain sinnet: a method to shorten a length of rope for storage or for laundering. 

Cobra knot: used in making bracelets and lanyards. 

Crown sinnet: also called a box knot, used to make lanyards and zipper pulls. 

Single rope braid: a macrame knot that forms a braid from a single rope. 

When to Use the Snake Knot

Break out the snake knot during craft time, or for storing and transporting paracord and thin rope. It’s a stylish and easy-to-tie decorative knot.

For Survival

For a bug-out bag or emergency kit, you don’t want the hassle or mess of bringing coils of rope or paracord. Instead, spend an afternoon creating some snake knots with paracord to pack lengths of rope down small. It’s a safe and convenient way to store longer lengths of rope for survival situations. 

While Camping

Use a snake knot to make hangers for flashlight lanterns inside of the tent, or solar showers at the campsite. You can even use two colors of paracord to make stylish and functional lanyards for hanging gear and tie-downs. 

Add a snake knot zipper pull to your pack and tent closures to stop struggling with your zippers in the dark. With every snake knot lanyard you incorporate into your gear you’re adding lengths of paracord to your kit to use in case of emergency.

With Other Knots

Snake knots are just one kind of decorative knot. There’s a world of beautiful knots that are fun and challenging to tie, perfect for adorning your home or gear. Besides being attractive, they also use up lengths of rope in compact ways for emergency situations. Crafts with decorative knots can be a fun way to spend an afternoon and get more familiar with the structure of knot tying. 

Around the House

Because the snake knot is so decorative, you see it used to make bracelets, lanyards, and zipper-pulls out of paracord. You can use any material for crafting, but the structure of the snake knot will show up best with cord or line with some integrity like leather, or plastic lacing. Yarn, ribbons, or thread won’t work for the snake knot.