Tie a Nautical Knot Rug in Miniature or Full Size with an Ocean Plait Knot

  • 01 of 11

    Tie an Ocean Plait Knot for a Nautical Rope Rug in Miniature or Full Size

    Doormat made from a 60 metre length of retired climbing rope.
    Diane made this 21 by 33 inch doormat from a retired 60 metre climbing rope. Photo Courtesy Dianne - Gjetost Blog Copyright 2009 Used With Permission

    This nautical rope rug tied from an ocean plait knot is an example of a full-size craft which can be scaled up or down for home rugs made from retired climbing ropes and dolls house miniatures made from fine cord. In the photo here it is shown tied by a reader from a retired climbing rope using the instructions on the pages which follow.  (see page 11 of these instructions for more on this particular rug, including the amount used to make it).


    I originally set up these instructions to make...MORE dollhouse miniature nautical rugs for boat and cabin displays, but this is an example of how the same technique works for any size with minor modifications. For smaller boat or model train scales, you will need to use a needle threaded with fine thread to weave the braid, rather than using the rope end. Try tying this as a small sample with string or light cord before you head off to buy rope!


    Materials Needed:


    The materials will determine the rug size. Full-size rugs can be tied using rope, or sash cord, miniature rugs may need single strands of linen thread for smaller scales. Try a practice knot using a long shoelace or piece of rayon or nylon cord before you go on to work in the scale you want. Shiny cords are easier to work with than soft embroidery threads.


    • Full-Size Door Mat roughly 3.5 feet by 2 feet. Tie using old climbing rope, heavy sash cord, or any other type of rope you think will make a suitable mat. Depending on the size of rug you wish and the type of rope you use you will need up to 75 feet of rope. It is recommended you tie the initial knot for the rug first, then multiply the amount of rope you need by the number of times you will follow the pattern to fill out the rug, usually 4 – 6 times around.
    • 1:12 Scale Dolls House Scale Rug 3.5 inches by 2 inches - You will need 2 – 3 yards (meters) of 1/16 to 1/8 inch diameter sewing cord trim (available from the trims section of a fabric store)
    • 1:24 Scale Railroad, Model Boat, or Dolls House rug 1.5 by 1 inch in size - You will need 4 yards/meters of single strand perle cotton, dampened and twisted together then dried to form a 2-yard strand of doubled cotton. You will also need a small darning or tapestry needle.
    • 1:48 scale 3/4 inch by 1/2 inch - 2 yards of single stranded perle cotton and a fine needle
    • Below 1:48 scale – I have tied this knot with linen thread, quilting thread, silk bead cord (from the bead shop) and sewing thread on a needle. The scale you can reach will depend on the size of thread you use.

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  • 02 of 11

    Starting the Ocean Plait Knot for a Nautical Rug or Coaster

    The first loop for the top of an ocean plait knot brings the short rope across the long end.
    Using the first few inches(or feet for full size) of rope or cord, form a loop and cross the short end of the rope over the long end. Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    The ocean plait knot is best formed on a flat surface, at least until you have run two sets of lines through the braid.


    Begin by making the first loop in your cord, thread or rope, approximately ten inches from the end of the rope if you are making a dollhouse miniature 1:12 scale knot, ten feet or so from the end if you are making a full scale rug. You will need a short end which is approximately three to four times the length of the knot you wish to make.


    You want the main amount of thread or...MORE rope to be on your left, leading to the loop, with the short end of the cord or rope crossing above the piece of rope that leads to the main length.


    For a 1:12 scale rug you will want the first loop approximately one inch across, but that can be adjusted later if you find it easier to start with larger loops.


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  • 03 of 11

    Sizing the Knot for the Ocean Plait Knot Rug

    The short end of the cord comes across the long end to complete the second loop in the Ocean Plait .
    Bring the short end of the cord up and across the long end of the cord to complete the second loop in the Ocean Plait Knot. Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    The size your overall nautical rug will be determined by the finished size of your ocean plait knot. To set the rug size, still using the short end of the cord or rope from the previous step, form a second loop in the cord leading off from the bottom of the first loop over to the bottom right side.


    The length from the end of this loop to the top of the first loop will determine the size of your rug. If you are working in 1:12 scale, this distance should be 3 to 3.5 inches. (7 – 8 cm.) For a full...MORE size rug made from climbing or other rope, it should be 3 to 3.5 feet. (1m to 1.15m)


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  • 04 of 11

    Make the Final Starting Loop for the Miniature Ocean Plait or Braid Rug

    Lay a third crossed loop over the base of the first loop in an Ocean Plait Knot.
    Make a second crossed loop over the base of the first loop. This time the short rope should lay on top of the loop. Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    To make the final loop which is the basis for the ocean plait knot or nautical rug, take the short end of the rope back across the first loop you formed and make a slightly larger second loop across the base of the first loop, leaving the short end of the rope going across the top of this loop and off to the left side of the knot.


    It is important that the first loop has the lead going to the main rope under the first loop, while the second loop has the lead of the short end of rope passing over...MORE the loop. (See photo)


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  • 05 of 11

    Finishing the Basic Knot Pattern for the Miniature Ocean Plait Rug

    Photograph showing the final step in the set up phase of the Ocean Plait Knot, used for a rope rug
    Pass the long end of the cord or rope under the right side loop on the knot to set up the Ocean Plait Knot for the first weave. Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Leave the short end of the rope leading off to the left of the knot, and pass the long end of the rope over it, then up and under the side loop you formed in step two which determined the size of your rug.


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  • 06 of 11

    Plaiting the First Line for the Ocean Plait Knot or Nautical Rug

    Weave the long end of the cord up through the top of the loops in the Ocean Plait Knot.
    Weave the long end of the cord up through the knot weaving over and under the sides of the loops to the top of the first loop. Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Take the end of the long piece of rope you just passed under the side loop in the previous step and begin to pass it under and over the parts of the knot until you reach the top of the first loop you formed in step one. As you weave through the loops, keep your cord or rope at the same tension as the surrounding ropes, don't pull it tight.


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  • 07 of 11

    Plaiting the Second Line for the Ocean Plait Knot / Rug

    Final weaving step in forming an Ocean Plait knot used for rope rugs in miniature and full scales.
    Weave the long end of the rope down through the loops to the bottom to lock the Ocean Plait knot ready for finishing. Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Now take the long end of the rope back down through the remainder of the loops, weaving the rope over and under each section of loop.


    The two weaves formed in this step and the previous step will secure the knot.


    Place your hand over the knot once you have finished taking the end out of the loops for the braid mentioned above and hold the knot fast while you work the remainder of the rope through the first and second braids until the rope is completely through the knot.


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  • 08 of 11

    Adjust the Weave and Size of the Ocean Plait Knot for a Rope Rug

    Balancing the size of the Ocean Plait Knot so that it can be evenly woven in any scale.
    Balance out the loop sizes and make the Ocean Plait knot the right length for your purpose or scale scene. Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Even out the ocean plait knot before you begin to weave your miniature or full-size nautical rug.​​


    Take the knot you have formed and even out the loops into the pattern shown, making sure the overall length and width of the knot are within the size range you want. Try to space the cords so that they are evenly spaced through the knot as shown. In the following steps you will simply retrace the pattern over and over until the knot / rug is complete.


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  • 09 of 11

    Finishing the Braided Fill Rows for an Ocean Plait Knot or Nautical Rug

    Lay in the second line of cord alongside the first in the Ocean Plait Knot to make a rug.
    Bring the long line of cord over beside the short line and run the long line up into the knot alongside following the route of the previous cord completely around the knot. Do this until the knot has no gaps. Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Now take the end of the long piece of cord around to the point where the short end emerges from the knot. Work the long end through alongside the piece of the braid which emerges as the short end of the knot.


    Follow the weave of this cord completely through the knot until your reach the starting point again, making sure you lay the cord so that it stays either inside or outside of the curve you are working on. Keep the cords side by side, do not allow them to cross over the other cords.


    When your...MORE reach the length of short cord that signifies the start/end of the knot, continue to braid and weave around again, making sure your cords follow through the knot side by side. Continue to weave cord through following the weave for 4 to six complete circuits, until the rug has very few gaps.


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  • 10 of 11

    Finishing the Nautical Knot Rug Made from an Ocean Plait Knot

    Three miniature rugs made with the ocean plait knot.
    Three scales of miniature nautical rugs made using the Ocean Plait Knot. 1:12, 1:24 and 1:48. Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    Finish the rug (in miniature or full size) by following the cords through the knot, evening the loops out as you go until the knot is tight and even.


    Take the short end of the cord, and the longer end and take them into the centre of the knot along the first line of the braid. The bits of the short cord you take out, ​will be replaced by the weaving in of the longer end.


    Take both ends back to the underside of the rug (somewhere near the center), tie them together and trim the ends. Your rug is...MORE now finished.


    If you are working on a full-size rug, you can lash the ends to the rug with quilting thread, buttonhole twist thread, or waxed linen cord to keep the ends in place and prevent them fraying.


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  • 11 of 11

    Reader's Doormat Made From A Retired Climbing Rope Using the Ocean Plait Knot

    Doormat made from a 60 metre length of retired climbing rope.
    Diane made this 21 by 33 inch doormat from a retired 60 metre climbing rope. Photo Courtesy Dianne - Gjetost Blog Copyright 2009 Used With Permission

    Here's a full-sized version of the Ocean Plait Knot Rug made using these instructions and a retired climbing rope. Dianne, writer of the Gjetost blog, has posted how she used a retired 9.8mm climbing rope and the instructions from this set of step by steps to make her doormat. She used 190 ft of rope (one 60 metre rope) to make her 21 inch by 33 inch doormat.


    She brushed the bottom side of the mat with contact cement to help it hold it's shape and said that worked great.


    Needless to say, this rope...MORE has enjoyed some great adventures. Perhaps it would prefer a more glorious retirement than being a doormat, but this way, I'll get to see it everyday. Dianne