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How To Make Woven Rope Carrying Handles

by Pedro Almeida

The woven rope carrying handles I made for my kayak are not too difficult to make. Basically they are a series of square knots tied around two central lines. I will try to explain how to make them with a series of pictures as well as text. I hope my explanation is clear and easy to understand.

To make woven carrying handles for your kayak you will need four pieces of line. The two central lines should be 4-6 inches longer than you want the finished handles to be. The other two lines, which will be used to tie the knots, should be about four times as long as you want the finished handles to be.

Final Result:

For the pictures, I used red and olive green parachute cord as well as 1/8″ black line for clarity. For my carrying handles, I used black line for everything. I guess you could use whatever color or combination of colors you like.

Start with a square knot like this:

Then insert the two middle lines (black) through here:

Note that the pencil is under both legs of the red cord and over both legs of the green cord.

Make sure that you keep the two middle lines parallel to each other, no twists. This is what it should look like so far:

Another view:

Make sure you leave 2-3 inches of both middle lines above the knot.

Pull the knot nice and tight so that it tightens down around the two middle lines like this:

Now, the red one crosses over to the other side staying above the two middle lines:

The green line now crosses over the red line and then under the two middle lines like this:

Now the green line comes up through the loop in the red line like this:

Again, pull this nice and tight. Then the red one crosses over to the other side again, staying above the middle lines:

Once again, the green line goes over the red and under the black middle lines to the other side:

Again, bring the green line up through the loop in the red line:

Tighten the knot down and keep going. Note that the red line always stays above the two middle lines as it crosses to the opposite side and that the green line always stays below the two middle lines as it crosses to the opposite side. After a while you will have a length of woven “strap” for your carrying handles. Try to get each knot as tight as you can. This will ensure a uniform look and will keep the weave from loosening with use. To tighten each knot as much as possible, I use leather gloves and wrap the lines around my hands a couple of times to get a good grip.

Once you have the length you need, cut the red and green lines close to where they exit the first and last knots. Then melt the ends with a lighter. I cut them about 1/8″ or 3/16″ from where they exit the knot. When I melt the ends, I push the soft melted nylon down onto the knot with a wet finger. Don’t burn your finger! This leaves the ends of the middle lines sticking out.

Attach the handles to soft padeyes on the deck of your kayak using the two middle lines. For the attachment points on my kayak, I didn’t want to use soft padeyes made from webbing like I used for my deck lines. They would have covered up some of the wooden details. Therefore, I made some small soft padeye loops from the same line I used to weave the handles.

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  • I am making a coffin for my father in law, having a terrible time with the handles and I thought of using rope(traditional). This is perfect, thank you for the excellent instructions!


  • The handles on my WMDs broke off last summer while hurriedly relocating them before a raid. Your tutorial helped me repair them and they are now much more convenient to move . Thanks a bunch. You da man!


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