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I find one of the easiest ways to build nice, consistent Celtic knots is to use graph paper. This gives you an even guide to follow as you plot out your knot. I usually use graph paper where every second dot is slightly bigger, going both up and down. This leaves you with one regular dot, and then an emphasised dot, then another regular dot, and so on. You can make your own own 'dot' paper with regular graph paper by taking a marker or pen and making a dot at the corners of the graph squares (see panel below for dot marking). You can also print out a premade copy here.

In each panel I will show you step by step how to create a Basic Celtic knot. Each new step will be in red. As you go through the panels, old steps will turn gold, and there will be a new step highlighted, again in red.

Mark off a portion of your graph paper, at least 5 big dots and 4 little dots across. Mark the same distance down (5 big and 4 little dots) so you have an even square. Each small dot is going to be an intersection where two "ropes" of knot are going to cross over each other. Put a double lined "X" over a little dot on your graph paper. It should look like a tipped over tic-tac-toe board.

Continue drawing your "X" over each little knot up to your border. Do not "X" the little dots that lie right on your border line, just those that fall within the border. Your big dots never get crossed over. Think of the big dots as posts that the knot must bend around to follow its path. You'll find that your crisscrosses will meet up on the diagonal, which is a good thing. If you are making a very large knot, you can make this step go faster by using a ruler and just drawing a line along the diagonal of the little dots. However, when you begin to make really complicated knots, the "crisscross" method keeps things from getting tangled up.

At this point, you should have an "X" over every little dot in your marked off area. You can use your big dots to help gauge the width of your knot bands as you draw your knot. The band should be the same distance from the big dots as you go around. Whether you want thin spaghetti strands overlapping, or thick noodles, is up to your personal taste. However, take care to keep the thickness the same throughout the knot, whatever you choose, because usually the knot is supposed to be one continuous strand, with no beginning or end. There are some cases where this is not so, as shown on the Examples page.

Now that we have all the little dots crisscrossed, we must join the knot lines along the sides, top and bottom of the marked off area. Find where two lines branch out from the body of the knot, angling towards each other. Make a double lined bend to connect them. You may vary the sharpness of the turn to suit your tastes, from a 90 degree angle to a soft, round curve. There are alot of variations you can do by varying the angle of the bends.

Now all the loose ends on the knot should be joined, except for at the corners. Add the caps on the corners of the knot. This part is easy, as there are only two lines in each corner to join! As with the sides, the way you join the two strands is up to you, and again you may want to experiment with rounder corners or pointy corners. Or you can make a corner that is shaped like a flower petal, where it flares out from the last crisscross and then in again to join to a point.

Now all your corners should also be joined. As you check over your knot, there should not be any loose ends left at all, on the sides or on the corners.

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All tutorials copyright Cari Buziak, 1995-current