January 7th, 2016

Rope Bowl Tutorial

by Julie Hirt

Rope Bowl Tutorial 627handworks

I’ve been noticing a lot of rope bowls in my social media feeds and wanted to share some of the information I’ve gathered. From different ways to begin, end and options to decorate as you go.

Using this basic method you can make baskets, coasters, plate chargers, hot mats, table runners, rugs and I’ve even seen bags!

Gather Supplies

  • Rope*
  • Thread


  • Thread in different colors
  • Fabric scrap strips
  • Ribbon
  • Yarn
  • Leather/Pleather scraps
  • Natural dye – Dye your rope beforehand, allow to fully dry
  • Paint – Paint your rope beforehand, allow to fully dry

*I like the 7/32″ cotton clothesline rope from my local hardware store. The cost was $9 for 100 ft.  I recommend cotton approximately 1/4″ to start with, then venture out from there.

Rope Basket Making 627handworks (1)

Set your machine to zig zag stitch.

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START – Optional Criss Cross

Make a tight coil and put a pin in place to help hold it.

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Zig Zag stitch straight across and reverse a few times.

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And the other direction.

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What this does is help hold your coil in place.  You need to start your zig zag stitching back in the center section. The criss cross helps with stability and I also like the look of it with contrasting thread.


Make a tight coil and put a pin in place to help hold it.

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Slowly start zig zig stitching around the coil.  (If you did the Criss Cross you still need to start in the center)

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The goal is the keep the coil and loose rope going through the center so the zig zag catches both sides.

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Decorate with Fabric

I like to use strips less than 1″ wide and the length is up to you. You could even wrap the rope from beginning to end in different fabrics.

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I just tuck the end in and start wrapping. Keep zig zag stitching.

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Keep going and you’ll come back around to it.

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Decorate with Yarn and Ribbon

Using the same method as above.  The yarn is fun to play with because you can make different designs and use multiple strands at once.

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Here is a little coaster using the Criss Cross beginning, loop and tuck end (below), ribbon, yarn and contrasting thread.

(This may not be the most fabulous look combined but I wanted you to see the different options!)

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Bowl Making   

Keep making your base until it’s the width you’d like. This one is 7″.

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You’ll notice that the direction I’m going above puts the coil under the arm of my machine. I cannot continue bowl making with my coil in this position, I have to cut threads and move it to the other side. (You can avoid this by going the other direction to begin with.)

Take your base and lift it up on its side and continue the zig zag stitch.

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A lip will begin to form.

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Just keep going and adding your fabrics, yarn or ribbon.

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Join New Rope

Just for reference – the bowl on the left, coaster and bowl in progress is what you can make with 100′ of 7/32″ rope.

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If you run out of rope, no worries.  Just stitch the end and the beginning of a new rope together.  I zig zagged.

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Cover the join with wrapped fabric.

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No one is the wiser.

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Just keep going around.

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And around.

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END – Loop & Tuck Option

Decide how big you want your loop to be.  Pictured here is a large loop.

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Pictured here is a tiny nub loop.

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For this I will make a small loop.

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Press the loop up against your coils, raw edge inside.

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Zig zag stitch over the raw edge and down the side, back stitch the beginning of the loop.

The further you stitch, the less round the loop will be.

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After you’ve back stitched, zig zag stitch over the raw edge and the outer loop.  This helps secure the loop.

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The further you stitch, the smaller your loop.  Back stitch this as well.

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END – Wrapped Edge

Zig zag stitch right up to the end of your rope.

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Fold your leather/pleather piece over the edge and close to the end.

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Stitch down. I triple stitched using matching thread.

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YAY!  You’re all done.

I love my bowls and coasters and know this is just the beginning of a nice little collection.

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I’ll definitely be playing more with color changing thread.

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Different size ropes and and patterns. (image courtesy of @jmzblond Instagram)


Painted rope! (image courtesy of @onethousandlayers Instagram)


Gorgeous natural dyes (image courtesy of @sewbettyjane Instagram)


Handles! Thread and rope options (image courtesy of @vivelymade Instagram)




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43 Responses to “Rope Bowl Tutorial”

  1. I love your bowls with the pop of color from the different fabrics throughout. I took a class over the summer that taught how to make these bowls. I’m going to have to check out the rope at the hardware store, to see how it compares in price :)

  2. Confused about dying, or painting the rope. It looks like a white cloths line rope i have, yours is beautiful, and really want to make one similar PLEASE let me know Thank you in advance

    • If you want to dye or paint the rope (I didn’t) you need to it before you begin.

      At the bottom of the post you can see inspiration images. The yellow bowl was soaked in water with turmeric and the painted bowl was splattered with acrylic paints. They did this to loose rope, let the rope dry completely and then assembled like the tutorial.

      My bowls are just the plain rope. Does that help?

    • I made one and dip-dyed it when it was finished. I mixed the fabric dye, poured it into a large mixing bowl (bigger than my rope bowl) then set the bowl down in it and let it soak from the bottom up. What I didn’t know, but was informed by one of my professional knitter friends, is that I should have gotten my rope bowl wet first and then dyed it. I guess it makes sense now. I’m still happy with the way it turned out, but now I know better and the second time around will be even better. If you’re on instagram, you can see it on my feed: @schnitzelandboo.

  3. Thank you for such a great tutorial. I keep seeing these bowls everywhere too!

  4. Oh this is great! SO much detail and options. Thanks so much for sharing! 😉

  5. i am curious what size needle you need to use and what stitch length

  6. OH i have been resisting these bowls for some time now but this tutorial is great and this might just have to be something I give another look at because I can imagine the great gifts that these make or even for organizing in a sewing room.

  7. Hello Julie,

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

    Wow, I love your baskets and your email blog! It’s a real beauty!!! I won’t be deleting it any time soon especially seeing as I want to try this asap. I think they are really fantastic, exciting and fresh and I could certainly use a couple of them around my place and so could my best friend. Well I just want to say thank you for sharing this wonderful tutorial it’s a great way to start the year off. Julie Beard

  8. Best tutorial ever. This one I will be putting on my bucket list. Yay. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  9. I have made one bowl in the past but after reading how you do it. I want to make another one I had wrapped the entire rope with fabric which didn’t want to stay wrapped to good I love the look of the rope color showing on yours and just bits of colored fabric showing at random spots thanks for sharing I used the clothes line from Walmart and it did fine and a little more economical. Than hardware rope

  10. Batik fabrics work well for wrapping around the rope as they don’t fray as much as other cottons do.

  11. Thank you for the tutorial. I have made 4 in the last little while and never thought to add ribbon or yarn. Going to try that next. Have you had any luck doing the tall ones similar to @jmzblond? I have tried but they always spread out.

  12. OMG~I love these! Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

  13. I love these, Julie! They look like so much fun to make too. Did you need a couple bobbins of thread for the bowl?

  14. Just made a basket and a couple of coasters. Your tutorial made it look so easy and it was. I had made fabric placemats for a friend and used the scraps from them to highlight the coasters and the basket. Wonderful additions to the original gift. Thanks so much for taking the time to work up this turtorial.

  15. What beautiful rope bowls…they’re inspiring. I think I could do these…would make a very nice gift or display at home. Thank you for your generosity of sharing this tutorial.
    Bless you!
    Linda in Colorado

  16. Thank you for such a wonderful tutorial. I might try this some day. Your bowls are beautiful.

  17. Fab idea! Thanks, pinned for next te I’ve got some washing line

  18. How did you hold the straight edge basket, in lite green?

  19. This is AWESOME!! I’ve wanted to do this for soooo long! THANK YOU!!

  20. Does the needle pass right through the rope?

  21. Great tutorial Julie! I’m just getting to making these and nice to see your versions

  22. Love the tutorial, thanks for sharing you skills.
    So I went to two hardware stores plus Canadian Tire and can only find cotton/poly 3/16.
    Would this work or does it have to be 100% cotton?

  23. I just saw a red bowl with a white star in the middle on a table in a commercial. Where can I find patterns?

  24. This is the best tutorial I have seen on making rope bowls – thank you very much! I have tried myself but I broke my sewing machine! I used a jeans needle – do you think I should have just used a normal needle? And did you use a special foot? I’m wondering if you can only do this on a super expensive sewing machine? I have a basic model. Thanks!

  25. Thank you for such a wonderful tutorial. How do I make a basket that doesn’t flare out soo much? Thank you thank you. Ardene

  26. I like those baskets. Doing it by hand seems to be lots of work….
    So what kind of sewing machine do I need? Is a special kind needed? I wonder if the rope will be to thick for my machine.

    Hello from Germany;)


  27. I’ve made a zillion of these bowls (all covered with fabric) and sewn with variegated thread. I ‘ve tried many types of needles also. For me, it’s just been trial and error! I started making them on my Bernina, but after a while it just didn’t want to sew them anymore. Machines can have a life of their own. I make them on my Baby Lock now, and it’s working out just fine. I LOVE making bowls!!! Don’t start out with a preconceived notions of how it will look, they have a way of telling you how they want to be. Just do it!

  28. I tried the basket today but the base won’t sit flat. What could be the reason. Thanks

  29. Hi,

    Love your bowls and the great tutorial.

    I have a question:
    How do you manage to keep the same angle all around?


  30. These bowls are VERY addictive! I’ve made several and have plans for more! Thanks for the tutorial.

  31. Okay I can make the bowls..but what about these coils on the side of the bowls when you’re finished..you didnt show us how to do make these. Any help would be appreciated..Thanks

  32. I would like to buy a book tutorial for “Rope Bowl Tutorial”. Is that possible? Please send me information. Thanks

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