Knot Tricks

Impress your friends with knot tying tricks.

Sure, you can tie a bowline, but if you really want to impress your friends you’ll have to know more than the basics. And nothing shows off your skills, or is more fun, than a little knot magic.

Tie a Knot Without Letting Go of the Ends
This trick is often called the fourth-dimension knot because it appears to come from nowhere in particular. Ask your friends to hold both ends of a short length of string and tell them to try and tie a knot, any knot, without letting go. After they give up and tell you it’s impossible, do this:

1. Lay the string on a table and cross your arms.


2. Keeping your arms folded, pick up each end of the string.

3. Without letting go of the string, uncross your arms.

4. Keep pulling until the shape of the knot becomes obvious to your astounded friends.


Tie a Knot With One Hand
Have your friends pick up the string and try to form a knot with one hand. Most likely, they’ll wiggle their fingers around like a mad spider, but with no luck. They’ll say it can’t be done, until you show them differently.

1. Hold your hand so the fingers are one on top of the other with the thumb up, and hang the string over your first finger near the base of the thumb.

2. Twist and bend your hand so your middle finger picks up the string behind your hand.


3. Shake your hand downward so the string slides off your fingers (but don’t let go!).

4. There, hanging in space, will be a loose overhand knot.

Ring on a String
This should really be called ring off a string, because that’s your mission.


1. Tie some string together to make a 2-foot-long loop.

2. Slip the loop through a ring.

3. Put the loop over a thumb on each of your hands and pull them apart.

4. Ask your friend to get the ring off without lifting the string from your thumbs. After she gives up, put the string on her thumbs and show her how it’s done.

5. Tell your friend to bring her hands together and leave a little slack in the loop.

6. Take the string closest to you, and on the right side of the ring (from your point of view, “A” in illustration), and loop it over your friend’s left thumb (which is to your right).

7. Take the string farthest from you, and on the left side of the ring (from your point of view, “B” in illustration), and also loop it over your friend’s left thumb (which is to your right).

8. Tell your friend to pull her thumbs apart. Presto! The ring will fall off.