How to Make a Monkey’s Fist Ornament

Item # X-HT-300047

Bring a fun, nautical flair to your family Christmas tree this year with a monkey's fist knot ornament. A monkey’s fist, or monkey’s paw, knot resembles a bunched fist or paw and is used as a weight at the end of a heaving line and as an ornamental knot. Using a monkey’s fist as decoration is growing more and more popular both in and out of marine circles. Watch our video tutorial and learn how to tie your own monkey's fist knot!

DIY Monkey's Fist Ornament

There are many different methods to tie a monkey’s fist. We’re going to show you one method but you can use these basic principles to customize your own. Often a weighted sphere is placed in the center of the knot to support the shape and to help with throwing. We used a table tennis ball to hold the shape in our knot, but you could use any small sphere.

We wrapped the rope around our fist to create the shape of the ornament, but another option is to use a jig. At the end, we finished our monkey’s fist with a modified hangman’s knot so it has an adjustable loop for displaying on the tree. When monkey’s fists are used for heaving, often both ends of the rope are left free and the fist is used as part of an eye splice.

Watch this video for a step-by-step tutorial on how to tie a monkey’s fist knot.

Quick Tip: Be sure when you’re wrapping the rope around, that each strand sits next to the one before it without overlapping. Take your time arranging each wrap of the rope to lay flat.

Materials List:

  • 10 feet of rope (we used Sta-Set Double Braid 5/16" Red #1476)
  • Table tennis ball or other small sphere
  • Sailrite® Edge Cordless Hotknife #122177 (optional) or lighter to seal the edges of the rope
  • Tempered Cutting Glass for Hotknife #121915
DIY Monkey's Fist Ornament

Here's an idea! Instead of a table tennis ball, use a jingle bell and then hang the ornament on a doorknob for a festive and jingly door hanger!

What do you think of monkey’s fist knots as decoration? Want them all over your Christmas tree or better left at the boat? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments! If you've made a monkey's fist ornament using our tutorial, be sure to post a picture in the comments section below or on social media and tag #Sailrite so we can see your awesome work!