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Picture of How To Tie A Globe Knot (or any Turk's head-like knot)

A globe knot is one that covers a spherical object. There are a huge number of possible globe knots. I'll be showing you how to tie one with 30 facets, or 30 sections of cord that show on the surface of the knot. In this case it's the same as the number of crossings, but that's not always the case. A globe knot is tied around a knot mandrel before being transferred to your spherical object, followed through the desired number of times and then tightened down to complete the knot. In the video above, I demonstrate the whole process using a mandrel that I make and sell, which has the knot pattern engraved into it. You can purchase the mandrel and others on my website.

In the following steps, I'll show you how to make your own mandrel using cardboard and T-pins, along with free software to get the pattern.

Step 1: Mandrel options

Picture of Mandrel options

A mandrel is just a cylindrical object, often with holes in it for sticking pins in. Many different materials work for a mandrel. In the following steps, I'll be demonstrating with rolled up cardboard, but any of these options can be adapted to work as well.

Pool noodles

Pool noodles work great because toothpicks can be used for pins and can be placed anywhere. You're stuck with a limited number of diameters, which is fine, but can take longer to tighten down your knot if you're transferring it to a much smaller object.

Rolled up cardboard

Cardboard is a very flexible option as you can make it any desired diameter. It can be difficult to get perfectly cylindrical, but that's not as important as it might seem. Just roll up some cardboard from an old cereal box or any other kind of cardboard. Sturdier pins are necessary. I recommend T-pins that you can get at any office supply store.


PVC is a very sturdy material which is perfect if you want it to be reusable, but requires more work to stick pins in it. Sometimes people avoid using pins and instead use rubber bands to hold the bights of the knot. I recommend drilling holes and getting some threaded pins to keep your knot secure.


Wood is another study option, but a little pricier, especially as you get bigger in diameter. You can drill holes and use threaded pins like with PVC or just cut up some small dowels for pins. The mandrels that I make and sell are wood and use 1/8" dowel pins.

83951410 months ago

If I want to make a 1 strand globe know out of paracord around a 1 inch ball what mandrel should I choose? And how long of a length of cord would I need?

allwinedesigns (author)  83951410 months ago

That's the exact knot that we're tying here. In the steps above, I recommend 10 feet of cord using the mandrel that I describe. Standard paracord is a little thicker than what I used in the tutorial, so you may end up using less as you may not be able to get 3 full passes in.

Glinky90003 years ago

Hi, I want to make a boleadoras with 2 larger superballs & 1 smaller one. The range in diameters of the balls is 1&1/8" and 1&1/2". Can these size balls be wiggle-roomed to fit inside the globe knot made by your knot mandrel with 30 facets? If not could they be tightened down from the mandrel that makes the 56 facet 2&1/2" knot? Thanks!

allwinedesigns (author)  Glinky90003 years ago
Hmm, I think 1 1/2" would be a stretch, but could be doable if you tie it loose enough. Tightening down is easier that adding slack in my opinion. There is a 2" option for a 56 facet globe knot that would be better than the 2 1/2" option. I've gotten a couple 1 1/2" requests so it might be time for me to make some in that size (could still be a couple weeks as I have to make a jig for it first).

That would be excellent! Thank you for your quick response. The sizes I need to figure out proper # of facets for are 1&1/2", 1&3/4", 2", 2&1/2 inch. Seems like there would be a list of these corresponding size/facet#s somewhere already...

allwinedesigns (author)  Glinky90003 years ago
What size cord are you using?

Hi again, I'm using military spec nylon 550 paracord. Also, I would like to suggest that you make a step by step picture (not video) series showing how to best tighten a four or five cord monkey's paw knot. That's the part the knot-tying pros are skimpiest about. Thanks!

Military spec nylon 550 paracord.

Raitis3 years ago

This is great, I love when people explain the underlying principles!

rayj00073 years ago

Nice 'able.

Are you aware of any formula for selecting cord size and/or number of "plys" and/or number of facets given a specified sphere diameter?

Example of failures: The example globe knot made of 1/2" cord around a golf ball or the example cord size globe knot placed on a bowling ball.

Any info would be appreciated.

Just an FYI: Looking at "The Ashley Book of Knots" this might be considered a "Monkey's Fist" rather than a "Turks Head", based on application. There seems to be a lot of overlap between the 2 types.

allwinedesigns (author)  rayj00073 years ago

Found it under a pile of knot mandrels! I've found this equation works well. It is only an approximation, so I'd definitely pad the numbers you get from it as there's nothing worse than coming up a foot short after spending hours tying the knot. D = sqrt(p^2*w^2*F/pi) where D is the diameter of the core, sqrt is the square root, p is the ply, w is the diameter of the cord and F is the number of facets of the knot.

That's what I was looking for!!!! I'll have to take a look at the "Globe Knot Cookbook".

Thanks very much for this and the length equation.

allwinedesigns (author)  allwinedesigns3 years ago

You'll then need this one as well: L = 6*D^2/w where L is the length of the cord.

allwinedesigns (author)  rayj00073 years ago

The globe knot cookcook (, by Don Burrhus, has some good equations for approximating cord length, but I can't for the life of me find it right now. When I dig it up, I can post his equation. I've implemented my own 3D knot software that I generally use for that type of problem. You couldn't get more than a single ply with 1/2" around a golf ball and it would be about 5ft, and to cover a bowling ball with 1/8" cord you need around 18 or 19 ply (a very tricky thing to keep even!) and that would come out to around 270 feet (I'd probably add extra to that number to be safe if you really were going to try it). Those are two extremes that I wouldn't recommend doing, though.

How did you determine it would take 18 or 19 plys to cover the bowling ball? Is there an equation relating sphere diameter, cord diameter, to number of plys? For example if I wanted to cover a bowling ball with 1/2" cord, how can I calculate the minimum number of plys to assure coverage?

Any equation relating the 3 variables would be helpful.

allwinedesigns (author) made it! rayj00073 years ago

My software represents the knot in 3D given several parameters and calculates the length given my inputs. Unfortunately, it's not a straight forward equation. This is the 1/2" cord around a golf ball sized core. I'll let you know when I'm able to dig up my Globe Knot Cookbook, as there is an equation in there that's exactly what you're looking for.

namora rayj00073 years ago

You are quite correct in the difference between the two classes of Knots. Turks heads are designed to be tied on a cylindrical shape and monkeys fists are designed to enclose a sphere in order to hold it without slipping off. I have used turks heads on the end of a broom to create a loop for hanging or to decorate a cap for a container but for a heaving line they are way too tedious to get a good reliable hold on the weight. The mandrel seems to be essential for the globe not.

There is another knot I learned as the true lovers Knot that can be used to make buttons or decorate the end of a lanyard or as a back splice stopper knot.

As for diameter of the line, I use scale as a guide. To look right at least four wraps are minimum for a fist while three courses are adequate for turk's heads. I did notice that one mandrel design created the pattern used to make woven belts.

namora namora3 years ago

One small tip. I always seal the end of the line with wax for natural fiber or flame for synthetics to make passing it through the decreasingly sized holes much easier..

allwinedesigns (author)  namora3 years ago

In the past I've used super glue and electrical tape to seal the ends.

allwinedesigns (author)  namora3 years ago

That's a great tip! I'll have to try wax the next time I tie something out of cotton.

allwinedesigns (author)  namora3 years ago
The Advanced Grid Maker can make a very wide range of patterns! In fact, it can do the true lover's knot. Attached is a ring that my 3D knot software generated. A friend of mine wears it every day.
allwinedesigns (author)  rayj00073 years ago

It's certainly a covering, which a Monkey's fist would fall into. Turk's heads are very similar as they have a certain number of parts and bights, and are very grid like in nature. Both can be represented on the Advanced Grid Maker.

allwinedesigns (author)  allwinedesigns3 years ago

That is Globe Knots and Turk's Heads, not a Monkey's fist.

RobDeVoer3 years ago

I like the depth of information you are sharing here. I always intended on trying my hand on making a globe knot and now have a much better understanding how to make it happen. Thanks for sharing!

wpople3 years ago

Nice Instructable, I am looking to make some juggling balls that are 2.5"s I will most likely fill a balloon with sand, rice, or beans for the core. What settings would you recommend to ensure that things don't start falling out as I am playing with them

allwinedesigns (author)  wpople3 years ago

If you follow the same steps as the 30 facet globe, but go to 12 rows x 16 columns, you'll get the knot. Then stretch it to 2.5" in diameter and around 3" tall rather than 1".

allwinedesigns (author)  wpople3 years ago

I sell a 56 facet pattern on a 2 1/2" mandrel:

You'd need about 28 feet of 550 paracord to cover it, but it could be tricky not to have a solid core. Lacrosse balls are 2.5" in diameter and work great as a core.

hamthis3 years ago

Goo job getting top pick on the instructables.

fwincek3 years ago

Great video!! Thanks...I've always looked at those Turk's Head balls and wondered how to do one...great job!!

allwinedesigns (author)  fwincek3 years ago
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