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How to Make a Monkey Fist (with Video Tutorial!)

Have you ever crafted something purely by accident? You know when you start a project expecting it to be one thing and it surprisingly turns into something else (…even better). We all have crafting and DIY fails from time to time, but I’m talking about the opposite experience. For me, these sisal nautical rope balls (which I’ve since learned are also known as Monkey’s Fists) are an example of just that. Today we want to show you how to make a monkey fist with sisal rope.

Two DIY monkey's fists nautical rope balls on a blue dresser with coastal home décor in the background

How to Make a Monkey Fist

I was in the middle of making these DIY nautical napkin rings using sisal rope for our DIY rustic tablescape course, when I unknowingly added a few extra loops that suddenly caused my napkin ring to form a ball! You can imagine my delight! Having always eyed these rope balls at the shops, I was pleased to know how to make my own!

Three blue linen napkins on a rustic wood surface tied with DIY nautical knot napkin rings.

These decorative nautical knots look great assembled in groupings as part of a coastal styled centerpiece or just on their own. They’d even look beautiful as a summer, coastal or beach-themed wedding idea!

Gorgeous coastal bedroom decor ideas including how to make a monkey fist. Monkey's fist video tutorial.

We are now bringing them in as part of our Graystone Beach Coastal Cottage bedroom makeover.  Visit the entire makeover filled with coastal bedroom ideas including:

Materials Needed to make your own Monkeys Fists:

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How to Make a Monkey Fist Knot Video Tutorial:

This DIY monkey’s knot craft is just one of those things that’s easiest to explain with a video. So here is a video on our You Tube Channel on how to make a monkey fist. Be sure to subscribe while you’re there! And let us know if you have any questions about how to tie a monkey fist knot. 

Go ahead and make more than one monkey knot as part of your DIY nautical or coastal decor at home or at the cottage. I bet you won’t be able to stop at just one! Also, by using different thicknesses of rope, you can make smaller or larger sailor’s decorative knot balls using the same technique!

For more simple rustic decor ideas be sure to grab our free guide “8 Simple DIY Projects to Create a Beautiful Rustic Tablescape“.

rustic tablescape guide

Even though we learned how to make these trendy Monkey's Fists by accident, yours will turn out beautifully with our simple video tutorial. A cheap and easy DIY coastal home décor idea!

How to Make a Monkey Fist [Video Tutorial]

Jane and Sonja
Learn how to make a monkey fist with rope using our simple-to-follow DIY video tutorial. A cheap and easy DIY coastal home décor idea!
5 from 1 vote


  • Sisal rope ¼” thickness, 180” long
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Two hands


  • Gather materials.
  • Check out our easy-to-follow DIY video tutorial!
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how to make monkey fist balls

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Brenda Oden

Tuesday 7th of June 2022

I often wondered how these balls were made and now I know!! Thank you and I had to subscribe!!! I just came across your blog!!! Love it!!

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