How to Make a Monkey’s Fist Ornament


Yesterday we shared tips on how to give your Christmas tree a nautical flair and today, as promised we’re back to show you how we made our monkey’s fist knot Christmas tree 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. The monkey’s fist as decoration is growing more and more popular both in and out of marine circles. With its rising popularity, we thought a monkey’s fist would be a fun, different way to accent our nautical tree this year.

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 Ping-Pong ball to hold the shape in our knot, but you could use any small sphere, knot the end of the line and place it inside the larger knot, or use nothing at all. 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.

Quick Tip: Be sure when you’re wrapping the rope around, that each strand sits next to the one before it without overlapping.

Materials List:

  • • 11 feet of rope
  • • Ping-Pong Ball or other small sphere
  • • Hotknife (optional)

You can find all the full how-to video and materials needed to make your own monkey’s fist, for hauling or decoration at

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!

  1. Deb said:

    Very cute ornament!

  2. i need 72 smaller ones to use for zipper pulls for our new enclosure we made. Can you have them done by the 20th???😎

    • Nikki said:

      I don’t think we’re that fast ;) but that would be a great project with maybe a thick twine and a marble!

  3. Cassie said:

    Thanks for the video. Appreciate it. Will make one for a grandson in TN.

  4. jJuju said:

    I made one for an ornament swap, and then had to make one for myself. Spiffed it up with a little bow.

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