Do you adore the concept behind hearts—love—but you find the look of a traditional heart not quite your style? Then a rope love knot heart may be just your taste.
Step-by-step instructions for making love knot hearts from sisal rope are below, followed by the video tutorial. (Note, this video is part of the making a rustic wedding cake series. If you do not need to see the “menu” section at the beginning, skip straight to the 1:06 point.)
What You Will Need
For the heart itself, you need ¼” sisal rope and Matte Mod Podge. Separate the rope into strands (my rope had three intertwined). I used a single strand to make the smaller hearts and two to make the larger ones plus to secure the ends.
If you are putting the heart on a cake and adding burlap ribbon (like in the cake tutorial) you will also need:
- Natural Burlap (just a small piece for backing)
- Burlap ribbon
- Wax paper
- Heavy books or something else to weigh the hearts down while the glue is drying.
Making the Heart
The same basic technique is used to make both size hearts. The difference is you use a single strand of sisal for the small heart and double strand for the larger heart.
Basically, what we are doing is creating a Celtic or trinity knot, which has three lobes. Normally, this knot is round, but we are going to shape it so the three lobes create a heart.
Let me tell you something before we get started—I am not crafty and I can do this. It took me some practice and, still, there’s always a point where my hearts seem like total failures. But they work out. So you can do it even if you are not so good at this kind of thing.
Note, each of the following steps corresponds to one of the numbered steps in the infographic at left. (If for some bizarre reason you are reading this somewhere else, go to http://MyOnlineWeddingHelp.com/hearts to see the corresponding pictures and video tutorial.
Make sure you have plenty of rope to work with (you can always cut the excess off later). Then make a loop, being sure the short-tailed end is under at the point the rope crosses itself. FYI, that crossing point will be where one of the top humps in the heart ends up.
You will now make the second lobe. Use the long tail to weave under the bottom part of the loop and over the top part. Pull the rope through to create a second loop (referred to as “loop two” in the rest of this tutorial) about the size of the first (“loop one”). This second loop will become the bottom point of the heart. Assure the tail lies over the upper part of the original loop.
Steps three and four together will be the third lobe. In step three, come back down through the two loops you made in steps one and two. Weave (a) over the top of loop one, (b) under the bottom half of that same loop, and (c) over the bottom of loop two.
To finish the final lobe, weave back up through the knot, bottom to top: (a) under loop two, (b) over loop one, (c) under the upper portion of loop one, and (d) over the upper portion of loop two. The point where the tail comes out after completing (d) is where the second top hump of your heart will be.
Begin gradually tightening by working the excess slack out through the two tails. You may think your knot is a big disaster at this point. But do not fear. You just need to keep going! Some parts will need some loosening and others will need tightening to form the right shape.
When you have the knot sized to your liking, craft it into a heart by pinching the lobes into semi-points. Cut off the excess rope and glue the raw ends with Mod Podge or other clear-drying adhesive.
If you are making the hearts to decorate a cake, continue on. If not, congratulations, you are finished with your heart!
Making the Hearts and Burlap Ribbon Cake-Friendly
As you probably noticed, your heart is see-through. If you are using it on a similar-colored ribbon or for other purposes, this may not matter to you. If, however, you are placing the heart on a cake, it will look nicer with a backing. To apply a backing, simply cut the burlap in a heart shape using the heart you just made as a pattern, then secure with Mod Podge.
It may have crossed your mind that rope and burlap on a cake is unsanitary. If so, you are correct. The solution is to cover the surfaces that will touch the icing with wax paper. This provides a barrier so nothing unsavory transfers to the cake. Just cut the wax paper in the shape of your decoration’s footprint and either place on cake or glue to the décor with Mod Podge.
Adhering Hearts to Ribbon and Attaching to Cake
I decorated the top tier of the cake with a burlap ribbon holding a single small heart. The bottom tier has a ribbon with eight small, evenly-spaced hearts. I also glued a single strand of sisal along the top edge of each ribbon. To make sure everything dries flat, place heavy books or other items on the hearts and ribbon while the Mod Podge or glue dries.
When you are ready to decorate the cake, use straight pins to secure in place (Note, be sure to tell whoever is cutting the cake about the pins so no one gets hurt).
As an aside…
You may be wondering how long the ribbon needs to be. Here’s the formula that will tell you: Multiply a tier’s diameter by 3.14 and add an inch or two to compensate for overlap and icing. The bottom tier of my cake, for example, is 14 inches. 14 times 3.14 is just under 44 inches. So I cut the burlap ribbon for that tier to 45-46”.