Linda Hendrickson
Tablet Weaving and Ply-Splitting Books, Tools & Kits

How to Tape and Cut Cords for Ply-Split Braiding

Taping the ends of a cord

When you finish making a cord for ply-split braiding, tape the ends before cutting as described below.

For cotton and paper cords, I use clear box sealing tape. Duct tape works pretty well for fuzzy yarns and yarns made from animal fibers. Tape is manufactured so that it doesn't stick very well to itself -- otherwise we wouldn't be able to get it off the roll! But this feature can cause a problem for our purposes. Wiping down the tape with rubbing alcohol before using it seems to help it stick better to itself and to the cord.

These tapes are approximately 2" wide, so they need to be cut into sections. The size you need depends on the size of the cord. Aim for lots of contact between tape and yarn, and not too much contact of tape-to-tape.

Most of the cords that I make are either 3/32" or 5/32" in diameter. For taping the ends of these cords, I cut a piece of tape about 3/4" long. Then I cut that into thirds for the 5/32" cords, and into quarters for the 3/32" cords.

To store these cut pieces for a minute or two until I use them, I have a plastic box lid turned upside down on the table, and gently place the sticky side of each piece of tape along the edge of the lid.

To tape the ends of the cord, press a piece of tape lengthwise onto the cord, and then lightly pinch and roll so it is tight and smooth, like the end of a shoelace. Don't pinch too hard, as repeated pinching will eventually cause repetitive stress injury to your hand and arm. Instead, after lightly rolling the tape onto the cord, remove the cord from the Bradshaw cordmaker without cutting, and then hold onto the yarn beyond the tape while burnishing the taped area against a table edge. This will help the tape adhere to the yarn. Then cut off the excess yarn beyond the tape.

Taping and cutting the cord into shorter pieces

Often, you will want to cut the cord into shorter pieces. First determine where you want to make the cut and fold or otherwise mark the cord at this point. Then, for the cord diameters mentioned above, cut a piece of tape about 1-1/2" long. Cut this into 3 or 4 pieces and store the pieces on the box lid.

Stretch out the cord in front of you while noting the point where you want to cut, and center the piece of tape lengthwise. Roll the tape onto the cord, burnish it on the table, and then cut in the middle of the tape.

Ply-Splitting Gallery

This page created on February 17, 2012, and updated June 26, 2013.