Celtic Knots are an elaborate maze of twists and turns. The definition of Celtic Knots describes them as a knot without beginning or end. Celtic Knots are one of the few art forms left behind by the Celts and they are used readily in decorative art today. Ever wonder how to make those beautifully ornate knots?

I actually know how to draw them and I am going to show you a basic knot. I will also give you some fun ideas of what to do with them when you start resizing them for your own projects. You will need graph paper, a pencil, a ruler and one colored pencil or pen to start.

I’ll be honest this is complicated! But I have broken it down step by step just like I do everything, and I think the images will help you as much as anything so rely heavily on those!

Step 1 – On your graph paper prepare a rectangle of dots. I am making mine 9 dots by 7 dots if you want to follow along exactly. You can choose any odd number per side. The dots appear at the corners of the squares on the graph paper and skip every other square.

Step 2 – Use your colored pencil to create a second rectangle inside the first. These dots sit directly under the first ones do not skip a square. The original corner dots do not get a colored dot beside them.

Step 3 – Start at one corner and use your ruler to connect the colored dots. They will create diagonal lines across your rectangle.

Step 4 – Go to the opposite side and connect the colored dots coming back the other direction. This will create a grid filling the center of your rectangle.

Step 5 – Now to create the outer edge. On my image I have done these new lines in a different colored pencil so you can see them but you can do this in your pencil. Start with the 4 corners, draw a line from the second colored dot up through the second pencil dot and out to the outside corner dot. Return this line to the adjoining side through the second pencil dot and down into the second colored dot. Clear as mud? Check the image. For the sides we are drawing curves starting again with the second colored dot up through the next pencil dot and then back down to the next colored dot. You are skipping every other dot with this process, again check out the image. Next, go back and create inner curves and corners underneath all the new lines you created. Step 5 is the hardest step to explain in words I am sorry!

Step 6 – Erase the hard corners that we do not need any more.

Step 7 – We are going to start weaving the lines. I have added some color to mine again so you can see what I am doing more easily but you are just erasing lines. Start in one corner and as you move out think of weaving under and over the bands you intersect with. Can you see how I have erased some lines to create the effect of the bands weaving over and under?

Step 8 – Wind your way through the whole knot until you have all the lines erased that need to be. Notice that as you wind your way over and under you will eventually end up right back where you started, that is the unending part of it.

OK so there is the basic knot. If you made it through and ended up with a knot CONGRATULATIONS! Now what do you do with this? You can do different size knots and add them to projects. How about doing a long skinny knot and wrapping it around an ornament , or turning it into an ornament, think long icicles. Make it larger and use it for the background to a card, or on a layout. It could frame a photo on a layout or on your wall. Have fun with it!

Michelle Houghton is a wife, mother and artist living in Iowa. Teaching high school art, doodling, scrapbooking and Copics has been her passion for over 15 years. You can find Michelle’s classes at Creative Passion, her tutorials at Get It Scrapped and Tiffany Doodles, and her blog at Scrapweaver.

Hi nice and simple instruction thanks, will go and have a go.

such a great help and a good base to start my own designs, go raibh mile maith agat!! :)

great! very simple and doable, I think I will have my HS Drawing class do them!!!

Yep I had mine doing these and they LOVED them!

i’m going to try to crotchet this in a falet pattern well here goes nothing hope it works i’m going to try it in a week or so i like to have one sent to my email on doing the trinity knot if you have one i would really love it Thanks

Jackie

Jackie I will look it up and see if I can do it! Thanks, I hope you project works!

Thank you! I lived in Ireland for years and years and I never even tried to make a Celtic knot and now I can :)

Thanks Gioia, glad you found the tutorial and I hope you have fun trying it!

Thank you so much! I have never been able to “see” where the lines should go, and you have made it so doable!

Thank you so much! I’ve tired youtube tutorial videos tried without the graph paper. :/ didn’t work for me. But I found the graph paper! And searched to find your post. Great I can do it now! :)

WOW! You made it so easy. Thank you!

Great! That is what I love to hear!!! Thanks Jenny!

Thanks Michelle,

I’m just getting into Celtic Knots, at 73 yrs I’ve left it a bit late! Even so I found your article really helpful. Thanks so much.

Blessings

Richard

Thanks for helping me out with my homework! :)

help! I am not sure which lines to erase..

thank you

Hey Tori, Hard to describe easier to see in the photos, but in step 6 you are erasing the 90 degree corners, we have replaced them with curves.

In step 7 you are erasing the lines where one band goes over the top of the perpendicular band making it appear to weave. My best advise is looking at the photo and just going one segment at a time.

I have been looking for site like this for a long time. I like to carve and will try to make it longer about 3 ft. for a walking stick. I sure hope it works

Thanks for showing us

Thank you Doug it will work I have done long narrow patterns, good luck!

Dear Michelle,

After a few days searching at Google and Internet I found your site. It is unbelieveble that in the Netherlands I cannot find any book with examples “How to draw Celtic Knots.

To get and understand this art, I have to watch every time Youtube, but for myself I prefer a book.

You can tell me where I can order your book?

Thanks a lot. It seems a very nice hobby, near my mosaics.

Lovely greetings from far away.

Helen Danopoulos, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Helen I am sorry, but I do not have a book. This tutorial was the only one I did on Celtic knots. Have you tried Micheal’s it is a US based crafting store they might have something.

Nice and helpful tutorial. I would like to offer my observations on the relationship between the number of loops along a side of the finished knot and the number of dots required in the setup, as well as the number of loops on each side and the number of unique strands in the finished knot. For these statements I will refer to the shorter side as the width and the longer side as the length.

In your example, three loops spanned the width along the exterior after starting with seven dots, and four loops spanned the length along the exterior after starting with nine dots. Notice that 2(3)+1=7 and 2(4)+1=9. In general, if one wants n loops along a side of the finished knot, then 2n+1 dots are required. This will allow one to predetermine how the knot will look. For example, if I want a knot that is five loops wide and eight loops long, I would start with a rectangle that is eleven dots wide and seventeen dots long because 2(5)+1=11 and 2(8)+1=17.

Next, many knots contain only one unique strand that fills the entire space before starting over again, but many others contain two or more strands. To ensure one single strand, make sure the width loop number and the length loop number contain no common divisors other than 1. In your example that was three loops wide and four loops long, the divisors of 3 are 1 and 3 and the divisors of 4 are 1, 2, and 4. Clearly, they share no common divisors other than 1 which is why one strand was required for the whole knot. A 2×4 knot would need more than one strand because 2 and 4 share a common divisor besides 1. I could go into more detail about the relationships in multi-strand knots, but I think there is just something aesthetically pleasing about the ones that use only a single strand.