So the other day when I posted about my recent experimentation in the world of painting, I had just as many comments about the photo of the Celtic knotwork as I did about the painting, so I decided that I would teach y’all how to do it.And I DO expect you to go get the supplies and follow along.


Okay, okay. You can keep reading without your supplies.

Here’s the thing about Celtic knotwork: It is MUCH easier than it looks. It is all about knowing how to do it. I have tried and believe that it is literally impossible to draw even the simplest celtic knot freehand.

Now granted, I have no artistic abilities, but I would say it would be hard for nearly anyone.

However, with just a little direction on how to go about the recipe of Celtic knotwork, it is surprisingly simple.

I am sure that there are dozens, maybe even hundreds of websites with more exacting and correct instructions than the ones I’m about to give you, but I figure that maybe if an art simpleton gives the instructions, they’ll be simple enough to make anyone want to try them.

So, to start out, it’s easiest to do on graph paper. So if you have some handy, grab your graph paper and a pencil.
Don’t worry – we’re only going to use a small portion of that page of graphing beauty.

If you don’t have graph paper, then a ruled piece of paper would be the next best thing.

Okay, now that you’re back with your supplies, make very faint dots at every other corner. Let’s start small and do five dots on the first row. Then go to the second row and do every OTHER corner that you didn’t do on the first row.
Continue until you have nine rows. Be sure to make the ending rows the shorter pattern (see how the top and bottom row above have five dots, while the ones next to them have six).

Now it is time to start drawing your ropes. To be simple, start with the second row. Draw diagonal ropes going in the same direction (left to right, if you’re copying mine) around each dot, and almost to the dots above and below it.

Then skip a line of dots and do the same thing on the fourth row. So far it should look like this:
Now I was actually erasing my dots as I drew my ropes to make it easier to get rid of them. This might make it more difficult on your first time, or to visualize what I was doing, so here is a picture of a different rendition with the dots still in the middle:
It might help to leave the dots the first time (oh, and ignore what is going on in the middle of that picture – that’s on down in the lesson.).

Okay – so do the left to right ropes on the second, fourth, sixth, and eighth rows, or every other row:
Now it’s time to go the other direction on the rows that are still left. Start on the THIRD row. This time, take care to draw your ropes up to, but not crossing your previous set of ropes, so after doing the third row, it should look like this:
Go ahead and follow through on all of the odd numbered rows except for the first and the last:
After getting all of these middle ropes in, go back and “clean up” a little – i.e. attach your first set of ropes to the second, and just make it look a bit neater:
Now is where it all comes together. follow the pattern through the outside rows and attach the sides to each other. This is hard to explain, but basically look at all the sides, identify the hanging rope ends, and attach them to each other, all except for the ones on the corners:
Then go back and tie up the corners. You can be creative and artsy with the corners (or with the sides, for that matter) – finish them off however you would like. Here’s how I usually finish mine out:
Okay – so that’s the basic idea.

But how about if you want to leave an opening in the middle like I did with the crosses in my first picture?

When you first do your dots, trace out the area that you want to leave open by putting a dash through the dots:
Then do all of your lines as normal, except don’t do them on the dots that you dashed:
And when you do your tidying up, you can get a bit creative with how you tie up your middle ends (sorry that this isn’t the neatest one ever – I had a toddler needing my attention):Once you’ve drawn a couple on graph paper, try doing it on regular paper. You just need some way to evenly space out your dots, whether by putting a graph paper under your paper, or by using a ruler. But once you have the dots, you don’t need the graph paper.

If this is completely confusing and un-followable or you have any questions, let me know!

Good luck! I can’t wait to see your designs!! If anyone actually attempts to follow my instruction, please send me pictures of your work and I’ll post them – like a proud Kindergarten teacher!!

7 thoughts on “Art Class From an Art Ignoramus

  1. Very cool. I might actually attempt to create one, I am not the artist in the family my sister is but I love Celtic knotwork.If I do attempt it and I am successful I will take a picture of it and email it to you.

  2. This is so cool – and you explained it beautifully! I am a needle arts person and I am sure that I will be able to put this to use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *