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How to Make a Rope Harness...

...for people who can't even tie a knot.

I'm working on a new Web site, which will contain, among other things, an extensive BDSM how-to section, complete with tutorials and guides. The first one I'm working on is a how-to for tying a rope harness, for folks like me who know next to nothing about knot-tying. Any feedback is appreciated, especially in terms of clarity of the written part of the direction.

The model is the lovely joreth.

WARNING: What lies beneath this cut is SO not work-safe that if you even think about clicking on the link while you are at work, your company's IT Morlocks will rise from their caves behind the server room and drag you down into their lair, and you will never bee seen again. You've been warned.

  Part I: Making a Basic Rope Harness

In shibari, a rope harness that wraps around the torso is called a "karada." While some forms of shibari are highly ritualized, with specific names given to different styles of knot and different parts of the harness, a more relaxed and informal style of rope bondage is a lot of fun. The simple karada shown here is very easy to make.

A basic karada can be made with a length of rope about 25' long. The rope I'm using here is 40' long, because that leaves a lot of extra rope for doing interesting things once the karada is made, which we'll explore in Part 2. Ready? Here we go!

Most forms of rope harness begin by locating the center of the rope you're using. To make this easier, once you've found the midpoint of your rope, tie a small piece of thread or string around it; that way, you never have to search for it again.

How to make a karada rope harness: step 1

First, find the center point of the rope. The center of the rope drapes around the back of the person's neck. Bring the ends of the rope around one another three times; these three twists will become the three diamonds you see in the front of the finished rope harness.

Bring the two ends of the rope between the person's legs...

...then up and apart on the other side. From this point, each end of the rope will wrap around the person's hips and then through the lowest twist in front, which sounds complicated but is actually quite easy:

See? Nothing to it. Don't pull the rope tight; as you continue this process, bringing the ends of the rope around to the front, passing them through the twists, and then bringing them back again, the rope will need to slide to let the diamonds open up in the front. It's okay if the rope is loose at this point; it will become tighter as you work your way up.

You'll do the same thing again--pass the ends of the rope around the person's back, then around the front and through the twist, like so:

As you might imagine, you'll do this same thing one more time. Bring the ends of the rope around the person's body and behind the person, then back around the front and through the topmost twist. After you do this, you can bring the ends of the rope over the top of the person's shoulders, or back around beneath the persons arms like I show here. (I'll demonstrate going over the top of the person's shoulders in the section about making a simple karada using chain instead of rope.)

So the rope goes around to the front of the person's body, through the topmost twist, then back around behind the person again; from there, you bring the ends up underneath the rope where it passes around the person's neck, and down beneath the rope wrapping around the person's back. (It's easier than it sounds, I promise.)

If you're using a 25' length of rope, you will probably find that there's not enough rope left at this point to run down the persons back. No problem; at this point, you just wrap or tie off the ends of the rope wherever you like--around the part where it loops around the back of the person's neck, or around the part where it crosses behind the person's back, or whatever.

There are all kinds of things you can do any time you find yourself with extra rope. One of the simplest things you can do is use the extra rope to make a wrap:

It's exactly as simple as it looks. The free end of the rope wraps around and around another part of the rope; if you reach the end of the rope, just tuck it beneath the wrap. This technique is quite handy for making "handles" that are quite convenient for grabbing, if you like.

For some more things you can do with a longer piece of rope, stay tuned for the next installment.



Just got a new loft for my apartment from Ikea, which comes in two boxes and about ninety-five parts, so I'm likely going to be spending the next couple of days putting it together--something I'm most decidedly not looking forward to. Not that that has anything to do with anything.


( 66 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 5th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
What's that used for? It would seem to offer an awful lot of freedom of motion for bondage purposes.
Feb. 5th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
These -karada shibari- feel like being hugged, IME.

Some styles provide stimulation to the Nether Regions, too.

They are used as a foundation, sometimes.
(no subject) - tacit - Feb. 6th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
hi - (Anonymous) - Jan. 1st, 2008 12:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
... used for .... - (Anonymous) - Oct. 5th, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
- (Anonymous) - Dec. 4th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 5th, 2007 11:06 pm (UTC)
Things learned from this:

1. joreth looks really good naked.

2. How to make a basic rope harness.
Feb. 6th, 2007 12:36 am (UTC)
Awww, ::blushing::
(no subject) - james_the_evil1 - Feb. 15th, 2007 05:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peristaltor - Feb. 7th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 5th, 2007 11:09 pm (UTC)
Hey great!

That's a different style from those I've learned :-)
Feb. 6th, 2007 01:37 am (UTC)
very nicely done tutorial!
Feb. 6th, 2007 08:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm working on a large number of other similar tutorials, which will eventually become an entire new wing at the Symtoys Web site (which is getting a facelift as part of the process as well), but it's slow going.
Feb. 6th, 2007 01:46 am (UTC)
Ohhh! I'm gonna try!!!
Feb. 6th, 2007 12:02 pm (UTC)
I'm such a rebel. I looked at this at work!
Feb. 6th, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC)
Well, it helps when you work at a place whose IT Morlocks also dig nekkid women... :)
Feb. 6th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
i would imagine that it morlocks would like to look at nakid chicks, as they usually dont get to. i could be wrong.
Feb. 7th, 2007 12:27 pm (UTC)
Technical Question..
First, I appreciate the step-by-step. I have a Shibari book, but have not yet been able to shift through all the school/work books that I read to get to that.. The step by step is just enough to pique my interest, and make me want to try this on a friend of mine..

The technical question: Is there much of a rope difference in length when it comes to BBWs? I know that it will take more, but you're leaving an extra 15 feet for fun stuff in the next tip. Do you have experience with doing rope work with larger ladies, and how much of a difference does it make?

Thank you very much!!!
Feb. 7th, 2007 12:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Technical Question..
Oh, and where do you buy your rope at? :D
Re: Technical Question.. - tacit - Feb. 7th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Technical Question.. - erg - Feb. 15th, 2007 01:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Technical Question.. - tacit - Feb. 7th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Technical Question.. - fenris10 - Mar. 30th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Technical Question.. - tacit - Mar. 30th, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 11th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
Asphixiation hazard?
This is a great example of a simple harness, clearly explained, and beautifully documented! I look forward to the next installment!

I do have one concern, however, in that, if you are going to use this harness for further fun, there is a potential strangulation hazard in the twist below the throat. It appears that the neck loop could be tightened without limitation by pulling on just about any other part of the harness. Perhaps a warning to the inexperienced might be in order?
Feb. 11th, 2007 07:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Asphixiation hazard?
I can see where it looks like that might be the case, but in reality, I don't think it'd be possible. The rope that comes down the front of the body to the first twist has downward tension on it; the ropes coming around the sides holding the diamonds open exert a downward force. The rope in front can't move upward, and there's no slack on it, so it won't actually tighten around the throat.
Re: Asphixiation hazard? - (Anonymous) - Sep. 5th, 2008 08:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Asphixiation hazard? - joreth - Feb. 14th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 30th, 2007 04:31 am (UTC)
Neat! It's like origami!
Jul. 2nd, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
Awesome. I'll be getting some rope and trying this.

Mods? Can this go in the memories?
Jul. 2nd, 2007 01:10 am (UTC)
Whoops. This isn't in sextips. My bad. Haha
Aug. 8th, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC)
Stumbled across this while searching for how to tie a crotch rope. It's very beautiful looking, and very easy. I did it on myself in a few minutes.
Aug. 10th, 2007 01:53 pm (UTC)
Howdy! Searching on LiveJournal, or searching on Google?
(no subject) - malfois - Aug. 10th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 7th, 2007 12:17 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to say thanks for this, I've just learned how to tie it and I forsee this being a useful skill :)
Sep. 13th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
It's a surprisingly useful skill, really. :) Thanks!
Oct. 15th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
Long time no see!
Wow, Tacit... haven't seen you (or Onyx, or Xero) in a *very* long time! I was poking around looking for rope harnesses, and stumbled onto your blog. Nice work!

Oct. 16th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Long time no see!
Thanks! :)

Onyx is now at version 3.0, and the Symtoys Web site now has a bunch of tutorials on rope bondage, sensation play, and that kind of stuff.
Oct. 20th, 2007 10:13 am (UTC)
out of curiosity
My master has been dabbling with rope bondage with me... but he doesn't like the harness that most show how to do online because it gets in the way of the ass or the pussy... any ideas to how to find a "tutorial" on a similar harness but one that instead of going between the ass cheeks and then around the sides of the pussy.. that maybe it just comes down to tie around the thighs? please email to shaitaana@gmail.com if you have any sites or etc that you know of or know how to do it and have a pic by pic instructions please.
Nov. 2nd, 2007 05:48 pm (UTC)
Re: out of curiosity
I don't have any pics handy of a style of karada that does what you want. It's fairly simple to do; you bring the ropes around the wearer's hips rather than between the legs. Maybe next time joreth is in town and I have a chance to do some pics, I'll do a shoot with that variant of karada and put it up.
Re: out of curiosity - shaitaana - Nov. 5th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: out of curiosity - joreth - Jan. 1st, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 2nd, 2007 07:55 pm (UTC)
Great tutorial.

Are you using twisted or braided rope?

Nov. 2nd, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC)
This rope is twisted nylon; same stuff you can find at Home Depot.
Feb. 29th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)
i have a question.. i tried this particular rope harness on myself.. but it kept comming loose and i had to keep moving around.. and ih ave to apply the harness myself.. how do i stop it from comming so loose?
Feb. 29th, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC)
Re: question???
Where is it coming loose? It sounds like you may not be wrapping tightly enough, particularly around the hips and sides. (This kind of harness is difficult to get into yourself.)
Mar. 1st, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
hmm maybe
ya i think your right.. it kept pulling on my neck i didnt want to make it to tight either so probably but as i was walking around it all started loosening up when i thought it was all really tight ill probably have to just work on it im sure ill get it eventually!
Jun. 16th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
so i stumbled over this post via a google search - well done! Very easy to follow!

i have a puzzle for you... i need to figure out how to do a rope harness without crotch ropes... i can get at the legs from the sides, but not down the center of the torso. It needs to be able to go over an evening gown which could be split up the side seams to the hip, but not up the center front or back. Any ideas?
Jun. 16th, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
Interesting problem. The crotch rope holds the harness in place, so without that, you'd need some way to pass the rope around the hips or upper legs.

One solution might be to wrap a few turns of rope around each thigh, loosely enough to then take the bottom part of the karada and pass it through the ropes around the thighs (on the outside rather than the inside) and then back up. I'll have to do some experimenting. :)
Jun. 25th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
wow, I was looking for a repelling rope harness... man was I suprised lol
Oct. 2nd, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
yea, I was looking to make a safety harness for the deer stand.
Jul. 3rd, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
this woman looks well lovely
Aug. 11th, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
Male version of harness
Firstly, wonderful tutorial. Really easy and still an attractive result.

A question for you though: Would you modify this for guys? Passing the rope between the legs won\'t be quite the same. I\'ve one idea but I\'d like to hear your ideas.
Aug. 27th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Male version of harness
Does this help?
Sep. 10th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
yup, that's very helpful. It doesn't have the nice knotlessness of the original, but is useful and easy to follow.
Sep. 20th, 2008 07:42 pm (UTC)
I can tell you from using it. look's are deceiving.

while this can be very sexy wear for a sub,it can and does provide many different bonding points on the body. with the rope being wrapped around it's self in the back it makes for a secure tying area. great guide by the way,love the purple rope
Jan. 11th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
ropestep4.jpg seems to not be loading, either on lj, or directly
Jan. 11th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Must have been a server glitch--it seems to be working now.
(no subject) - pierceheart - Jan. 11th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
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