We would like to thank André van der Salm, for allowing us to share his invaluable tutorial on making a miniature wine cork fender. In this tutorial you will how to turn a simple wine bottle cork into a rather decorative and useful floating keyring. OK, even if you don’t live near water, you will certainly have the smartest fender keyring for miles around!
How to Make a Rope Fender Keyring
The first thing you will need to do is get together some basic tools, below is an example of what tools you may need to make the mini rope fender. If you do not have the exact tools as shown, do not worry as I am sure you will have something similar that will do the job just as well!
- Wine Cork: A length of 0.75″ or a diameter of 1.9″ will do the trick.
- Sharp Knife: You’ll need this for bevelling the edges of your wine cork.
- Sharp Awl: A handy tool for punching holes in your cork.
- Cord: Get a piece of this to use in your project.
- Crochet Hook: You’ll need one of these for weaving your cord through your cork.
- Knife for Heating: This knife will be used to melt your cord.
- Lighter: You’ll need a lighter to heat up your knife.
- Needle: A needle will come in handy when weaving your cord through your cork.
- Cord: You’ll need some 1mm or 0.04 ft21aprox. longorm7 cord to get started on your project.”
Preparing the Cork
The first thing that you will need to do is bevel the top and bottom edges of the cord, this will allow the hitching to follow the curve much easier as you are hitching. This will become clear a little later (1).
The next step is to make a hole through the centre of the cork, this can be done using a sharp awl, this should then allow you to pull through a doubled piece of cord. (2). A crochet needle (or a sailmaker’s needle) is used to pull the cordage through the centre or the cork (3&4).
You can now cut the two loose ends nearly flush with the bottom of the cork, then with your lighter melt the ends of the cord and then press them flat against the base of the cork (5). By doing this, the ends of the cord will mushroom over and prevent the cordage form being pulled through the wine cork. You will now have made the body of the mini fender (6)
Attaching the Cord to the Cork (Fender) for Hitching
You will now need to attach your cord to the cork, this is done by threading the needle with your cord and then passing it through the cork near the centre and coming out at the side as shown (7). For this bit you will need approximately 6 meters of 1 mm cord of your favourite colour of course. You want to have about 2,5 cm of cordage protruding from the side of your cork.
Half Hitching Your Mini Cork Fender
If you are not sure about half hitching, you may find that this video will help:
To start with the top of the fender is going to be covered with half hitching. As you create the hitches they will spiral out from the centre of your cork, eventually covering the top of your cork. The diagram below (8) show you how the spiral increases in size till you have completed the top section of covering:
In the the photos below (9 & 10) you will see the spiral of the hitching covering the top of the cork.
You will need to continue your half hitching until you get to the bevelled edge of your cork. As you continue your half hitching, you will find that they will naturally follow the curve of the bevel.Continue down the body of the cork, and also as you go round keep the number of hitches the same for each row ( 11 & 12).
Important – It is important that you don’t pull too hard when doing your hitching, you need it to be nice and snug, but don’t pull it like a hand-fisted oaf. Just keep the tension firm and equal, otherwise you could end up with a distorted looking rope fender.
What to Do When You Run Out of Cord when Making Your Fender
You make a half hitch as you did the previous ones, but this time you do not pass the working end through the loop (13). You then get hold of your new piece of cord and insert that cord under about three rows of half hitch as shown (14) the cord should pass through the loop (13) that you created earlier. You then pull up tight on the red cord to lock the white cord in place.
The continue your hitching as you did before (15).
You then continue hitching till you get to the bottom bevelled edge of the cork (16 & 17).
Covering the Bottom of Your Mini Rope Fender
The final step of hitching is to cover the base of your cork, the process is similar to when you did the top of your fender, but now you will need to decrease the number of hitched. The simplest way of decreasing hitches as you go, is to just skip hitches at regular intervals. Alternatively, you can make one hitch through two hitches as you go round. The whole idea is to keep the pattern regular as you reduce the number of half hitches (18, 19 & 20).
Keep going until only a very small hole is left at the base of your nearly completed rope fender. To finish of your hitching take a needle and pass it through the cork and come out at the side of the fender. Pull through the excess, cut it short and then with your awl tuck the loose end away under the hitching (21)
Finally, you should end up with a lovely looking mini rope fender, as shown at the top of this page.
Once you have made your first cork rope fender, you may want to consider other patterns. Perhaps you might like to consider just simply changing the direction of your hitch, you you could even incorporate some Rib Hitching. Remember this technique can also be used on other things such as, Covering a Knife Handle or other objects such as bottles.