Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Project 25: Four-Strand Lanyard

It's late June - time for the quintessential kids' summertime craft. Called variously lanyards, boondoggle, or gimp, these woven keychains are fun and relaxing to make, both for kids and grown-ups.

Because they're a ubiquitous summer camp staple, you might think they're a piece of cake to make. They are - once you get them started. So, this project will focus closely on both starting and finishing a lanyard - the hardest parts. We'll work with the basic four-strand lanyard: two different colors of craft lace, in a box stitch.

Summer camp staple: a four-string lanyard
What you need

  • plastic craft lace (Rexlace or similar, found at craft stores such as Michael's)
  • scissors
  • optional: keychain for the lanyard

What you need, clockwise from left: scissors, keychain, two different colors of craft lace
Start by cutting about a yard of each color lace, making sure the laces are the same length. Then follow the step-by-step photos:
Step 1: Put laces in a plus sign shape, crossing them in the middle.
Step 2: Bend the left side of the yellow lace to the right, over the pink lace.
Step 3: Bend the right side of the yellow lace over the pink lace. Now you have a top yellow lace that's crossing over to the right, and a bottom yellow lace that's crossing over to the left. Hold the laces down with your finger.
Step 4: Take the upper end of the pink lace and fold it down, over the top yellow lace and under the bottom yellow lace, keeping it toward the right. Notice how we're then moving the un-folded bottom half of the pink lace over to the left
Step 5: Then, take the lower end of the pink lace that you moved to the left, and fold it over the bottom yellow lace and under the top yellow lace, making sure it's on the left.
Step 6: Grab all the ends of the laces and pull them tight. You now have your first square box stitch!
Step 7: Now you can start stitching the rest of the lanyard. Hold up the lanyard so it's facing upward toward you. Fold one pink end toward you and the other away from you, and grasp the ends so that the middle pink laces stick up a little, as shown here.
Step 8: Pull the yellow lace on the right over and under, as before, keeping it to the right. 
Step 9: And then pull the yellow lace on the left over and under, keeping it to the left. Pull the laces tight.
Now's a good time to hook a keychain over the very bottom-most lace.
And then continue onward, lacing and pulling tight in the box stitch, until your lanyard is as long as you like.
When you're finished stitching, it's time to finish off the lanyard by pulling the laces through and then pulling them tight. Take a pink lace and push it under the closest pink lace, pulling it up through the center of the lanyard.
And continue around the lanyard, pushing each colored lace under and up through the nearest lace of the same color.
The finished lanyard


  1. Totally brings back memories! I adore these. It would be especially great attached to a keychain. They seemed a lot harder to make when I was a kid, but seems pretty easy now-- at least from your tutorial. Great colors, too.

  2. Yup, summer fun! The hard part is figuring out what to do with all the lanyards - they're hanging off backpacks, purses, you name it!