Looking for something fun to do with your kids? Want an activity for your students that encourages a healthy lifestyle? Try making your own jump rope, a fun DIY project that can be accomplished in just a few minutes.
When I started my jump rope company, we used to make all our beaded jump ropes by hand at our house. I have four kids, and our family spent many an evening hanging out and making jump ropes together. (Tip: some of the joy of making your own jump rope will wear off after the first 1,000 … make in moderation!)
You can go about making a jump rope in a couple ways:
- Completely from Scratch: Gather all the parts at your local craft store for a fully custom rope.
- Use a Kit: Buy a kit that has all of the parts you need to assemble your own.
Step 1: Choose Your Rope Material
Different rope materials will give you varying amounts of durability and performance when jumping. You can find most of the following rope materials at your local hardware store.
- Leather Rope: cheap, classic, not water/weather friendly, slowest turning
- Nylon or Polyester Rope: abrasion and weather resistant, slow turning (without beads)
- PVC or Plastic Coated Wire Rope: kink resistant, quick turning, easier to control
- Wire Cable: lightweight and fastest turning, wears out very quickly, painful you clip yourself while jumping
Step 2: Rope Length
For a general sizing guide reference the chart below. For a more specific guide to sizing, see my article on accurately sizing your rope. Once you have determined the correct length, cut a section of rope to match that length and set aside.
|Length of Rope||Height|
|7 feet||Shorter than 5' 2"|
|8'||5'2" - 5' 6"|
|9'||5' 6" - 6' 2"|
|10'||6' 3" - 6' 7"|
Step 3: Beads or No Beads
Adding beads to a jump rope increases the durability of the rope and adds weight to make turning the rope easier. Most importantly, colored beads help to add flair and style to your rope! If you plan to be using your jump rope on a hard surface it is important to buy shatterproof beads. You can buy these at your local craft store or online. Ask for plastic “straw beads” or plastic “tube beads”. You can also purchase tube beads and alphabet beads (for extra flair) made specifically for jump ropes: The video below shows how I put together a beaded rope.
The last thing you will need to complete your jump rope is a handle. Without one your rope can quickly become twisted and your hands will fatigue very quickly. For a simple handle, grab some small gauge PVC pipe at the hardware store. Make sure it is wide enough for your rope to fit through (usually ½” to ¾” should suffice). Cut the PVC pipe to the length of your liking; long enough to be able to fit your hand on the handle with a few inches to spare. Alternatively, you can also purchase handles at your local sporting goods store or online like these short handles or these long handles.
Step 5: Assemble Your Rope
First tie a knot in one end of the rope. Slide your first handle onto the non-knotted end and pull it until the handle rests against the knot you just made. If you are using beads, string them onto the rope in any pattern you wish. When you have almost reached the end of your rope, slide your other handle onto the rope and make one more knot on this end of the rope. Cut the excess rope and use a lighter to melt the end of the rope (to keep it from fraying).
There you have it, your own jump rope.
Note: If you are using a cable, you will need to pick up a cable stop or compression nut at the hardware store to secure the cable inside the handle.
With a Kit
If this sounds like too many materials to gather and organize, simply buy a kit that includes everything you need. Here are a few options for kits:
About the Author
Matt Hopkins is a former competitive speed jumper and jump rope coach. Matt has won numerous national championships in speed jumping, and his athletes have won several national speed and freestyle titles and have broken world and national speed records. He also taught middle and elementary school PE in Leavenworth WA for 23 years.