Bondage 101: How to Tie a Karada Part 1

In Japan, bondage enthusiasts often practice a form of artistic rope bondage called "shibari." Shibari involves the use of elaborate rope harnesses that are quite beautiful, and the look very complex and difficult to create.

Some forms of shibari are quite difficult to master, but the truth is that you can learn to create basic rope harnesses very quickly and easily...and the best part is, you don't even need to be able to tie a knot! You can learn to tie the harness shown here in about fifteen or twenty minutes, and there's not a single knot in it.

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 above is very easy to make, as this tutorial will show.

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 wit a longer piece of rope, head on over to the next section, where I'll show how to use the free ends of a 40' length to make a frog tie...

What you'll need

Ordinary soft cotton or nylon rope is easy to find; you can get it at any hardware or home improvement store. I usually go with rope about .25" in diameter. I've found that 10', 25', and 40' lengths are convenient and versatile.

Basic Nylon Rope
25' lengths, available in
white or black
Standard, straightforward nylon rope, which is inexpensive, soft, and strong. 25' is a good working length for rope, and this rope is available in black or white. It's good for basic bondage, and for tying rope harnesses as described in the other sections of this Web site.

Hemp Rope Starter Kit
One 30' length and two
10' lengths of 6mm organic
hemp rope, available
in three colors
Hemp rope is the gold standard for BDSM play. Hemp rope is made from an entirely organic fiber. When properly cared for, it is soft and supple and has a "feel" unlike any other kind of rope, and the sensation of a hemp rope harness is like nothing else.

In the past, hemp rope has been relatively difficult to find when compared with nylon or cotton rope. However, you can now get hemp rope "starter kits" online at a remarkably reasonable price. Each kit contains one 30' length of hemp rope, two 10' lengths, and a pair of bandage scissors, and the rope is available either naturally colored or in blue or red.


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