tutorial :: skipping rope

I'm always trying to think of new ways for my bouncy boy to spend time outdoors, and our new favorite activity is skipping rope.  I searched online to buy a jump rope for each of us, and wasn't excited by what I saw, so decided it would be fun to make our own.

I was able to find most of the supplies for these skipping ropes in our garage, and picked up a few other odds & ends (such as the claw clasp swivel clips) from a local hardware store.  Our skipping ropes turned out so lovely that I'm thinking of making a few extra as birthday gifts for friends.

-- an old broomstick or a 1 in. (2 cm) diameter dowel
-- braided cotton clothesline, 9-10 ft. (3 m) per jump rope
-- split metal key rings
-- swivel eye snap hooks (or claw clasp swivel clips)
    (you can buy sets of snap hooks + key rings HERE)
-- 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm) eye screws
-- a pencil
-- small handsaw
-- hand drill
-- clamp to hold wood
-- sand paper
-- paint + paint brush
-- beeswax wood polish (optional)

STEP 1 :: Use a pencil to mark off 7 in. (18 cm) lengths on your old broom handle or dowel. Clamp your broomstick/dowel to a work bench or sawhorse and use a small handsaw to cut 7 in. (18 cm) pieces of wood.

STEP 2 :: Secure dowel pieces with a clamp, and drill small holes into one end of each piece (see photos below).

STEP 3 :: Use sand paper to smooth the ends of the dowel pieces, and if you've used an old broom stick, you can also apply the sandpaper to smooth the weathered exterior of the wood.

 STEP 4 :: Twist eye screws into the ends of your dowel pieces where you drilled the small holes.

STEP 5 :: Paint your dowels any pretty color your heart desires.  If you use watercolors to paint the dowels, you might want to rub them with beeswax polish once the paint is dry.  My recipe for beeswax polish can be found HERE.

 STEP 6 :: Add split metal key rings to the eye screws at the ends of your dowels.

NOTE :: We found that, if we just used the split metal key rings between the eye screws & ropes, the ropes would sometimes twirl up the handles as we jumped.   Adding swivel eye snap hooks (also called lobster/claw clasp swivel clips) prevented this problem. The skipping rope will work without the swivel clips, but if you have a problem with the rope getting wound up the handles, you might want to pick up a few swivel clips at the hardware store.  You can also order swivel clips (sold as a set along with split metal key rings) HERE.

STEP 7 :: Now it's time to add rope to your wooden handles!  I was surprised to discover that it's easier to skip with a rope which seems much too long.  Originally, I cut 8 1/2 feet of rope for my son. After allowing 6 in. at either end for knots, the length of the rope between his handles was approx. 7 1/2 feet long; however he kept complaining that it was too short.  I finally cut a new piece of rope for him which measured 9 feet (again, allowing 6 in. on either side for knotting).  I think my rope measured 10 or 10 1/2 ft. before knotting.  And never mind if you cut your rope too long and then need to shorten it; it's better to start with a longer rope and trim it down then to cut it too short to begin with.

If the ends of your rope begin to fray, you can wrap a small piece of cellophane sticky tape around the tips.

Here are a few traditional jump rope rhymes to get you started:

Down by the river,
Down by the sea.
Mama went fishing
With Papa & me.
How many fish did Mama get?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...

Bubblegum, bubblegum, in a dish
How many pieces do you wish?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...

What shall I name my little pup?
I'll have to think a good one up.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G...
(when the jumper misses, make up a 
name beginning with that letter.)

ABC's and vegetable goop.
What will I find in my alphabet soup?
 A, B, C, D, E, F, G...
(when the jumper misses, make up 
something silly beginning with that letter)

Mabel, Mabel set the table,
Just as fast as you are able.
Don't forget the salt, sugar, vinegar, mustard,

Mama sent me to the store.
This is what she sent me for:
To get some coffee, tea & RED HOT PEPPER!
(note: after saying the word PEPPER, the jumper 
speeds up the rope and jumps as fast as possible!)


  1. Great upcycle Mumma. What will you ride now the Bloom broom has gone?

  2. Ha! That broom was so old, the bristle-part had fallen off the handle. Luckily, we have not one, but two newer & sleeker models for me to ride (or his & hers brooms, in case Mr. Bloom wants to join me for a ride).
    xo to you dearest Clare!

    1. I won't ask why, because we have a rake with no teeth, though it is still handy to spread mulch. So, there is room on the broom, zoom southwards soon, so we can have a really good natter.

    2. Dear lovely Clare -- I only wish I could zoom south for a natter... Someday, perhaps! Am thinking we might try for a visit to Hawaii (and Japan?) next summer. Not sure that continuing on to Aus. will fit in with our financial picture, but maybe you could meet us halfway in Japan? xo

  3. I see a playdate project in my future, and the Handy Man Pappy for all things complicated. Say, "hardware," and I just hand the project over.
    So fun. We made hula hoops years ago, they stay outside and have well stood the ravages of time and weather. Thanks so much.

    1. Your hula hoops sound great. Do you have a link to an online tutorial? From what materials are they made?

      The hardware on these jump ropes is not complicated. And they only require a bit of sawing and drilling. I'm not a fan of sharp tools (they frighten me!) but I feel a bit proud of myself when I can use a hand saw and power drill with confidence.

      I hope your jump ropes turn out nicely!


I know that word-verification makes it difficult to comment, and that, due to moderation, your comments seem to vanish into thin air once you've hit "submit," but your comments will appear after approval (really!) I read every comment and love hearing from you (truly!)