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Characteristics of Hemp Cord


Hemp cord is made from the bast fiber (outer bark) of the hemp plant. Bast fibers are first processed into yarn by twisting together groups of individual fibers into plies. Then, these single plies of yarn are twisted together in the opposite direction to make a thicker and stronger yarn. Various plies of yarn are twisted to form an individual stand. One or more strands are twisted together to form a specific size. Finally, its polished with either paraffin wax, beeswax or vegetable starch (wheat, corn, or potato) to protect the underlying fibers. For example, 20# test strength (1mm diameter) size hemp cord are made of 3 strands of 2-ply yarn for a total of 6 strands.

Single-ply vs Multi-ply Yarn

Single-ply vs Multi-ply Yarn

You can see and feel the difference. Hemp twine (top) is made with single-ply yarn versus Hemp Cord (bottom) which is made with multi-ply yarn.

Since Global Hemp Cord is made from multi-plied yarn it is much stronger than competitors hemp twine which is made from single-ply yarn. Many refer to multi-plied yarn based product as “Hemp Cord.”

Global Hemp Cord is stronger at a smaller diameter. For example, Global Hemp 20# test strength size is 1mm in diameter, whereas competitors 20# test strength twine is thicker — 1.5mm in diameter — to achieve the same strength. Not only does the use of multi-ply yarn create a stronger product, it makes for a much finer and smoother product. Thus, Global Hemp Cord is virtually free of kinks and is not frizzy. Due to the fact that Global Hemp Cord has a smooth finish to begin with, its not necessary to cover it in a thick layer of wax during the polishing process. Competitors apply a heavy layer of petrochemical based paraffin wax to cover-up the underlying imperfections in their product.

Sized in Test Strength

Test Strength Explained

It can be a bit confusing to purchase hemp cord as the traditional method of gauging the product is by its test strength. For example, the most popular size for creating hemp jewelry is 20# (the “#” refers to pounds). This indicates that the cord has the test strength of holding 20 pounds (9 kilograms) before it will weaken and eventually break. Therefore, for staking tomatoes, one would want to use a stronger hemp cord such 100# size as it will not only hold up a plant with several heavy tomatoes, but will also support the plant during storms with severe wind.

Diameter Measured in Millimeters

Diameter in millimeters and inches

A better indicator of size for modern use is the diameter (cross section or width), rather than its strength. This is due to the use of hemp cord for crafting projects such as paper crafting or hang tags. Someone who wants to apply hemp cord to a scrapbook project is not interested in the test strength of hemp cord, rather they want to know its diameter to determine what size will look best with their layout. Global Hemp Cord varies in size from 0.5 mm to 3 mm (millimeters). The most popular size for both hemp jewelry and paper crafting is 1 mm (20# test strength).


Vegetable starch, beeswax, or paraffin wax are applied to preserve and protect the underlying strands of yarn which aids in withstanding stresses involved in working the cord into knots or stringing beads. Global Hemp Cord uses environmentally friendly vegetable starch from either corn or potatoes as a polish. Most competitors use paraffin wax which is a petrochemical. Beeswax can also be used to polish hemp cord.


Azo compounds used for dyeing are potentially carcinogenic and are outlawed in many nations. Global Hemp uses only 100% Azo free, environmentally friendly low impact fiber reactive dyes. Global Hemp Cord colors are more vibrant than competitors, and color matches between dye lots to achieve consistency which ensures the red hemp cord you purchase today will be the same red when you make your next purchase.