Making Milkweed Plant Cordage

Making cordage out of the Milkweed Plant is relatively easy to do.

To begin with, gather the dead plant stalks in the late fall once the frost has killed the plant.

Once you have gathered enough stalks, begin to flatten them. This can be accomplished by stepping on them slowly from one end to the other. You can also use a rock to pound them flat, or crush them inbetween your fingers.

When you have flattened the stalks enough, split them down the center so that you are left with two halves. Take each half stalk and start at the large end, bend it outward so the woody material snaps and you are left with a ribbon of “fiber and plant skin” attaching them. Slowly strip the fiber off the entire length of the stalk.

You are now left with ribbons of fiber. Take each ribbon seperately and rub them between your fingers and palms until the outer plant skin is removed and you are left with plyable seperated fiber. This step takes some practice. Below you can see a cleaned fiber bundle.

These fiber bundles are now ready to be used and can be made into single ply or two ply string.

I have used one string bundle made into two-ply to tie up the rest of the fiber I have harvested.

The Milkweed fiber can be further refined into smaller bundles and or completely plyable and smooth fibers which can then be spun on the drop spindle or used for intricate work.

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