Updated: May 23
A quick guide to choose the right amount of ropes for your Shibari set.
I will start with the truth: It depends.
I know, is not cool when someone says that because you know, you will have to endure a long explanation about this and that. I'm not that person, and I promise to be "short". But you will have to reply to those questions for yourself, with a little help from me.
If you feel like you fit in one of those labels above or more than one, welcome you got it easy! Think about the number of ropes depending on the answers you give to yourself
Beginners / Bedroom players / Minimalists forever
1- Ideally, you just want to tie up someone to something (bed, chair, etc.) and make sure they are not able to move for playtime. How many limbs do you want to restrict? 2 wrists? 2 wrists and 2 ankles?
2- You feel curious about Shibari but not sure if it's something you like, also the budget might be tight.
Tying just one part of the body is enough for you? Chest ties might take 2 ropes, but if you tie a chest harness and maybe another harness like on the leg or hips, you might need 1 to 3 other ropes.
3- You know what a single and double column tie is, and you are master on that topic. Tying up only with single-columns for fun even if you are at the level of suspension can be an exciting challenge.
How many parts of the body do you need to do a single or/and double column ties? Waist and thighs are enough? Are you crazy about single waistlines entirely? Maybe you're quite advanced, but minimalistic suspension with 3 to 6 ropes is perfect and nothing else more.
Intermediate / Fancy harnesses phase / Over the top but proud
1- You went to some classes, and things got serious now, you want to step to a more committed relationship with Shibari. You might want to dive into the game and be able to experience more complex ties on the floor.
Do you have an estimate idea of how many ropes you use to each tie/harness you usually tie or learn? Ask your teacher if not. Usually, classic harnesses take between 2 to 3 ropes each. And you might be at the stage of adding upper lines for floor play.
2- Fancy harnesses are your thing, and you are pretty sure this is a long term interest. To be honest, we never have enough ropes, but you enjoy this stage, and you want a lengthy journey. Fancy harnesses are a big signature of this new age of Shibari, they tend to need one more rope than classic ties. Adding smaller bits always is useful in any stage, but you might need those smaller pieces than anyone else.
3- Everyone notice you are the kind of person that LOOOOVES lots of ropes even if you consider yourself an intermediate. Nothing wrong with that, but you need to enlarge your budget because those nice figures you want to create will require twice more ropes than an average intermediate. Still, even if you choose this path now and over the time you end up going more minimalistic, those ropes will be useful in the long run anyway, so no waste!
Advanced classical / Heavier weight builders / Extra extra
1- Your preferrer the word "Kinbaku", and you look up for inspirational classic Japanese aesthetics. You are not keen on fancy ties but prefer the most fundamental ones again and again. Well, for each harnesses you enjoy the most tying all in the same session is the number of ropes you will need, plus the right amount of ropes for upper lines and one or two extra ropes for emergency/last-minute change. Voilá!
2- You often tie people with larger bodies, you already know at this stage that you might need to add up some extra wraps in some ties then and there to make it more sustainable and safer to your partner. You should definitely keep that mentality for suspensions while tying someone larger than yourself or larger bodies in general. Is super essential to remember that more surface to be suspended, more support is needed unless your partner is made of steel (which is also totally fine) and only two wraps would be enough. Not only for harnesses, but you should add 1 or 2 extra upper lines in suspensions to give additional support for yourself and your partner.
3- You might not remember how you got here, but you always end up adding extra wraps and tying super full harnesses on your models because you want to create specific feelings and aesthetic. This will not only translate on the harnesses you tie but also being extra on the upper lines, because why not?
I feel you, but take in mind this is the biggest amount of ropes you might need ever, which will go up to 12 or more ropes for each session. And you still might feel it's not enough.
Choosing the right amount of ropes is quite hard at the beginning but even can sometimes be when we are not sure where we are heading to. From my own experience, I wish I had bought more ropes at the beginning and avoid coming back and forth, getting small amounts. My biggest advice to you is, sit a bit longer into the idea if you are not sure and dedicate some time to educate yourself, observe others and ask for suggestions from experienced people. Try to find out what you are genuinely interested in.
If you are still not sure at this point about how many ropes you might need, then choose one of those sets and just start trying.
Sure thing buying as many is cheaper per piece, we all have been under budget or are just not sure if we will keep doing this Shibari thing or never toucha rope again. But please do me a favour and get some excellent lessons that inspire you to dive deeper into this beautiful practice, you will learn so much, you have no idea!
And you are yet not sure how many ropes to get? Common, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org