Knitting has stitches, crocheting has loops, but macrame is all about knots. How easy is it to learn macrame knots? And how do you turn them into something useful? We’ll walk you through the basics so you can begin to master this craft.
Table Of Contents
- The Basics Of Macrame
- Tips To Help You Get Started
- 13 Macrame Knots To Learn
- How To Master A Knot
- Make Some Projects
The Basics Of Macrame
The art of tying knots in rope or cord — what we call macrame — dates back thousands of years. You can even find ancient stone depictions of intricate Babylonian knot patterns.
The basic concept of tying differently shaped knots and then repeating and combining them to form patterns makes macrame unique. Learn a few knots, and you can be on your way to almost unlimited creative combinations.
Tips To Help You Get Started
To keep things simple, here are a few tips to know before you begin. Soon, you’ll be ready to focus on what’s important: macrame knots!
1) Have The Right Foundation
First, make sure you have a foundation for your cord and string. A simple rod will do. You just want something smooth and straight to make it easier to slide your cord over and keep things even.
Other options include:
2) Grab Scissors And A Measuring Tape
Next, grab a pair of scissors to trim your cord and a measuring tape to take the “guesstimation” out of your cord lengths.
Do yourself a favor and make sure the scissors are sharp. Having a dedicated pair for cutting macrame cords isn’t a bad idea.
3) Decide On Your Material
Your most important supply, of course, is the string, cord, or rope that you’ll be tying in knots. While seemingly similar, the three differ in thickness and composition.
For example, the thinnest — string — may be a little harder to practice on initially. The thicker cord and rope may be easier for you to manipulate and practice with.
In addition, some cord is smoother and softer to the touch than other cord. This may not seem critical, but if you’re learning and practicing a knot over and over, the softer cords are easier on your hands.
GANXXET cotton cord, for example, is made of synchronized string that’s extra smooth and gentle on your fingers.
Now that you have your materials gathered, you’re ready to begin learning knots! Let’s take a look at 13 of the best macrame knots to learn.
13 Macrame Knots To Learn
While these aren’t the only macrame knots that exist, you’ll be able to create almost anything once you master these 13.
And if you think 13 sounds like a lot, don’t worry. Many of the knots below are simply variations of another one you’re learning.
1) Lark's Head Knot
The Lark’s Head Knot, also known as a Cow Hitch Knot, is a perfect starting point because it’s one of the easiest ways to affix your cord to a rod — or anything else.
- Here are the simple steps to make this knot:
- Fold a length of cord in half.
- Slip the folded end of the cord behind the rod or stick you’re using to tie your piece to.
- Pull the cord up and over the rod, making sure not to twist the two loose ends of the cord.
- You’ll now have a loop in front of your rod and two dangling pieces of cord behind. Thread those two dangling pieces through the loop but beneath your rod.
- Pull them through to tighten the knot.
2) Vertical Lark's Head Knot
The Vertical Lark’s Head Knot turns a standard Lark’s Head on its side. You also tighten each half of the finished knot separately, instead of pulling both cords through and tightening them together.
Take a look at a simple way of practicing this knot:
3) Square Knot
You’ve probably heard the term “Square Knot” before. It’s great for a lot of things, including macrame. Here’s how to tie this versatile knot:
- Start with four cords attached to your rod.
- Bend the right cord over the two middle or “anchor” cords so that it leaves a loop to the right.
- Place the left cord on top of the right cord that is now horizontal.
- Bring the left cord under the anchor cords and through the loop formed at the right by the right cord.
- Pull this tight to complete the first half of your Square Knot. Repeat this process in the opposite direction to complete the second half.
4) Alternating Square Knot
This series of knots builds on the Square Knot by alternating their position.
Begin with a series of double cords each tied to a rod with a Lark’s Head Knot. Then, tie square knots, shifting the group of four cords used for each one.
In the example below, four cords (each doubled over for a total of eight strands) allow for a movement from square knots on the outside alternating with Square Knots in the center.
The Half-Hitch Knot can help add movement to your pieces. It’s often used to create horizontal or diagonal lines in macrame.
The basic knot is simple to learn, and then there are tons of variations you can try. To tie a Half-Hitch Knot, you follow four steps:
- Hold your macrame cord in one hand
- Take the other end of the cord and loop it over the cord in your hand, creating an “x”
- Pull the second end of your cord through the “x”
- Pull everything tight
6) Double Half-Hitch
By itself, the Half-Hitch isn’t very strong. But when you tie two of them back to back, you create a Double Half-Hitch, which is much stronger. This knot is also known as a Full-Hitch or a Clove Hitch.
The Double Half-Hitch Knot can help create visual lines in your work. It’s a two-step process that, depending on how you repeat it, can yield different designs.
7) Diagonal/Vertical Double Half-Hitch
Using the same technique as the Double Half-Hitch, you can move your line of knots diagonally by holding your “filler” cord diagonally. To accomplish a Vertical Double Half-Hitch, hold your filler cord vertically.
When tying this knot, it’s essential to hold your cord straight and taut. Otherwise, your knots won’t be uniform, and your design will look messy.
8) Spiral Knot
A variation of the Square Knot, the structure of this knot causes it to spiral. Complete the first half of your Square Knot, then repeat without changing directions.
You’ll need to tie a few knots before the spiral begins to take place, so keep going.
9) Berry Knot
This ornamental knot can add accents to your work. And it's a good example of how you can combine knots for unique results.
To tie a Berry Knot, make three Square Knots in your cord. Then, pull the center cords up and over the front of the knots and through the cord. Keeping these cords tight, add one more Square Knot underneath to secure the berry.
It sounds more confusing than it is, so here’s a video showing how to tie a Berry Knot:
You can even experiment with making your “berries” a different color to stand out from your primary creation. Take a look:
The GANXXET colorful collection of macrame cord allows you to get creative and make all sorts of colorful berries.
10) Barrel Knot
This knot can save your creation from unraveling. But even though Barrel Knots are great at securing the ends of macrame strands, they can add their own visual appeal as a design element too, especially since you can vary their size based on how many times you wrap them.
To make a Barrel Knot, wrap your cord around the other cords you’re tying it to. Then, bring it back over itself and through the loop you made at the beginning. Pull tight, and voila — you have a Barrel Knot!
You can also add a decorative twist by making multiple wraps with your cord before pulling it through the loop. Try doing this in different directions for a unique look.
11) Wrapping Knot
A Wrapping Knot is true to its name. It wraps up a bunch of other strands and holds them securely in a knot. This knot is also known as a Gathering Knot. You’ll often see it at the top of a plant hanger.
To tie one, you’ll need a new strand of cord to wrap around all of your other ones. This cord becomes the bulk of the knot, while the other cords (the “filler” cords) are simply tucked away inside.
Begin by looping your wrapping cord around the filler cords a few times, then pull it through itself to create a loop at the end. Now tuck each of the filler cords into this loop and tighten. You can vary the size of the knot depending on how many times you wrap it.
Here’s a video showing how to tie it:
12) Overhand Knot
While we’ve included some challenging knots on this list, here’s a really basic one you’ve probably been using without knowing its name: the Overhand Knot.
Once mastered, you can make it more interesting by combining multiple strands for thickness, multicolored knots, or as a gathering point in your piece.
13) Constrictor Knot
The Constrictor Knot shares a trait in common with a snake: Once tightened, it’s really tough to undo (hence, the name). That makes it really useful for securely hanging your macrame creation.
Tying a Constrictor Knot is a bit of a challenge, so it might take more practice than some of the others.
You begin by crossing the ends of your cord around a filler cord. Then, you pull the ends of each rope toward the middle. Bring the cord on the right side over the one on the left.
While you're still holding onto the crossed rope, bring the cord on the left over the one on the right. Wrap it around itself to create a loop and pull it back through the center.
Finally, pull on the two ends of the cord to tighten your knot. Keep pulling until you have a secure knot that won’t come undone easily.
Once again, it’s easier to see this knot being tied, so here’s a video tutorial:
How To Master A Knot
Now that you have a list of knots to learn, it’s time to practice. But you may feel overwhelmed if you try to practice all 13 of these knots at once. You may even be tempted to call macrame too hard to learn and give up.
To make it easier on yourself, pick one knot to start with. Once you have that one down, move on to another. Keep practicing, one knot at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be macrame-ing like a pro.
To help you get there, we suggest remembering the “4Ps” of knot mastery.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is mastering a new knot. Don’t beat yourself up if it takes multiple attempts to get it right.
Instead, calmy untie the knot and try again. You will eventually get there!
Muscle memory is key to learning any new skill. You want to get to the point where you can tie a Square Knot (or any other knot) without watching a video or stopping to think through the steps.
To get there, you've got to practice. So keep a few lengths of macrame cord around to practice each knot until tying it becomes second nature.
Your inner voice dictates how you approach the task of macrame knot mastery. Is it friendly and encouraging or judgemental and critical?
Be sure to cultivate a sense of playfulness when it comes to learning a new skill. Think of it as an adventure to approach with enthusiasm. This will help you appreciate your progress, no matter how small.
You'll likely make mistakes when you first try tying macrame knots. And sometimes, you may end up with a messy pile of knotted yarn that you'll have to work hard to untangle.
You may be tempted to throw the towel in at times like these. But don't do that! Persevere until you get it right. Eventually, you'll be able to tie any of these knots with ease.
Projects To Make With Macrame Knots
Once you get a few knots under your belt, it’s time to get crafty. Here are a few projects you can try using combinations of the knots above.
As you create these items, try to keep your knot tension the same. This way, you don’t have some knots that end up really tight while others are too loose. This attention to detail will help your project look professionally crafted.
Decorate your home by creating a beautiful wall hanging. It's a great way to flex your macrame skills and add a unique charm to any room.
Start with a mini-wall hanging for simplicity, then move on from there.
Add some boho chic to your home with macrame plant hangers. Start with a Wrapping Knot on top and then use Square Knots to complete the body of the hanger.
Whether it's for a picnic or a formal dinner, napkin holders are great pieces to create. Not only are they functional, but they also make an interesting visual statement.
Create custom pieces of jewelry with macrame knots. You can make delicate bracelets and necklaces by stringing beads between your knots.
Protect your furniture with some handcrafted coasters. Pick colors that compliment your existing decor and start tying knots. Mix things up a bit by changing the shape of the coaster you make. Try some circle, square, or heart-shaped ones and see which you like best.
Continuing Your Macrame Journey
Macrame doesn’t demand sophisticated equipment. Just gather a few supplies, and you’re ready to go. But it does take a little time to master the basic macrame knots.
As you’re practicing your new skills, be sure to select the highest-quality string, cord, or rope for your creations. For example, the amazing GANXXET selection comes in varying thicknesses and colors to fuel your creativity.
Keep practicing your macrame knots, and you’ll be a pro in no time!