Craft, hobby, art form, knitting alternative, blast from the 70s past — macrame is more popular than ever. If you’re interested in learning how to macrame, you’re in the right place.
This article will give you a quick explanation of macrame and equip you with everything you need to know to get started.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Macrame?
- Basic Macrame Supplies
- 5 Basic Macrame Knots To Master
- Macrame Patterns
- Your First Project: How To Macrame A Plant Hanger
What Is Macrame?
Macrame uses knots instead of weaving or knitting to transform cord, rope, or other fiber into a fabric that, in turn, can be fashioned into decorative, wearable, or functional designs.
Historically, knot-like designs appear in early Babylonian and Assyrian carvings. Arab weavers enhanced their towels, veils, and garments with knotted fringes. In fact, “macrame” is derived from an Arabic name. And in the 1970s, macrame was one defining feature of the “hippie aesthetic.”
Is Macrame Hard?
Like any other skill or craft, macrame has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s actually not too difficult to master.
Start simple and build from there. Learn a few basic macrame knots and practice them until they feel natural. Pretty soon, you’ll be a macrame pro!
What Can You Make With Macrame?
Once you learn how to macrame, you can make almost anything imaginable.
Some simple items you can try include earrings, bracelets and other types of jewelry, pot holders, and wall art. More advanced projects could include hats, handbags, sweaters, tunics, and other pieces for your wardrobe.
Here are a few basic supplies you’ll need to get started when learning how to macrame.
Basic Macrame Supplies
A Rod Or Stick
This serves as the foundation for whatever you’re creating except, unlike a foundation that you build on top of, this is the stabilizer that you hang your work from as you tie your knots.
You don’t need anything fancy. A repurposed broom handle, branch, or dowel will do. You can even use a hoop or ring — anything that will hold your cord as you tie knots in it.
This will help you when deciding how much cord you need or what finished length you want something to be. Measuring helps avoid waste or the disappointing “oops” of something being too short.
You’ll need to cut your cord into the lengths you desire and also trim edges. Scissors work much better than your teeth.
Of course, you’ll need something to tie into knots. In principle, you can use any cord, twine, rope, yarn, or thick thread — if you can knot it, you can probably macrame it. But, in practice, there are differences among these items.
To begin, you’ll want something that is simple to tie and does not unravel too easily. Inexpensive twine made of coarse stands may quickly turn into a mess of single threads, which can make tying frustrating.
You’ll also want something that is easy on your fingers since you’ll be working closely with the material and manipulating it constantly.
Cord is frequently used for macrame and is a great choice. Not all cord is equal, though. Some can be rough and irritating, while some cotton cord is uniform, soft to the touch, and can make beautiful macrame.
GANXXET macrame cotton cord, for example, is extra soft on your hands and super smooth. It avoids that uneven fishbone look where cord threads appear out of place and can make a decorative piece look less than stellar.
Once you get your starter set of supplies, you’re ready to begin mastering knots. Here are five to start with.
How To Macrame
Basic Macrame Knots
Tying knots is not unique to macrame. Sailors invented many of the knots we see in the nautical world. Let’s take a look at how to master these basic knots.
A lark’s head knot is a simple way to attach something — say a piece of jewelry — to a piece of cord. It is secure and looks great. But you can also include a series of lark knots as a design element.
To make a lark’s head knot, follow these steps:
- 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.
- 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.
Take a look at this video for a detailed visual explanation:
Follow these steps to make a square knot:
- Begin with four cords tied to your rod (you can use the lark’s head knot to fasten them).
- The middle two cords of your four cords will remain stable and are called the “anchor cords.”
- Bend the right cord over the two anchor cords so that it leaves a loop to the right.
- Place the left cord overtop the end 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. To complete the second half, you’ll repeat the process in the opposite direction.
- Take the left cord and bring it over the two anchor cords, leaving a loop to the left.
- Place the right cord on top of the left cord that is now horizontal.
- Bring the right cord under the anchor cords and then through the loop formed at the left by the left cord.
- Pull the cords tight and you’ll have a completed square knot.
The spiral knot looks great and, as its name implies, spirals all by itself. If you’ve mastered the square knot, it’s super simple to do: just complete the first half of your square knot, then repeat without changing directions.
So if you began your square knot with the right cord, you’ll begin the second half of the knot with the right cord again. Depending on which cord you begin with and repeat, you can change the direction of the spiral.
Here’s a video tutorial:
Source: Made by Hand
Double Half-Hitch Knot
A double half-hitch knot is great for adding lines to your creation, but it’s a little more complex and may take a bit of practice when you’re learning how to macrame.
Written step-by-step instructions for this one can sound more complicated than the knot really is. So, see this video tutorial to master it:
Source: Made by Hand
The berry knot is highly decorative and produces a berry-like ornamental knot that you can use as an accent. Watch this video to master it:
Source: Simply Inspired
Macrame patterns are step-by-step instructions that guide you through a project. They provide information on the type of cord you’ll need, cord lengths, etc. They also take you through the right order of knots to achieve your finished product.
You can buy patterns online from macrame and craft sites. Many simple, free patterns are also available that are perfect to try once you’ve mastered your basic knots. For example, try this pattern for a macrame book holder.
Your First Project: How To Macrame A Plant Hanger
Looking for a first project that won’t demand advanced calculations? Try the ever-functional plant hanger.
You can make this beautiful hanger using only three basic knots. Take a look here:
Unleash Your Creative Energy With Macrame
As we’ve explored in this article, it’s easy to begin learning how to macrame. Simply follow the steps above and you’re ready to begin your new hobby (or even business!).
But first things first: finding the right source for your macrame cord is essential. GANXXET offers a wide selection of string, cord, and rope in a host of sizes and almost endless colors. Take a tour today to begin your macrame adventure!