macrame knots

12 Basic Macrame Knots: A Guide For Beginners

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

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.

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.

cord for macrame knots

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 12 of the best macrame knots to learn.

12 Macrame Knots To Learn

1) Lark's Head Knot

The Lark’s Head Knot is a perfect starting point because it’s one of the easiest ways to affix your cord to a rod — or anything else.

  1. Here are the simple steps to make this knot:
  2. Fold a length of cord in half.
  3. Slip the folded end of the cord behind the rod or stick you’re using to tie your piece to.
  4. Pull the cord up and over the rod, making sure not to twist the two loose ends of the cord.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

Source: Gray Wonders

3) Square Knot

  1. 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:
  2. Start with four cords attached to your rod.
  3. Bend the right cord over the two middle or “anchor” cords so that it leaves a loop to the right.
  4. Place the left cord on top of the right cord that is now horizontal.
  5. Bring the left cord under the anchor cords and through the loop formed at the right by the right cord.
  6. 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.

Source: Moss Points North

5) Double Half 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.

6) 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.

Source: Marching North

7) 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.

Source: Made by Hand

8) Berry Knot

This ornamental knot can add accents to your work. Here’s how to tie a Berry Knot:

Source: Simply Inspired

You can even experiment with making your “berries” a different color to stand out from your primary creation. Take a look:

Source: Soulful Notions

9) 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.

Source: Lots of Knots Canada

10) 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. Here’s how.

Source: Moss Points North

11) 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.

Source: Knot Calm

12) 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.

Source: Summer Macrame

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!

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