The Macrame trend is popping up everywhere. If you’re the crafty type, macrame isn’t difficult to DIY! All you need is a few supplies and a general knowledge of the knots, and you can get to crafting! In this post we will talk about the specifics of macrame rope, how to determine how much you’ll need, and where to start.
3mm twisted cotton macrame cord
Guide to Macrame Rope
Depending on what you would like to make, the rope sizes vary. The size will generally be listed in millimeters — and the higher the number, the thicker the cord. There’s everything from 0.5mm (which is very fine and used mostly for earrings or intricate detailing) to 8mm (which is very thick and makes a chunky style macrame). Although these are the more common sizes, I’m sure you could find some outside this range.
What's the difference between string, rope & cord?
Rope is generally used to refer to multiple strands twisted together. You will see this referred to as “3 ply twisted rope” or “4 strand twisted cotton”. This is more suitable to projects that need more strength (like a plant hanger). Another aspect of twisted rope is the wavy-like fringe it has when unwound.
Cord is generally woven — you will see “braided cord” on many of the listings. One thing to keep in mind when using this type of macrame cord is that it may not be cotton — some braided cord is propylene (which is more suitable to outdoor projects). This cord is also much more difficult to unwind for creating a “fringe”.
Determine the length of string needed
Determining how much material you will need to start a macrame project can sometimes be tricky. Some things you might consider:
What type of project are you making? Will it have many knots? How will you be attaching the string? Do you want a long fringe?
When making a wall hanging, the rule of thumb I like to live by is to cut my string at 4x the length of my completed project.
For example: If I want my wall hanging to be 1 foot in length, I will need to cut my string to be 4 feet long. When attaching the string (generally using a Lark’s Head Knot) to the branch or dowel, the string will then become 2 feet in length, and will shorten as you tie knots with it.
Now, keep in mind that if you are making something with intricate knots and lots of detailing, you will most definitely need more string, and sometimes it’s better to have too much — and cut it afterwards — than to run out mid-way.
Example: For this plant hanger, the longest strings were 12 feet before I started. The finished product is about 3 feet in length (a lot of the length is lost in the spiral knots).
Example 2: For this wall hanging, I used 10 foot strings in the middle, and then 8 foot strings on the sides (to avoid waste — I knew the pattern I envisioned had less knots on the sides). The finished product was almost 2 feet long before trimming the ends.
How to start a macrame project
The first question you should ask yourself is what type of project you’ll be doing. Plant hangers and wall hangings are good beginner projects — save the beach bag & table runner for a more “intermediate” project.
Starting a Macrame Wall Hanging
To start a wall hanging, you will have to decide what you’d like to build the hanging on. Will you use a tree branch? A dowel from your local hardware store? Antlers you found in the woods?
Where will you hang the dowel/antler/stick while you work? A common set-up is hanging the stick off a clothing rack with S hooks (think MULIG clothes rack from Ikea). If you’d like to make a permanent set up, some curtain rod brackets & a wooden dowel on the wall are handy. If you’re in a pinch, you can always hang it from a curtain rod!
This is my favourite set up for making just about anything Macrame. A wooden dowel supported by curtain hanging brackets, and lots of adjustable S hooks.
Most wall hangings start by tying the string in a Lark’s Head Knot off the top. What you do from there is all creativity! Or, maybe you would like to follow a pattern— if so, check out these DIY patterns.
Starting a Macrame Plant Hanger
To start a plant hanger, you must first figure out whether you will be using a ring, or if you are strictly sticking to string. Will it have beads? How big of a pot will it fit?
Now, the workstation is much more versatile for making a plant hanger. It can be the same workstation as mentioned above for a wall hanging, or you can hang it from a cabinet knob! Alternatively, you can hang it on its new home (the hook in the ceiling) and stand on a chair while making it. Make sure the chair is sturdy of course!
Now that you’ve figured out the basics, it’s time to get to it!
Here are some helpful links to get you started:
These DIY kits have everything you need to make your first plant hanger, including a step-by-step knot guide. All you need is scissors and beads!
Master these knots and you’ll be making boho beach bags in no time!
Check out this step by step video tutorial showing you how to make a macrame plant hanger.
Check out this video tutorial showing you how to finish & hang your macrame wall hanging.
Questions? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!