Learn How to Macrame: The Ultimate Guide for Absolute Beginners
Get ready to unleash your creativity and dive into the captivating world of macrame. We've curated a treasure trove of knowledge to guide you on your macrame adventure.
Whether you're a complete novice or have dabbled in other crafts, we provide easy-to-follow tutorials, beginner-friendly patterns, and expert guidance.
Our mission is to empower you to embrace the artistry of macrame and express your unique style. Embark on an exciting macrame journey and discover the joy of creating beautiful, handcrafted masterpieces.
Who is Bochiknot Macrame?
Hi everyone! Allow me to introduce myself — I'm Nicole, your dedicated macrame teacher.
Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, I've always had a passion for creativity alongside my professional career as a Chartered Public Accountant.
It was during my time as an accountant that I discovered my love for macrame and decided to pursue it full-time.
Crafts have been a part of my life since childhood, from painting and sewing to beading for jewelry.
I stumbled upon fiber wall hangings on Pinterest several years ago and later learned that it was called "macrame." Intrigued, I decided to try my hand at it and quickly became captivated by the process.
After creating a macrame feather and my first wall hanging following online tutorials, I delved deeper into the world of macrame, mastering essential knots like the Lark's Head, Square knot, and Double Half Hitch knot.
And with my newfound knowledge and unwavering passion, I started developing my own designs and patterns, never looking back.
For me, macrame is not just a hobby; it's a meditative and relaxing practice that allows my creative juices to flow. The ability to transform simple cords into almost anything I can dream of is truly enchanting.
As your macrame teacher, I encourage you to embrace the learning process. If you encounter challenges, don't be discouraged; instead, unravel the knots and start anew.
Remember, practice makes perfect, and the satisfaction of creating something beautiful is well worth the effort.
What is Macrame?
Macrame is a beautiful art form that creates intricate designs by knotting cords together. You use various knotting techniques in macrame to create stunning patterns, textures, and decorative elements.
The possibilities are endless, from macrame plant hangers and wall hangings to jewelry and accessories. With just a few basic knots and a bit of creativity, you can transform simple materials into unique and visually captivating macrame creations.
History and Art of Macrame
Macrame has a rich history that spans centuries and continents. It is believed to have originated with Arab weavers in the 13th century, who knotted excess thread and yarn into decorative fringes on textiles.
The word "macrame" itself comes from the Arabic word "migramah," meaning "striped towel" or "embroidered veil."
Over time, macrame traveled from Arab regions to Spain and Italy and then spread throughout Europe. During the Victorian era, macrame reached its peak of popularity. Sylvia's Book of Macrame Lace, published in 1890, showcased the art of creating exquisite trimmings for clothing and adorned Victorian homes with macrame tablecloths, bedspreads, and curtains.
This craft continues to captivate macrame artists and enthusiasts alike, offering a beautiful blend of history, creativity, and intricate knotting techniques.
Benefits of Learning Macrame
Embarking on a macrame learning journey offers numerous benefits that make it a rewarding practice and hobby.
Here are some key advantages that await you:
- Creative outlet: Macrame provides a beautiful outlet to unleash your imagination and express your unique style. It allows you to tap into your artistic side and create stunning pieces that reflect your personality.
- Relaxation and mindfulness: Engaging in macrame can be a soothing activity. Focusing on knotting and creating an intricate macrame pattern helps promote mindfulness, reduces stress, and provides a sense of relaxation.
- Sense of achievement: Learning macrame and completing craft projects can give you a profound sense of accomplishment. Seeing your creations come to life boosts your confidence and gives you a tangible representation of your progress and growth.
- Home decor and gifting: Macrame offers the opportunity to create beautiful home decor items that add warmth and charm to your living space. This craft allows you to infuse your surroundings with a touch of handmade elegance. Additionally, macrame pieces make thoughtful and personalized gifts for friends and family.
- Versatile craft projects: Macrame opens up a world of possibilities for beautiful projects. Whether you're interested in making jewelry, accessories, or even clothing embellishments, macrame techniques can be applied to various creative endeavors, allowing you to explore and expand your crafting repertoire.
Engaging in macrame as a practice and hobby brings forth many benefits, from nurturing your creativity to promoting relaxation and achieving a sense of fulfillment.
How to Get Started with Macrame as a Beginner?
Begin your macrame journey with these simple steps.
- Learn the basic knots.
- Gather the essential tools, materials, and supplies.
- Set up a primary macrame station.
- Choose a beginner-friendly macrame project.
- Create macrame!
In this ultimate macrame guide, we'll focus on Steps 1 to 3, where the magic begins to unfold. These crucial steps will lay the foundation of your macrame journey, equipping you with the skills and confidence you need to bring your very first project to life.
But that's not all. We'll also delve into the next steps, discussing in detail Steps 4 and 5 in our accompanying blog, where we'll unravel even more techniques and beginner projects to take your skills to the next level.
So, let's roll up our sleeves, grab those cords, and get ready to weave some macrame magic that will leave you feeling accomplished and inspired.
Watch our How to Macrame 101 video to learn more about macrame basics.
Important Macrame Terms for Beginners
When getting started with macrame, it's helpful to familiarize yourself with a few key terminology. Here are some standard macrame terms you should know:
- Knots: Macrame involves various knots, such as the Square knot, Half Hitch, Lark's head knot , and Spiral knot. Understanding these basic knot patterns creates the foundation of macrame.
- Cords: Cords are the primary material used in macrame. They are made of different materials like cotton, jute, nylon, or synthetic fibers. Macrame cords come in various thicknesses and colors.
- Fringe: Fringe refers to the loose ends of cords that hang down, adding a decorative element to beginner projects. The fringe can be left as is or trimmed to a desired length.
- Hanger: A macrame hanger is a structure made of knots to hold a plant or object.
- Wall hanging: This refers to the decorative piece made of knots, typically displayed on a wall. It can feature intricate patterns, textures, and embellishments.
- Tension: This refers to the tightness or looseness of the cords while working on a project. Achieving consistent tension is vital for maintaining a uniform appearance in your knots.
- Sennit: A sennit is a row of knots or cords arranged in a specific macrame pattern. Sennits are often used to create texture and visual interest in designs.
- Spacer: A tool or object is used to maintain consistent spacing between knots or cords. It helps achieve evenness and precision in patterns.
- Anchor cord: This refers to the fixed cord or structure to which other cords are attached or knotted, providing stability and support to the design.
- Working cord: This is the piece of cord that is actively used to create knots and patterns, manipulated and moved throughout the project to form the desired design.
- Mounting knot: This is a kind of knot used to secure the macrame project to a dowel, ring, or other support structure.
- Decorative knot: This knot is not only functional but also adds beauty and visual appeal to your macrame designs, enhancing their overall artistic value. ie: Berry Knot
As you progress in your macrame journey, you'll discover more specialized terminology and techniques specific to different types of projects and styles.
Learn the Basic Macrame Knots
Mastering a few basic macrame knots lays the groundwork for crafting stunning designs. With these knots, you can effortlessly create intricate patterns and textures in your projects. This section will explore the three most basic and essential macrame knots.
TIP: To practice these knots, use strands cord at 3mm or 4mm in size at 200cm long each.
Lark's Head Knot
The Lark's Head knot is not only a versatile knot in macrame but also serves as a fundamental mounting knot for various projects. As a mounting knot, it provides a reliable and secure attachment point for your macrame design to a dowel, ring, or other supporting structure. This knot allows you to easily hang cords onto your macrame creation, providing a stable foundation for further knotting and design elements.
In addition to the classic Lark's Head knot, there are other variations worth exploring, such as the Reverse Lark's Head knot and the Vertical Lark's Head knot.
These variations offer different techniques and applications, each with its unique benefits and visual effects. We'll delve deeper into these variations in a separate blog post, where you'll discover how to incorporate them into your macrame projects to add even more depth and creativity to your designs.
Macrame Lark's Head Knot Step-by-step Instructions:
- Fold a strand of cord in half to form a loop. Place the loop behind the object, such as a dowel or ring, top down.
- Take the vertical ends and pass them through the loop
- Pull on the cord ends to tighten.
Uses and Applications:
- Cord mounting
- Starting point for patterns
- Cord connections
- Hanging and suspension
- Adding embellishments
Double Half Hitch Knot
The double half hitch knot is a fundamental and highly versatile knot in macrame. It serves as the building block for many intricate knot patterns, making it an essential technique for creating beautiful macrame designs. With its versatility, you can explore a wide range of possibilities and craft beautiful wall hangings, plant hangers, and other decorative pieces.
For the double half hitch knot, I'm going to show you how to make a horizontal one to the right using the far left cord as an anchor cord and the cord next to it as a working cord.
- Angle the anchor cord to the direction we're trying to head to, which is downward diagonally to the right.
- Take the working cord and wrap it over and through the loop on the left side, with the anchor cord in the middle. Pull on the working cord to tighten.
- Repeat once more underneath with the same working cord by wrapping the cord over to the left and through the loop to tighten.
Uses and Applications:
- Creating intricate knot patterns and designs
- Adding texture and depth
Tip: You can untie double half hitch knots faster by pulling the anchor cord out instead of untying the knots one by one.
A square knot is a common macrame knot formed by alternately crossing two cords over each other. It holds a significant role in macrame as the key decorative knot. It serves as the foundation for numerous patterns and designs, both on its own and in combination with other types of knots.
You will need four cord-ends to make the Square knot. The outer left and right cords are the working cords, whereas the inner cords are the anchor cords.
Bring the left working cord over the two anchor cords and under the right working cord.
Take the right working cord and pass it under the two anchor cords and up through the loop created by the left working cord. Note: at this point, a Half knot is formed.
Pull both working cords to tighten the first half of the square knot. Repeat the process in the opposite direction: Bring the right working cord over the two anchor cords and under the left working cord.
Take the left working cord and pass it under the two anchor cords and up through the loop created by the right working cord.
Pull both working cords to tighten the second half of the square knot.
Once you've completed these steps, you'll have tied a macrame square knot. To create a pattern, continue tying square knots in rows to create an alternating Square knot pattern.
Uses and Applications:
- Flat net-like patterns
- Geometric knot patterns
Know that when you're starting out, you will make mistakes and do a lot of unknotting and re-knotting. The sooner you accept this, the less likely you'll be frustrated with the untying.
I have compiled a FREE EBOOK guide, "50 Macrame Knots & Sennit Guide," that goes over step by step with pictures on how to make 50 different knots and sennits.
This guide will assist you in learning the knots and provide insights into creating unique knot sequences and pattern designs.
Basic Tools and Supplies You'll Need as a Macrame Beginner
You'll need a few basic tools and supplies to get started with macrame. You can find various tools in and around your home that can be repurposed for macrame.
- Scissors: For cutting cords, you will need a pair of scissors that are sharp enough to cut through cord, like fabric scissors. Sharp scissors glide through cutting cord very easily so if you're cutting many strands of cord like I am on a daily basis, a good pair of sharp scissors is a great item to have. If you don't have a pair of fabric scissors you can use your basic kitchen scissors or a pair of craft scissors.
- Measuring tape: You’ll need measuring tape to measure the length of the cords, and likely you’ll already have this in your sewing kit at home. Measuring tape is important as you’ll be able to accurately measure and cut your cords, which ends up saving you cord in the long run. If you don’t have measuring tape, then a ruler from your stationary supplies can assist in accurate measurements, for now.
- Comb: A comb or brush can be handy for detangling and straightening cords, especially if they become twisted or frayed. This tool is also great for creating beautiful lush fringe as well.
- S-Hooks: (Optional)
If you happen to not have scissors or measuring tape at home, these sleek scissors here are my favorite. They are heavy duty and super sharp which makes for great macrame and household scissors.
For basic supplies, it depends on what type of project you plan to make. Here are some of the most commonly used macrame materials and supplies:
- Key ring/swivel lobster clasp: I recommend starting small for your first macrame project, with a keychain pattern. For keychains, you will either need a key ring or swivel lobster clasp to mount your cords onto.
- Wooden dowel: if you’re planning on making a wall hanging, you will need a wooden dowel or a rod. You can even use a sturdy branch you find that can serve as a hanger for the wall hangings.
- Small ring: you may want to use a small (2”) wooden or metal ring if you’re making a plant hanger project. However, there are many patterns available that utilize cord and knots to form a loop for the hanger without the need of a tangible ring. I would recommend a project without a ring for the ease of starting your project.
There are also other tools and supplies that you might want to consider adding to your arsenal when getting started with macrame.
- Crochet hook: It is primarily used for adding intricate details, weaving in loose ends, and manipulating cords during the creation of complex macrame designs
- Clothespins, binder clips, or even paper clips: These tools are used to secure cords in place.
- Tape: Macrame makers use tapes to mark measurements, guide their knotting, or temporarily secure cords to a working surface. This tool ensures stability and prevents shifting during the creative process.
Macrame cords have journeyed through time, evolving along with artistic trends. In the vibrant era of the '70s, macrame boasted a kaleidoscope of vibrant synthetic cords, igniting an explosion of colorful creations. Fast forward to the revival of macrame in the 2010s, and a new aesthetic emerged.
Modern macrame embraced a more subdued and natural palette, with cords predominantly donning neutral, off-white tones. And today, cotton reigns supreme as the favored material for "modern macrame" enthusiasts. Cotton cords offer a soft yet durable texture, allowing for smooth knotting and intricate designs.
Types of Macrame Cord
There are three main types to consider:
- Single strand: This is the most popular type of cord used in modern macrame projects, which consists of a group of tiny fibers twisted into a single strand of cord. These cords are easy to work with, soft, versatile, and sturdy.
- 3-Ply: The 3-ply cord consists of three groups of tiny fibers twisted into a strand of cord. It offers enhanced strength and durability, enabling it to withstand more tension and weight compared to single strand cotton cord. It also has a slightly textured aesthetic compared to the flat and smooth aesthetic of single strand cord.
- Braided: Braided cord is made of even smaller groups of fibers weaved together in a braid to create a strand of cord. Braided cord is the sturdiest cord out of the 3 types of macrame cords. This type of cord offers enhanced durability, consistent thickness, flexibility, textured aesthetic, and versatility.
Macrame Cord Sizes
Macrame cords come in various sizes or thicknesses, which play a significant role in the overall appearance and texture of your projects.
As a personal preference, I find that using 4mm single-strand cords, especially when beginning with macrame, offers several advantages.
Single strand cords are soft and gentle on the hands, providing comfort during the knotting process.
Additionally, they are sturdy enough to handle multiple knots, even if mistakes are made and re-tying is required. With its balanced thickness, 4mm cords strike the perfect balance, making them an ideal size to create a variety of basic macrame patterns.
Other Optional Tools, Materials and Supplies for Specific Projects
As you gain confidence in your macrame skills, consider incorporating additional materials and tools to add depth and personality to your beautiful macrame projects.
Explore the world of metal hoops, beads, and other embellishments, allowing you to infuse your macrame designs with your unique style and creativity.
Where to Find Macrame Supplies?
Embarking on your macrame adventure requires the right supplies, and various options are available to source them. Here are some recommendations to help you find the macrame supplies you need.
Local Craft Stores
Check out your local craft stores, as they often carry macrame supplies such as cords, beads, and wooden dowels. Supporting local businesses helps the community and allows you to engage in a tactile shopping experience where you can see and feel the materials before making a purchase.
Thrift Stores and Secondhand Markets
Get creative and eco-friendly by visiting thrift stores, flea markets, or online secondhand platforms. These treasure troves may offer unique macrame supplies like cords, beads, or even vintage pieces that can be repurposed into your designs.
Remember, as you start your macrame journey, free or recycled resources can be utilized. Look around your home for materials like yarns or repurpose items like driftwood for unique macrame hangers. Let your imagination roam, and you'll find that the possibilities for macrame supplies are as limitless as your creativity.
Setting Up a Basic Macrame Workstation
Creating a dedicated macrame workstation is the first step towards building your creative sanctuary. Find a stable surface, such as a sturdy table or desk, where you can immerse yourself in the art of knotting.
Clear the space, making room for your dreams to unfold. Gather your essential materials: a trusty pair of sharp scissors, a measuring tape, and your macrame cords.
If you're ready to take your setup to the next level, consider adding a touch of organization with a macrame board and pins. This handy tool is perfect for smaller projects, allowing you to secure and keep your cords tangle-free.
Alternatively, for larger or vertical projects, a macrame rack offers a versatile and convenient setup, giving you the freedom to create on a grander scale. But remember, these tools are not required to get started — your passion and determination are all you truly need.
As you create your macrame sanctuary, infuse it with your personal touch. Surround yourself with inspiration, whether it's a mood board filled with captivating designs or a collection of natural elements that ignite your creativity. Let your workstation become a reflection of your artistic journey — a space where ideas flourish, knots intertwine, and beauty is brought to life.
Easy Basic Workstation
When starting out with macrame, you need a good workstation setup. Now this doesn't have to be complicated. You can again use household items to help set up your basic workstation.
- Stable surface on a table
- Packing tape
Step 1: Tie a strand of cord on both ends with Double Overhand knots onto both ends of the dowel.
Step 2: Place the top loop end of the cord onto your table and secure it to the table using strong packing tape.
Step 3: Once you have mounted the cord down at the top, you can attach your vertical cords and start your project.
Other Ideal Workstation Set-ups
Macrame Board and Pins
A macrame board, also called a macrame knotting board or work surface, is a tool that helps create uniform and precise knots in macrame projects. It is usually a flat and durable board made of materials like wood, foam, or plastic. Use this set up for smaller projects, like keychains or jewelry.
Clothing Rack (Vertical Workstation)
If you happen to have a clothing rack at home, then you can hang your wall hanging or plant hanger project on the rack to knot from. If you don’t have one, that’s okay, no need to invest in one at this time. If you decide after your first few macrame projects you’d like to take your skills up a notch or if you decide you want to commit to more macrame, then a clothing rack is the ideal workstation set up for your macrame projects (and especially, larger macrame projects).
Frequently Asked Questions
Is macrame easy to learn?
Macrame can be easily learned, even for beginners. With patience and practice, you can understand and master the basic knots and techniques. Starting with simple projects and following step-by-step tutorials will help you develop your skills over time and build confidence.
Is macrame different from crochet?
Yes, macrame and crochet are distinct crafts. Macrame involves knotting cords to create decorative patterns. In contrast, crochet involves using a hook to create intricate stitches with yarn or thread. While they both fall under the realm of fiber arts, the techniques, tools, and final results of macrame and crochet differ.
What can you make with macrame?
Macrame offers endless possibilities for creative expression. For beginners, you can make various items, including keychains, bracelets, plant hangers, bags, and wall hangings. Let your imagination soar as you explore the diverse range of macrame projects.
Can I use regular yarn for macrame?
While it is possible to use regular yarn for macrame, it may not provide the same texture and strength as macrame-specific cords. Macrame cords are typically designed to withstand the tension and durability required for knotting. However, if you are doing a bit of practice or creating smaller decorative pieces, regular yarn can be a suitable alternative.
Where to find free macrame patterns?
Discover a treasure trove of free beginner macrame projects, patterns and tutorials on the Bochiknot YouTube channel, featuring over 390 videos with step-by-step instructions. Additionally, explore our macrame blogs for valuable insights, tips, and inspiration to fuel your macrame journey.
What size cord should I use?
The size of the cord you should use depends on the project and the desired look. For beginners, I highly recommend using the 3mm and 4mm cords. Here’s a video tutorial that walks you through the steps of creating simple designs using these cords.
How much cord do I need for a macrame project?
The amount of cord needed for a macrame project depends on various factors, including the size, complexity, and design of the project.
It's important to have an estimate of the desired finished dimensions and consider any additional length required for knots, fringes, or embellishments.
A rule of thumb: it's better to have slightly more cord than you think you'll need to avoid running out mid-project. Consulting macrame patterns or tutorials specific to your desired project can provide guidance on the approximate amount of cord required.
If you want to use a different cord size than what the pattern indicates, my cord sizing walks you through the amount of cord you will need to adjust for with change in cord sizes.
How do I keep my knots looking uniform?
It's important to pay attention to the tension you apply when creating each knot. Then make sure it remains consistent throughout your project.
Repeating the same knotting technique will also help develop muscle memory and result in more uniform knots. Regular practice sessions will improve the overall appearance of your macrame knots.
Is a macrame rope the same as yarn?
Macrame cord and yarn are not the same. Macrame cord is typically thicker, sturdier, and explicitly designed for knotting.
On the other hand, yarn is generally softer, finer, and more suitable for other crafts like knitting or crocheting. Using a macrame cord for optimal results in your macrame art projects is important.
Learn Macrame with Bochiknot
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We look forward to having you as part of our thriving community.
Let's get knotty!~