A Beginners Guide to Macrame Design

Table of Contents

Hi Macrame friends,

I’m so excited to share this blog with you! It’s a personal one for me as I walk you through my creative process.

I want to show you how to spark your own creativity, get inspired, and then to finally start designing your own macrame projects.

Now, you’re probably wondering - “Why would you do this Nicole? Your whole business is selling us your awesome designs!” And yeah - that is a large part of it, but in the same way that I was inspired to start designing my own projects, I want to inspire others.

My business was born out of a desire to share macrame with the world - not so that I can hide it, and in fact, I would love to try some of your beautiful designs once you’ve developed them so that I can see how I’ve inspired you!

A beginners guide to macrame design

The first step is to challenge yourself creatively - you’ve been creating macrame and following patterns for a while, but now - it’s time to take it a step further.

5 Tips to Challenge Yourself Creatively

Embarking on a creative journey in macrame design can be both thrilling and challenging.

Whether you're creating for personal enjoyment, as a hobby, or intending to sell your masterpieces, challenging yourself creatively is essential for growth.

I’m going to share 5 tips with you to push your creative boundaries and elevate your macrame designs.

A beginners guide to macrame design

Tip 1 - Define Your Purpose:

Before diving into the intricate knots and patterns, take a moment to define your purpose. Understanding why you engage in macrame will shape your approach to design.

Whether it's a therapeutic hobby or a potential source of income, clarifying your purpose from the beginning will streamline your creative process. This self-awareness will act as a compass, guiding your choices in materials, patterns, and styles.

Tip 2 - Set Aside Time for Creative Thinking:

Creativity needs nurturing, and setting aside dedicated time for creative thinking is crucial.

Engage in activities that stimulate your imagination, such as doodling, browsing Pinterest and Instagram, or revisiting your favorite macrame patterns.

Treat this time as an investment in your creative reservoir, allowing fresh ideas and inspirations to flow.

By actively engaging in creative thinking, you'll be better equipped to overcome design challenges and breathe new life into your macrame projects. 

Tip 3 - Go on Creative Thinking Field Trips:

Sometimes, inspiration lies beyond the confines of your workspace. If traditional brainstorming methods aren't yielding results, embark on "creative thinking field trips."

Nature walks, hikes, visits to markets, museums, aquariums, or gardens can expose you to different textures, colors, and shapes.

Steve Jobs once said, "Good artists copy and Great artists steal," - he was talking about taking what already exists out there and learning from it, the Fibonacci Sequence is probably the best example that exists of this - it's everywhere.

Immersing yourself in diverse environments stimulates your senses and triggers creative thinking, offering fresh perspectives that can be translated into your macrame designs. 

A beginners guide to macrame design

Tip 4 - Study Your Favorite Artists' Designs:

Learning from others is a powerful way to grow creatively, I personally started my journey learning from Macrame Grida on Youtube. 

I analyzed and studied his designs, finding the elements I liked the most because they resonated with me on a personal level and I’ve built on that - incorporating the Double Half Hitch knot into most (maybe all?) my designs.

I love how versatile and adaptable they are. This is not about copying another artist's designs but rather about learning from them and adapting your designs.

By studying the macrame techniques and styles of established artists, you'll gain insights and pick up great macrame tips that can inspire and inform your unique creative process.

Tip 5 - Share Your Ideas and Designs:

Creativity thrives in collaboration and feedback. Utilize social media platforms to share your macrame ideas and finished pieces with a wider audience. Seek feedback from friends, family, and online communities.

Embrace constructive criticism as a tool for improvement and a source of fresh perspectives.

Engaging with a community of macrame enthusiasts can also expose you to different styles and approaches, broadening your creative horizons.

Here at Bochiknot, we have an awesome Facebook community, Bochiknot Macrame Journey Community, which serves as a virtual gathering place for enthusiasts and artisans passionate about the art of macrame.

Members share their creations, exchange ideas, seek advice, and foster a supportive environment for individuals of all skill levels to connect, learn, and celebrate the intricate beauty of knotting techniques in their fiber artistry.

Challenging yourself creatively in macrame design is a continuous journey of self-discovery and growth.

By defining your purpose, dedicating time to creative thinking, exploring new environments, studying the work of others, and actively seeking feedback, you'll not only enhance your skills but also cultivate a richer and more fulfilling creative process.

Embrace the challenges, celebrate the victories, and let your unique voice shine through your macrame creations.

Now that these tips have your creative juices flowing and you want to create something but don’t know what to create?

You’re looking for a spark - something that inspires you, well I have those moments as well, and I find the 6 following simple steps help me get inspired to design.

How to get inspired in 6 simple steps

Creativity often strikes when I (we) least expect it. When I’m looking for a spark of inspiration, the journey begins with immersing oneself in the art form's world.

These tips help me unlock my creativity and I think they’ll help you unlock your creative potential and breathe life into your macrame projects as well.

Create the Atmosphere

Your macrame workstation is more than just a space to craft; it's a haven for inspiration. Surround yourself with the tools of your trade, even if you're unsure of your project's direction.

The very act of being in this dedicated space can stimulate your creativity. Jot down basic ideas as they come to you, and let the environment guide your imagination.

A beginners guide to macrame design

Organize Materials & Cord

Bring out your materials and cords, even if you don't have a concrete plan. Allow yourself to touch and hold each item, sensing their textures and potential.

Sometimes, the simple act of handling basic supplies can trigger creative ideas. Consider incorporating new elements like beads or macrame feathers experimenting with textures to add depth and interest to your macrame designs.

Visualize Your Ideas

If you have a sketchbook, dive into its pages for inspiration. Sketching out macrame designs beforehand can provide a visual roadmap for your project.

Reviewing past sketches may unveil elements that can be seamlessly integrated into new creations. A sketchbook serves as a tangible canvas for your ideas, helping you refine and visualize your macrame vision.

Most macrame patterns are created primarily with the basic knots of macrame. Looking at variations of the basic knot patterns can help you visualize combinations of the patterns together.

Cross-Pollinate Ideas

Expand your horizons by exploring books and magazines with a visual focus, especially those related to fashion and various forms of art. Borrowing ideas from different art forms can infuse a fresh perspective into your macrame designs.

Consider how elements from painting, drawing, knitting, crocheting, or weaving can be adapted to elevate your creations to new heights.

A beginners guide to macrame design

Nature Walk

Nature is a boundless source of inspiration. Take a break from your macrame workspace and embark on a nature walk or hike. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and textures of the outdoors.

Nature's wonders can trigger creative ideas for incorporating organic elements into your macrame designs. Whether it's the colors of a sunset, the patterns of leaves, or the tranquility of a babbling brook, let nature guide your artistic journey.

Make Small Projects & Begin

When in doubt, take practical steps to kickstart your creativity. Search for similar macrame designs on platforms like YouTube and watch a few short video tutorials to help you get knotting ideas.

Don't pressure yourself to make something big to start with - use the simple knots you learned making beginner projects to knot practical projects. As you begin knotting and experimenting with craft projects, new ideas may naturally emerge.  

Don't be afraid to test these ideas on the project you're working on; the creative process is a dynamic journey of exploration and discovery. 

Macrame is not just a craft; it's an art form that thrives on creativity and self-expression.

By immersing yourself in your macrame workstation, organizing materials, sketching out ideas, exploring diverse sources of inspiration, connecting with nature, and embracing the process of creation, you can unlock a world of possibilities for your macrame projects.

If these are not an option for you, then the next best thing is a mood board - Pinterest really can be a macrame artist's best friend!

How to make a mood board:

Embarking on a new macrame project is an exciting journey, and the key to creating something truly unique lies in the inspiration you gather along the way.

Here I’m going to show you my approach to designing a one-of-a-kind macrame piece, a seashell-themed plant hanger.

Start with Your Own Designs:

Begin by delving into your own portfolio. If you've created macrame pieces in the past, look for patterns and elements that resonate with your chosen theme.

For our seashell-themed project, consider designs featuring intricate knots or patterns reminiscent of ocean waves.

Start a New Board on Pinterest:

Pinterest is a treasure trove of inspiration. Create a dedicated board for your project, such as "Macrame Shells." Populate it with designs you've previously made that align with your theme.

This step helps you visualize your past work and identify common elements that can be incorporated into your new creation.

Explore Previous Mood Boards:

Reviewing your previous mood boards, especially those with themes similar to your current project, can provide valuable insights.

Look for ideas and elements that can be adapted and integrated into your new design. This is a great way to build upon your existing creative foundation.

A beginners guide to macrame design

Explore Other Artists' Designs:

Venture beyond your own work by exploring macrame designs created by other artists. Pinterest is an excellent platform for this.

Dive into pins that resonate with your theme, and explore related pins to discover a plethora of targeted ideas. Save these designs to your mood board for future reference.

Add Non-Macrame Ideas:

To enrich your inspiration, expand your mood board to include non-macrame elements. Search for images of seashells, vibrant colors, and natural scenes that align with your theme.

This step broadens your creative scope and allows you to incorporate external inspiration into your macrame design.

Finalize and Refine:

With a wealth of inspiration at your fingertips, use your mood board as a reference to finalize and refine your macrame design. Merge aspects from the pins you've collected, incorporating both macrame and non-macrame elements to create a truly unique and personalized piece.

Designing a unique macrame piece is a journey of exploration and creativity. By drawing inspiration from your own work, exploring other artists' designs, and incorporating non-macrame ideas, you can bring a fresh perspective to your projects.

Remember, the key is to let your imagination run wild and craft something that truly speaks to your artistic vision - it doesn’t have to be designed with anyone else in mind.

Create your own design

Embarking on a macrame project can be a rewarding and creative endeavor and as an experienced knotter you know that having a well-defined plan is key to turning your vision into a stunning reality.

Here are my go-to steps - for designing my own projects. I hope that by taking you through the process of designing and creating a wall pocket on a ring, providing insights into the material selection, cord calculations, and sketching your design you can start creating your own macrame projects!

Bochiknot macrame beginners guide to macrame designs

Step 1: Define Your Project

Begin your macrame adventure by clearly defining your project. In our case, we're crafting a wall pocket on a ring. Consider the purpose, size, and overall aesthetics of your creation.

This initial clarity will serve as a roadmap throughout the crafting process.

Step 2: Selecting Materials

The choice of materials can significantly influence the outcome of your macrame project. Delve into the intricacies of cord size based on the intricacies and complexities of your chosen knot patterns or even the overall size of your planned piece.

Additionally, decide between a single-strand or three-ply cord to achieve the desired texture. I pictured a small-sized wall pocket to hold letter mail or keys, and thus, I opted for a 2-inch ring and 3mm three-ply cord for the wall pocket.

A beginners guide to macrame design



Step 3 & 4: Determining Cord Lengths and Number of Cords

Precision is key when it comes to cord lengths and quantity - there is no better way to do this than to use my Golden Ratio - which I use for all my projects.

Utilize a formula that multiplies the diameter of the ring by a factor (4 or 4.5, depending on knot intricacy).

Adjust for complex knots or fringe lengths, taking into account your design preferences. Estimate the number of cords needed, starting with those for the middle section and making adjustments as your project evolves.

Step 5: Sketching Out Your Design

Bochiknot macrame guide to macrame design

Transform your vision into a tangible plan by creating a detailed sketch. This is the blueprint of your macrame masterpiece. Include knot patterns, sections, and symbols to denote different elements.

Don't overlook the importance of sketching the back view if it contributes to the overall aesthetics.

Additional Tips:

Modify as You Go: Embrace the fluidity of the creative process. Be open to modifying your plan as you progress, allowing room for unexpected inspirations.

Plan for Fringe: If the allure of fringe beckons, strategically factor it into your cord length calculations. This foresight ensures that your project aligns with your envisioned outcome.

Pay attention to detail: Elevate your craft by paying meticulous attention to detail in your sketch. The more comprehensive your plan, the smoother the execution.

As you immerse yourself in the art of macrame, reflect on the lessons you’ve learned, share your experiences, and revel in the fact that this is just one approach among countless possibilities.

Crafting a macrame masterpiece is a deeply personal and rewarding experience.

Getting Started with Macrame Design

As an experienced knotter, you understand the importance of a well-defined plan, and our go-to steps for designing a round wall pocket provided valuable insights into the meticulous process of creating intricate macrame projects.

However, for those just stepping into the world of macrame, starting with a smaller project like a key chain offers a fantastic opportunity to hone skills, practice knotting techniques, and gain confidence before diving into more complex designs such as a 3D Turtle.

Bochiknot macrame turtle pattern design

Let's explore why a keychain is an excellent choice for beginners.

Manageable Size and Complexity:

A keychain, being a smaller project, allows beginners to focus on mastering fundamental and basic knots without feeling overwhelmed.

It's a perfect canvas for practicing various knot patterns and understanding the intricacies of cord manipulation.

Quick Gratification:

Macrame projects, especially larger ones, can be time-consuming. A keychain offers quick gratification, allowing beginners to see the fruits of their labor sooner. This instant reward serves as motivation to delve deeper into the art.

Material Exploration:

Selecting materials is a crucial aspect of macrame design. With a keychain, beginners can experiment with different cord types, thicknesses, and colors without a significant investment.

This hands-on experience will inform future material choices for more extensive projects.

Understanding Cord Lengths:

The process of determining cord lengths and quantities, as outlined in your steps, is fundamental. By applying these calculations to a smaller project, beginners can grasp the concept more easily and build confidence in planning larger designs.

Introduction to Knot Combinations:

Designing a keychain allows beginners to explore various knot combinations and patterns that you like to make.

This experimentation lays the groundwork for developing a personal style and understanding how different knots interact.

Transitioning to Larger Projects:

Once comfortable with the basics, beginners can gradually scale up their projects. The skills acquired through keychain creation serve as a solid foundation for tackling more complex designs, such as a 3D Seahorse.

Bochiknot macrame seahorse pattern design

Room for Creativity:

Despite its small size, a keychain offers ample room for creativity. Beginners can play with color schemes, incorporate beads or charms, and experiment with fringe lengths, adding a personal touch to their creations.

So, while the allure of crafting a round wall pocket using a ring is undeniable, starting with a keychain is a strategic and enjoyable way to enter the world of macrame design.

It's a stepping stone that builds skills, confidence, and an appreciation for the art, setting the stage for even more ambitious and intricate projects in the future.

As beginners knotting your first keychain that you designed lays the foundation for a rewarding journey into the limitless possibilities of macrame design.

A beginners guide to macrame design

Remember, your macrame journey is not a linear path; it's a dynamic, evolving process.

Embrace the challenges, celebrate the victories, and most importantly, let your unique voice resonate through your creations.

Whether you're crafting keychains, wall hangings, or intricate 3D sculptures, every knot tells a story, and every creation is a testament to your artistic spirit.

So, my fellow macrame enthusiasts, use your imagination and knot with passion, design with purpose, and revel in the joy of creating.

Share your experiences, learn from one another, and let the world witness the diverse beauty that emerges from the art of macrame - and once the design bug bites, come and join us on Patreon where I have a full course and exclusive content focused on designing your own projects!

Patreon Macrame Pattern Design Course

In our macrame pattern design course, we dive headfirst into the magic of macrame design! We show you how to turn those awesome ideas in your head into stunning knotty creations.

We're not just teaching you the ropes (pun intended), but we're showing you how to sketch out your dream designs like a pro.

We'll chat about tweaking designs to nail those specific knot elements you've been eyeing, and we'll even throw in some seriously cool knot patterns that'll take your creations and your macrame skills to a whole new level.

More importantly, we don’t only focus on existing patterns. Nope, we'll be your creative wing-mate as we guide you through crafting your very own knot patterns. It's not just about making cool stuff; it's about unleashing your inner macrame artist.

Are you looking for more fun macrame patterns?

Looking to expand the macrame skills you've learned?

We got you covered with more macrame DIY projects you can make in the comfort of your own home.

I have numerous diverse DIY macrame patterns that you can explore, ranging from distinctive wall hangings for home decor to timeless plant hangers suitable for all skill levels.

Browse my collection of DIY macrame patterns on Etsy.

Bochiknot macrame

The patterns come complete with step-by-step photos, written instructions, and helpful tips and tricks to assist you throughout your macrame journey.

How to Turn Knots into Exquisite Macrame Designs

Discover the art of macrame like never before!

Join our exclusive community of passionate macrame enthusiasts and unlock a world of creativity.

Gain access to a treasure trove of unique patterns, expert guidance, and a supportive network of fellow artists.

Bochiknot Macrame Patreon

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned knotter, our community is your gateway to mastering the art of macrame.

Elevate your skills, share your creations, and embark on a journey of inspiration together.

Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity.

Join our exclusive macrame community today!

Much love,

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