Choosing Macrame Cord: Exploring Alternative Options

Welcome back to our macrame journey to mastery! Today, we're delving deeper into the world of macrame cords, exploring the diverse options that can breathe life into your creative macrame projects.

Natural or recycled cotton cords are the most common choices for modern macrame, but we want to introduce you to the other cord options you have that will enhance your macrame projects. 

This guide will give you the information you need to make smart choices now that you’re advancing in your macrame journey from beginner to intermediate or master knotter.

No matter if you want to make wall hangings, plant hangers, or stylish accessories, this blog is here to help you. So, get your creative juices flowing, and let's explore the world of macrame cords.

Types of Macrame Cord

Macrame cords come in three primary types: 3-ply, single strand, and braided. 3-ply cords consist of three individual strands twisted together, offering a balanced thickness and structure for various macrame projects.

Single strand cords are made from a single continuous thread, providing a smooth and sleek appearance, ideal for delicate and intricate knotwork.

Braided cords involve multiple strands braided or woven together, offering a textured, thicker, and more robust option for larger and more substantial macrame pieces.

The choice between these cord types depends on the specific design, knot style, and desired aesthetic of the macrame project.

Now, I know you’re familiar with your recycled and natural cotton cords, which are the cords we use most here at Bochiknot because we love how eco-friendly and easy to knot these cords are.

There are, however, other options out there and we want to make sure you know what all of your options are!

Types of Macrame Cord Materials

Typically, macrame knotters use a recycled or natural cotton cord but there are other options. 

Cotton macrame cords come in various materials, such as natural and recycled cotton which are both budget-friendly and easily sourced.

You also get Giza (often referred to as Egyptian cotton), and bamboo, which are considered premium macrame cords as they are incredibly soft and feel more luxurious than your normal cotton cords.

You will also come across metallic macrame cords, which on their own are not as popular as cotton as they are harder to work with, but when combined with cotton threads, it is more user-friendly.

Each material has its unique characteristics, which influence the appearance, feel, and suitability for different macrame projects. Here are the key differences between these macrame cord materials:

1. Cotton Macrame Cord:

  • Material: Cotton macrame cord comes in natural cotton and recycled cotton. Natural cotton is made from natural cotton fibers and recycled cotton is typically made from unused cotton textiles.  
  • Texture: Cotton cords have a smooth and soft texture, making them comfortable to work with and gentle against the skin.
  • Appearance: Cotton cords have a matte finish and come in various colors and thicknesses. Natural cotton cords absorb dyes well, allowing for custom color options. 
  • Suitability: Recycled cotton has risen as the more popular choice among macrame artists due to its affordability and versatility in color options. Cotton cords are suitable for a wide range of macrame projects, including wall hangings, plant hangers, and jewelry. They are ideal for projects where a soft and natural look is desired.  

2. Giza (Egyptian Cotton) Macrame Cord:

  • Material: Giza macrame cord is made from Egyptian cotton, known for its premium quality and extra-long staple fibers.
  • Texture: Giza cotton cords are soft and luxurious, offering a silky-smooth texture that feels smooth to touch.
  • Appearance: These cords have an appealing sheen and can be dyed to achieve various shades.
  • Suitability: Giza cords are typically used for high-end or special projects where a premium look and feel are desired. They are suitable for intricate and delicate macrame designs.

3. Bamboo Macrame Cord:

  • Material: Bamboo macrame cord is made from natural bamboo fibers. It's a premium eco-friendly alternative to cotton and synthetic cords.
  • Texture: Like Giza, Bamboo cords are exceptionally soft and luxurious, offering a silky-smooth texture that feels smooth to the touch. Due to their fine texture, Bamboo fibers exhibit remarkable flexibility, making them highly versatile. Bamboo cords are known for their strength and durability, making them suitable for a variety of macrame projects.
  • Appearance:  Bamboo cords have a luxurious silky sheen that elevates every project.
  • Suitability: Bamboo cords are suitable for high-end, premium projects due to their higher price point. They work well for handbags, wall hangings or other macrame projects opting for a luxurious look.

4. Metallic Macrame Cord:


  • Material: Metallic macrame cord is made by combining various materials, such as cotton or polyester, with metallic threads or fibers. This results in a cord with a metallic appearance and sheen.
  • Texture: Metallic cords have a relatively coarse texture due to their thicker fibers, similar to polyester cords, but with the added sparkle and shine of the metallic component.
  • Appearance: These cords are known for their glittering, metallic finish and come in a variety of colors, including gold, silver, bronze, and more.
  • Suitability: Metallic cords are perfect for adding a touch of glamour and shine to your macrame projects. They are often used for creating jewelry, festive decor, or any design where you want to introduce a touch of elegance and sparkle.

5. Wax Cord in Macrame: 

  • Material: Wax cord is typically crafted from natural fibers like cotton or polyester threads coated with a layer of wax. This wax coating enhances its sturdiness and weather-resistant properties, making it an ideal choice for macrame projects where durability is paramount.
  • Texture: Wax cord possesses a unique blend of flexibility and rigidity. While it maintains a certain softness, the waxed surface adds a subtle rigidity, which can lend a degree of structure to your knots and overall macrame design.
  • Appearance: Wax cords often sport a subtle sheen due to their waxed surface, giving your projects a polished and refined appearance. They come in various colors, allowing you to select the shades that best complement your designs.
  • Suitability: Wax cord is particularly well-suited for macrame projects that require resilience, such as plant hangers, outdoor decor, or pieces that may be exposed to the elements. Its weather-resistant properties make it a practical choice for outdoor macrame creations, ensuring that your designs remain intact and beautiful over time.

6. Hemp Cord in Macrame: 

  • Material: Hemp cord is crafted from natural hemp fibers. This eco-friendly material is renowned for its durability, sustainability, and natural appearance.
  • Texture: Hemp cord has a slightly coarse texture that adds a rustic and organic feel to your macrame projects. It provides a unique tactile experience, making it an excellent choice for those who appreciate a more natural look and feel in their creations.
  • Appearance: The natural, earthy tones of hemp cord and its minimal sheen offer a warm and inviting aesthetic. It complements bohemian, beachy, and nature-inspired designs beautifully.
  • Suitability: Hemp cord is ideal for macrame projects that embrace an eco-friendly and organic theme. It's commonly used in creating plant hangers, wall hangings, and other decor pieces that celebrate nature's beauty. Hemp's strength and resistance to fraying also make it suitable for functional macrame items like belts and straps.

7. Chinese (Satin) Cord in Macrame: 

  • Material: Chinese knotting cord or satin cord is traditionally crafted from silk, although modern versions may use synthetic materials. This cord is known for its smooth, sleek texture, making it an elegant choice for intricate designs.
  • Texture: Satin cord offers a silky-smooth texture that glides effortlessly through your fingers as you create complex knots. Its supple yet durable nature allows for intricate and detailed macrame work.
  • Appearance: This cord is admired for its high-quality sheen and rich, vibrant colors. Chinese knotting cord lends a touch of luxury to your macrame creations, making it an excellent choice for jewelry and ornamental pieces.
  • Suitability: Chinese knotting cord is often used for macrame projects that require precision and sophistication. It's a popular choice for crafting jewelry, tassels, and decorative knots, as its sleek appearance and versatility allow you to achieve intricate, artistic designs that pay homage to the ancient tradition of Chinese knotting.

Choosing the right macrame cord material depends on your project's specific requirements and your personal preferences.

Cotton and Giza cords are excellent for most macrame projects due to their softness and versatility, while bamboo offers a distinctly premium quality and natural charm to your designs!

All of these are perfect for wall hangings and other big designs which will be displayed!

Metallic cords are a wonderful addition to your macrame supply cupboard, and their difficulty to use shouldn’t put you off from experimenting with them!

Experimenting with different cord materials can help you achieve the desired look and feel for your macrame creations - and help you discover which cord you’re most comfortable with.

Take a look at our 3 Ways to Begin and End a Macrame Friendship Bracelet video, where we’ll show you some examples of how to use different micro macrame cords for bracelets knotted in different kinds of cords.

Macrame Friendship Bracelets

Knotting friendship bracelets is a beloved craft that has been cherished by people of all ages for generations.

In this creative and heartwarming art form, individuals come together to handcraft unique and intricate bracelets, often exchanging them as tokens of friendship. There is no better craft to use as an example of micro macrame!

So let's look at 3 bracelets made with different types of 2mm cords.

When it comes to crafting stunning friendship bracelets, you have a choice of many unique cord types, each with its distinct characteristics.

Waxed macrame cord is the tough guy of bracelet-making materials, offering extra durability for designs that can withstand daily wear and the addition of beads.

Hemp macrame cord, on the other hand, brings a natural and earthy texture to your creations, appealing to those who prefer a rustic and eco-friendly aesthetic. Its soft and pliable feel makes it perfect for intricate patterns and knot designs.

For a touch of elegance and sophistication, you can turn to Satin cords. This cord boasts a silky and shiny texture that lends itself to sophisticated and eye-catching designs.

Its smooth finish makes it an ideal choice for achieving polished and refined bracelet patterns. Whether you're crafting jewelry for special occasions or seeking to add a touch of luxury to your macrame creations, Satin cord is the perfect option to elevate your bracelet-making projects.

As you can see, in addition to the size of your cord, your choice of cord material impacts the look and feel of the artwork you’re making.

If you want to learn more about how to add beads to your artwork be sure to check out our blog on Macrame Embellishments!

Macrame Cord Sizing Options

We’ve looked at your cord material options, in-depth in the Beginners Materials and Supply guide, and above, but now we need to discuss cord size. 

The size of your cord affects your whole project with 3mm and 4mm being the most commonly used cord sizes for projects like wall hangings and plant hangers.

You will, however, come across projects that call for bigger or smaller cord sizes - or you may want to use a different cord size for a pattern. Bigger cords (9mm +) are great additions to your stock kit for projects like textured wall hangings and outdoor swings, with 1.5mm - 2mm smaller cord sizes being used for projects like jewelry where the weight of your project is an important consideration. 

1.5mm or 2mm Macrame Cord

 

Thin macrame cord, 1.5mm - 2mm, is typically used for micro macrame or small macrame projects. Micro-macrame is a delicate form of macrame that focuses on creating intricate patterns and designs using tiny cords and fine knots.

Unlike traditional macrame, which often uses thicker cords and larger knots, micro macrame employs very thin cords, often as fine as embroidery floss or beading thread.

This precision and attention to detail make micro macrame a favored technique for crafting delicate jewelry, such as bracelets, necklaces, and earrings - which means you can wear your art everywhere!

One of our favorite aspects of micro macrame is its ability to create intricate patterns and decorative elements within a small space while still using all your favorite knots, including Square knots, Half Hitch knots, and Lark's Head knots, to craft stunning jewelry pieces with a bohemian or intricate design aesthetic.

Micro macrame also offers the perfect opportunity for you to incorporate other embellishments, like beads, sequins, and feathers to enhance the jewelry's elegance and uniqueness.

9mm+ Macrame Cord

 

9mm macrame cords, and larger, are not as commonly used as your regular 3mm - 4mm cords due to the space these take up - but they are wonderful cords for big projects such as plant hangers and wall hangings.

What makes these cords especially great is the ease and speed with which they can be knotted - their size makes them easy to work with as their size means the knots are bigger and therefore a project would need fewer knots to reach the same size as a project knotted in 3mm for example. 

Remember sizing can be different across brands and even products in the same brand, so always make sure you check the size of your cord carefully!

When you’ve chosen the perfect cord size for your project make sure you check out our Golden Ratio Blog where we walk you through sizing and measuring cords for your project!

Once you’ve chosen your cord, it’s time to choose what you want to add to it (other than knots of course).

Embellishments are a great addition to macrame projects, and while beginners may find them difficult to add in, they’re a real gem to experienced artists so make sure you visit our Macrame Embellishments Blog!

It’s Time to Get Knotty… 

Macrame is a versatile and captivating art form that offers endless possibilities for creative expression.

Whether you're drawn to the natural allure of Giza cotton cords, the shine and charm of Chinese knotting cords, or the organic beauty of bamboo and hemp your macrame journey is limited only by your imagination, and potentially the size of your cord.

The delicate 1.5mm to 2mm cords offer intricate details and are perfect for those who enjoy the art of micro-macrame, while the chunky 9mm+ cords create bold, eye-catching designs that can be as versatile as your imagination allows.

Whether you opt for the fine elegance of the smaller cords or the dramatic impact of the thicker ones, the magic of macrame lies in your hands.

So, choose the cord type and size that resonates with your vision, and let your creativity weave a story that's uniquely yours, one knot at a time.

Are you looking for more fun DIY macrame patterns?

Looking to expand the macrame skills you've learned?

We have a library of over 50+ eBook patterns over on our exclusive Bochiknot macrame community.

Browse my collection of DIY macrame patterns on Etsy.

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.

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Much love,

 


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