How to Macrame?

Macrame is a knotting technique that you can use to create a lot of different items. It’s so versatile that people have been using it since the 13th century!
It was used to create clothing, furniture, jewelry, and usually decorative art. It’s so on-trend now that you’d definitely find some macrame pieces gracing every boho-chic style board. Ever wondered how to macrame? Then this simple guide is for you.

Getting your Material Ready

This part is easy since you’ve probably already got them at your home. You’ll need:
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Rope - usually referred to as cord for macrame projects
You may also need dowel rods, branches, hoops, beads, and rings. These aren’t necessary for every project as it would depend on the pattern or design you’re going for.
To pick the right rope you’ll have to consider some factors: the thickness, flexibility, and stretchiness of the rope.
We want to avoid stretchy ropes as you wouldn’t be able to fully control the placement of the knots. Over time, the look of the final project could become droopy.
As for thickness, it will affect the size of the knots. So it will depend on what your project is. For smaller projects, you should go for thinner rope. For bigger projects consider using a thicker rope.
Flexible ropes would be easier to tie and bend. This will make the execution of the project easier to handle. When you become more proficient you can experiment with harder and more durable ropes for heavier projects.
We recommend three-ply cotton cords for beginners, it’s easy to handle and works for most projects. Other options for materials include hemp rope, leather rope, and polypropylene rope.

Setting up your Workspace

Think about the project you’re starting and how to make the process as easy as possible. Get your cord four times as long as the intended length of the project, and if you’ll be folding it, then double that. You can always cut the extra cord later, but you won’t be able to attach some if you run out.
For small projects, try to attach your cords to a clipboard. For bigger projects lock them in place, either by hanging or using safety pins, to avoid unnecessary movement as you work.

How to Macrame

Now that you’ve got your material and set up your workspace, it’s time to learn the basic knots. Here are the steps for the most frequently used knots.

Lark’s Head Knot

For mounted macrame, this is the knot you’ll be using to attach your cords to your dowel rod. It can also be used to attach to other items such as branches or rings.
  1. Start by folding your rope in the middle. Both sides should be equal in length.
  2. Put your folded rope above the dowel. The loop facing upwards and the cords facing downwards.
  3. Pull on the loop from the back so the loop is facing downwards in the back and the dowel is in between the loop and the cords.
  4. Insert the two cords inside the loop and pull them down to tighten.

Reverse Lark’s Head Knot

This is the same knot in reverse. We use it to keep the bump hidden in the back.

Square Knots

The square knot and its many variations consist of at least four cords. The outer cords are working cords, which are the cords we will use to make the knots. The inner cords are filler cords, which are the cords that the knot is tied around.
To make a square knot we’ll first have to make a half square knot, which can either be left or right facing.

Left Facing Square Knot

  1. Move the left outer cord (i.e. first working cord) to the right above the filler cords and under the right outer cord (i.e. second working cord).
  2. Move the second working cord to the left under the filler cords and above the first working cord.
  3. Keep the filler cords straight and pull both working cords to tighten. Now we’ve made a left half square knot.
  4. Move the cord on the right (the first working cord) to the left above the filler cords and under the second working cord.
  5. Move the cord on the left (the second working cord) to the right under the filler cords and above the first working cord.
  6. Keep the filler cords straight and pull your working cords till you reach the required tightness. This completes the left-facing square knot.

Right Facing Square knot

This is the mirror image of the left-facing square knot. We’ll follow the same steps but replace the left working cord with the right working cord and vice versa.

Spiral Stitch or the Half Knot Spiral

This knot is made by making a sequence of half-square knots all facing the same direction. The series of knots will form a decorative spiral.

Clove Hitch or Double Half Hitch

This knot is used to create lines in your macrame, it can be used to create horizontal, diagonal, or vertical lines. The first cord will be used as a filler cord while the rest of the cords will be used as working cords.

Horizontal Clove Hitch

  1. Start by placing a filler cord on top of the working cords and hold it horizontally.
  2. Take the first working cord and fold it over the filler cord then pull it around it towards the left of the working cord.
  3. Take the same working cord and fold over the filler cord then pull it around it towards the right of the working cord.
  4. Repeat with other working cords until you achieve the horizontal line look.

Diagonal Clove Hitch

This is the same but diagonally.

Overhand Knot

This knot is used to tie multiple cords together. It could also be used to prevent cords from unraveling.
  1. Fold your cords into a loop.
  2. Pull the end of the cords through the loop till tightened.

Gathering Knot or Wrapping Knot

This knot is used to gather cords together at the end of a piece.
  1. Take a separate cord (which will be your working cord) and fold it to form a U-shape.
  2. Twist to form a loop facing downwards and place it above your filler cords.
  3. Take the end of your working cord and wrap it around the filler cords and the top part of the loop you’ve made.
  4. Pass the end of the cord through the bottom part of the loop that is still unwrapped.
  5. Pull the end bit of your working cord tightly to make sure the knot is secure and the loop is wrapped as well.
  6. You may choose to cut or trim loose parts of your working cord.

Conclusion

You’ve figured out what supplies you’ll need and even learned your basic knots. Now you’ll be able to follow any tutorial and recreate patterns. Take your time and practice and you’ll even be able to create your designs. You’re all set on how to macrame.