So…..you want to learn how to macrame! Or maybe you’re still asking yourself, “Is there any way I could learn to do this?” How hard is it, REALLY!?
I am here to take ALL of the mystery out of this fun retro crafting trend called Macrame! I want to make one thing clear before we even start. YOU CAN DO THIS! I know you may still have your doubts. But that’s why I’m here, and that’s why I’m writing this blog post. I am going to answer all your questions and hopefully take away any lingering hesitations. By the time we’re done you’ll a) have beautiful, affordable macrame decor for your home and b) be able to add macrame to your list of skills.
Just like anything in life there are an endless number of ways to go about learning a new skill or craft. I am not going to claim to be an expert on macrame. Actually, quite the contrary. I am a total newbie! From one newbie to another I am simply going to take you through my personal journey to show you one way to do it. I’m going to provide all the resources you need to find your own way to embrace the fun art of macrame. The cool part is that you do not need to be an expert to create absolutely beautiful decor pieces for you home! Honestly, it looks much tougher than it is. So let’s get this party started!
Watch this short YouTube video to glimpse a bit of what this project was like.
Why should you practice first? Ok, so here’s the deal. Like most anything this project is going to cost you a little bit. How much? Well, my first ‘real’ project cost me about $30 for the rope and a couple dollars for the wooden dowel.
In addition, you can’t run down to Hobby Lobby or Michael’s and buy the rope. You’re going to have to order it (more on that later). So if you’re like me and like to start a project the day you finally say to yourself “I want to start this” my suggestion is to start like I did with a practice project.
I ran down to Hobby Lobby and picked up some cotton string and a small wooden dowel.
I searched on YouTube for “Easy Macrame Tutorial” and voila, I started my first mini project. There are lots of beginner macrame projects and tutorials on YouTube. The one I used was called: DIY Macrame Tutorial: How to Craft a Wall Hanging for Beginners.
Summary of Reasons I recommend a small “practice” project:
- It fills the time gap while you wait for your rope.
- By the end of your practice project you’ll either be super excited and totally impatient to go bigger or realize this just isn’t for you.
- Completing this practice project will give you the confidence to invest your time and money to take the next step to your first “real” macrame project.
Next: What macrame project should I make?
Decide what project you want to make. Look through photos of macrame online. You can search Etsy, Pinterest, Google. Do some exploring to see what’s out there.
- Decide on the project type. Wall-hanging or plant-holder are the two main categories.
- Where is it going to go? This will help determine what size you’re looking to create.
- Find a style that appeals to you. More free-form and organic or symmetric with clean lines and easily defined patterns?
Where do I find a pattern?
Once you have decided what type of project and which style appeals to you you’re ready to look for a pattern. I found my pattern on Etsy for under $5.
You do NOT have to buy a pattern. There are a gazillion YouTube videos that will walk you through making all sorts of projects that you might totally love! Three main reasons I opted to buy a pattern are:
- I was looking through Etsy to get ideas for what kind of project I wanted to make and realized at that point that buying patterns was an option. I fell in love with a project that was exactly what I was imaging.
- Patterns are a very affordable option ($5-$10)
- I liked the idea of not having to work side by side with a video, stopping and starting it constantly. Being away from my computer sounded more relaxing to me. Call me crazy!
What pattern did I use?
I’ve had people ask me for my specific pattern. If you want to narrow down your search and have already fallen in love with this pattern it is called “Four of Diamonds” from Reform Fibers. You can find her patterns on Etsy.
What materials do I need ?
Once you have your project/pattern you will know how much rope to buy. I knew I wanted to use natural cotton cord, but you can let your own taste and style guide you as you choose your color & material. They sell rope (or cord) on Etsy. However, it wasn’t available in the amount or price I wanted so I followed advice from the fiber artist whose pattern I used and bought my rope at knotandrope.com.
- To give you an idea, my macrame project required 220 feet of 1/4″ 3 strand cotton rope.
Here is a list of all the materials you will need:
- Cotton cord (rope)
- Wood or metal dowel, or equivalent tree branch (for a more organic natural look), if you’re doing wall art
- Hanging ring if creating a plant hanger
- Tape measure
- Tape (I used painters tape which was easy to remove, but masking tape would also be fine)
- Rolling rack for clothes (or alternative method for hanging project)
How long did my large macrame project take?
- The actual work took about 2 hours.
- In total, it took me about 3 hours because I was reviewing the knots by watching YouTube videos.
Can I do this?
YES!! I’m here to tell you that you CAN!
Here’s a little behind-the-scenes confessional of my experience:
How many times does it take to learn a macrame knot?
Hmmm. On my practice project I lost track of how many times I had to rewind the video to the beginning and start over. And yes, I did have moments when I wondered if this was really for me. So it’s totally normal to have momentary doubts along your learning curve. Don’t let this stop you. You may not “get” the knot until your 10th time. But you WILL get it! Just keep plugging away…your ah-ha moment is just around the corner.
Confession No. 1:
On my first project I never really got the “diagonal clove hitch knot.” No matter what I tried it never looked like the video. I ripped out the entire row several times and started over about 3 times. I finally decided to “let it go.”
My hypothesis was that the small string I was working with didn’t lend itself well to this stitch. It just wasn’t going to look the same. And guess what? I was right! As soon as I started working with the larger rope the diagonal clove hitch knot looked EXACTLY like the picture. Lesson here? Don’t give up, My Friends!
Confession No. 2:
The first time I took a look through the pattern it looked like I was reading a page of Chinese. No need to panic. Remember what I said? YOU CAN DO THIS! Do what I did. Take it one step at a time. That is how you will make it through this. It’s not hard if you take it step by step and keep track of which step you are on. My one mistake I made (I had to rip out an entire row) I made because I got a little too relaxed and didn’t pay enough attention to the step by step process.
Tip: To keep track of where you are in the steps I recommend using a highlighter and marking off the steps as you complete them.
Confession No. 3:
Don’t worry if you completely forget all the knots you thought you already learned in your practice project! You can do what I did. Every time I started on a new knot just go back to YouTube and look up the knot. There are easy to follow short videos on every macrame knot in the book. What did we do before YouTube, right?
Options for hanging your macrame project while you work
Under supplies I listed “rolling clothing rack.” This is what I used and what was recommended but it is expensive and not necessary if you don’t already own one. You can work with your dowel or ring hung from anywhere that is convenient. You can hang it from a door knob, a drawer knob, or anywhere you can find to secure your piece. Other ideas are to use a suction cup hook or an over-the-door wreath hanger. You can even take down a piece of art hanging on your wall (temporarily) and hang your piece from the nail!
Ready, Set, Macrame!
I hope you’re as excited as I am! I absolutely loved this project, and I seriously can’t wait to start another macrame project. Whether you’re a veteran crafter with tons of other skills under your belt or a novice like me the art of macrame is definitely attainable. If I can do this, you can too. The challenge is exciting, and once you get going it’s relaxing and very enjoyable. I loved every bit of it, and I bet you will too.
Interested in our other crafting projects? We have plenty to explore on the blog, including two great posts all about arm knitting:
And other unique craft projects…We hope you ENJOY!