In this post, we teach you how to Create Beautiful Macrame Wall Art and answer All your Macrame related Questions!
Learn everything you need to know to create stunning macrame projects. Go from beginner to confident crafter in a matter of days with our macrame how-to guide, our macrame resource list and our personal macrame advice.
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 macrame tutorial. 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 a beautiful, affordable DIY macrame wall hanging or other 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, 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 to it.
Watch this short YouTube video to glimpse a bit of what this project was like.
First: Practice How to do Macrame
Why should you practice first? 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 macrame rope (or macrame cord, as it is sometimes referred to) and a couple dollars for the wooden dowel.
In addition, you can’t run down to Hobby Lobby or Michael’s and buy the macramé rope or macrame cord. You’re going to have to order it (more on that later). So, if you’re like me and you 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 Macramé Tutorial“ and voila, I started my first mini project. There are lots of beginner macrame projects and tutorials on YouTube.
Macrame Practice Project
Reasons I recommend a small “practice” project:
- It fills the time gap while you wait for your macrame rope.
- This will give you the chance to get familiar with different macrame knots, their names and how to do them.
- By the end of your practice project you’ll either be very happy and totally excited to go bigger, or you’ll 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, and Google. Do some exploring to see what’s out there.
What types of macrame projects can I make? Start small.
- plant holder
- jewelry including choker necklaces or bracelets
- wall hanging
- book mark
- key chain
Bigger projects include:
- table runner
- hammock (save a big project like this for later)
- light fixture
- garland or bunting
- Decide on the project type. Wall hangings and plant holders are the two popular starter projects.
- 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 Macrame Patterns?
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.
What Macrame 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 for Macrame?
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. After a lot of searching here is the link I used.
- To give you an idea, my macrame project required 220 feet of 1/4″ (6 mm) 3 strand cotton rope.
Here is a list of all the materials you will need:
- Cotton macrame cord (rope)
- Wood or metal dowel, or equivalent tree branch or drift wood (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)
- If you don’t want to use tape you could “seal” the ends by melting the ends with a candle flame as an option.
- Rolling rack for clothes (or alternative method for hanging project, see below)
How Much Time Did my Large Macrame Project Take?
- This depends largely on the project that you choose but for mine the actual work took about two and a half hours.
- In total, it took me about three 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?
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.
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 three 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. What’s the 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 I just went back to YouTube and looked up the knot. There are easy to follow short videos on every macramé knot in the book. What did we do before YouTube, right?
For more macrame wall art inspiration, visit My French Twist.
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 doorknob, 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.
All Your Macrame Questions Answered:
Can macrame be washed?
YES. Macrame is very sturdy and does not come apart easily. It can be machine washed at 86 degrees F in a small garment bag. Hang to dry.
Can you use yarn to macrame?
YES. You can use yarn. You should just understand that the size of the macramé knots will only be as big as the yarn or material that you use. The smaller the string, yarn or cord you choose, the smaller the knots will be. If the yarn is too small the knots will not be very visible. Yarn might be a material best suited to a micro-macrame project for use in jewelry making for example, rather than for a larger project like a wall hanging.
Can you macrame with jute?
YES. Jute and hemp used to be very popular with macrame artists but their lack of availability in the market gave rise to using macramé cords out of nylon and satin rayon and other man-made fibers. For beginners, cotton or nylon cords are recommended because they are easier to unravel in the case of a mistake.
How do I choose what type of macrame cord to use for my project?
There are many things to consider when choosing your material. Availability and cost is always something obvious to consider. But, you may also want to consider the strength of the material for your project. If you want to hang a plant, for example, you want to choose a stronger cord like those made out of jute, leather, ribbon, nylon or cotton.
In addition, you should consider the stiffness of the cord. For jewelry you will want to use thinner more flexible cord like embroidery cord which is made of cotton and is very soft and flexible. If making an outdoor project, either an outdoor plant holder or outdoor hammock you may want to choose a polypropylene cord that is durable and long-lasting.
What size cord should I use?
Depending on your project you will want to choose a thickness of 4.0 mm in diameter or more for larger decorations like wall hangings or plant holders. For smaller micro-macrame projects like bracelets and necklaces you should choose cord that is less than 2.0 mm in diameter.
How much cord do I need for macrame?
The cords that you will use for knotting will need to be about five to six times the finished length. The cords that are your “core” cords that are being used for the shape but not actually being knotted may only need to be about twice the finished length. Remember to leave extra cord length for making fringe or other decorative additions at the ends. And, it’s better to have too much rope than too little. You can always trim long pieces at the end.
How do I keep my knots looking uniform?
The best way to make sure that your knots are uniform is to make sure that you keep the tension on your cords even and that each knot lines up straight on all sides, horizontally, vertically and diagonally. Especially when you are just learning you will want to check each knot and make sure that it lines up with the proceeding knot, that the edges are firm and the loops are even. The best way to insure that your project turns out even is to secure your project. For larger projects you will want to hang them from a clothes rack or from a secure hook. Ideally you will hang your project from two points so that the project doesn’t swing back and forth. For smaller projects like jewelry you will want to make a macrame board.
What is a macrame board?
A macrame board is a place where you will secure your project for knotting. This can be made out of many different materials but basically you want to create a firm surface which you can insert pins into. You can use a cork board, a piece of polyurethane or two pieces of cardboard connected together. The board should be about 12 inches square and thick enough to insert a T pin or corsage pin into without sticking out the other side.
Why is macrame making a comeback?
Macrame was very popular back in the 1970’s with the hippie culture, but it has come back into fashion as part of the recent tribal and Boho (Bohemian) design trends in home decor.
Where did macrame originate?
Macrame is thought to come from the Arabic word “migramah” meaning fringe and refers to the 13th-century tradition used by Arabic weavers to create decorate fringes on camels and horses to keep the flies off the animals.
Macrame was most popular in the Victorian era where most homes were adorned with this craft in items such as tablecloths, bedspreads and curtains. In the 17th century Queen Mary even taught macrame to her ladies-in-waiting. Macrame was also a favorite pastime of British and American sailors in the 19th century who made small crafts that they would often sell or trade in port.
Additional Macrame Resources
Free Macrame Patterns – This is a great website for additional macrame information. They have articles for novices, a dictionary of commonly used terms as well as a section for kids. They also offer a variety of free macrame patterns. In their Etsy shop they offer a collection of macrame pattern books, dyed macrame cord and decorative macrame beads and rings.
Modern Macrame – This website has a wealth of information and resources for macrame including a variety of dyed macrame cord as well as helpful DIY Macrame Kits and patterns. For a very simple way to start, they offer a Macrame Wall Hanging Kit for $36 and a Macrame Plant Hanger Kit for $36 that includes everything you need to complete your first simple macrame project. They also have a book “Modern Macrame: 33 Stylish Projects for Your Handmade Home” by Emily Katz which has some beautiful projects you might love.
Ready, Set, Macramé.
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.