The ultimate guide to macrame: Everything you need to know
Welcome to your ultimate guide to everything macrame. Discover everything you need to know about this chic hobby.
Macrame is an incredibly exciting and trending craft right now! We’ve seen it shoot up in popularity over the last few years, so for you macrame fans (and soon-to-be fans) we’ve put together the ultimate guide to macrame.
If you’ve never tried macrame before, it’s a therapeutic craft to take on, being a wonderfully tactile hobby which can help with mindfulness and mental health. The repetitive nature of knots combined with doing something away from a screen is a welcome distraction for many of us!
In our guide, you’ll find out all about macrame, where it comes from and what sort of projects you can make with it. One of the greatest aspects of macrame is that it can be both beautiful and practical. You can use it for purely decorative purposes like wall hangings and plant hangers, or you can use it for more practical purposes like hanging chairs, camera straps and even cat beds!
Macrame is created by knotting a cord or rope, varying in thickness and colour depending on your project and style. The most popular colour used in macrame is the rustic off-white cord, this is the style most people associate with the craft. The rustic cord gives macrame its handmade, chic appearance, which is why it’s so popular with modern crafters!
What is macrame?
At its very core, macrame is knotting a cord to create hangings, decorative items or clothing. There is no limit to what macrame can be used for. It can be used in a multitude of ways to create endless items. With the knowledge of just a few knot types, you will be able to take on a range of projects.
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Macrame has a long and vibrant history, being ingrained into a variety of cultures all across the world. According to TSCPL, ‘macrame origins can be traced back to 13th-century Arabic decorative weavers who used the knots to secure loose ends of woven textiles, like towels and shawls.’.
How to start making your first knots
The most common macrame knot is the square knot and it makes up the base of most designs. There are hundreds of different macrame knots but by learning the basics, you'll be able to create gorgeous pieces that will stand the test of time. Another common knot is Lark's head knot, a very simple technique which can also be used as the starting point for many macrame projects and is often used in wall hangings.
You can find out how to do these two simple knots, plus a few others in our beginner's guide to macrame. Follow along with our video guide and by the end, you’ll have created a cute wall hanging to be proud of!
Everything you need to get started with macrame
The great thing about macrame is that you don’t need much to start. Stripping it right back; all you need is some macrame cord and your hands.
If you are a beginner, we’d recommend starting with a 3-4mm cord as it is pliable and easy to unknot if you make a mistake. We have a full guide on choosing the right macrame cord for your project and where you can purchase them.
Once you’ve sorted your macrame cord, there are a few other supplies which can make your macrame more enjoyable and comfortable. ‘S’ hooks are so helpful as they allow you to hang your project as you are working on it, sometimes it can be tricky to get the correct tension when your project is lying on a table.
Another is sharp macrame scissors – these are a must-have! They will help you to cut your cord easily, and to trim the tails of your macrame into precise shapes.
We have a few other recommendations that will make your macrame journey easier, you can read about those in our guide to macrame supplies.
Macrame ideas for beginners
How to do macrame
Once you’ve got the essential macrame tools and you’ve learnt a couple of the key knots, it’s time to start thinking about your first project.
The best place to start with macrame is a simple and quick project, as you’ll feel the satisfaction of completing a project without hours and hours of work. A smaller project means that if you go wrong, you can easily unknot your work and go back without losing lots of progress.
It takes the pressure off, and you’ll find it a more rewarding experience. Once you've got a few of our beginner macrame projects under your belt, you can move on to more complex projects that take your fancy.
In our macrame ideas for beginners guide, you’ll find a multitude of beautiful projects which will help you to learn different knots and techniques. We have plenty of free macrame projects here on Gathered too, and if you want something really simple, try the macrame feather tutorial and create a cute keychain.
Rustic macrame wearables for all styles
Wearables and jewellery are popular macrame projects because you can create a rustic piece of jewellery with very few materials. Macrame can be used to create all sorts of necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
Macrame jewellery works especially well for gifts too, you can create friendship bracelets or necklaces, and add charms to make them personalised. Thanks to their modern design and the fact you can use any colour cord they are easy to adapt to suit the recipient's style.
We’ve rounded up our favourite macrame jewellery projects for you, with a mixture of projects from the Gathered pros and a few from our trusted craft friends! All of the projects are free to access and will give you expert guidance.
Macrame for the home
Add modern macrame chic to your decor
Using macrame as part of your decor can transform your home into an on-trend rustic dream. Macrame wall hangings can transform a plain wall into something special, or a macrame plant hanger can add that extra dimension to your home.
If you’re looking for a real challenge, this beautiful macrame hanging chair will certainly be the focus of any room. This gorgeous pattern is available for free from The Sorry Girls, where you can follow along with their amazing video tutorial.
If you want more lovely home macrame tutorials, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in our macrame decor ideas, there's everything from macrame tablecloths to lampshades to make your home shine.
The easy way to get started in macrame
Starting your first macrame project using a kit can take the hassle out of buying individual supplies. If you are a complete beginner, sometimes it’s easier to have all the required kit in one neat little package. Then all you need to focus on is creating!
Most kits contain everything you need to complete a full project, plus instructions (written or video, sometimes both). If you know somebody who is looking to try macrame or to try a new craft, a macrame kit makes a lovely gift.
In our round-up, we’ve selected our favourite macrame kits and where you can get them at the best price. We’ve included a mixture of projects, from simple wall hangings to chic shelves. All of the kits we have listed will be suitable for beginners, thanks to their helpful instructions. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out our macrame knots guide to get you started.
Macrame Christmas decorations
Have a rustic festive season with macrame decor
Do you love DIY Christmas decorations and enjoy a rustic look? Then you will adore these handmade macrame Christmas decorations. Get stuck into a variety of decorations from macrame baubles, stars and even adorable little gnomes (macrame cord makes wonderful beards when fluffed up).
Many of these tutorials can be found right here on Gathered, where we’ll walk you through illustrated step-by-step tutorials to make your macrame creation easy! We’ve also included a few patterns from our favourite crafty friends. You’ll even find a gorgeous macrame wreath in there – a welcome modern take on the traditional wreath if you like a more minimalist style in your home.
Discover beautifully illustrated macrame book
Having a book on macrame, even just the basic macrame knots is so helpful when you want to quickly reference something. It’s a great way to ensure you are getting a screen break whilst you are crafting too. A traditional craft deserves a traditional way of learning!
We’ve rounded up our favourite macrame books which include essential guides, knot tutorials and project-based books. So whichever way you like to learn, we’ve got you covered. All of the books in our list contain beautiful illustrations so you’ll find it a breeze to follow along with them.
If you are looking to simply dip your toe into the waters of macrame, a book is a lovely way to start. You can pick up all the knowledge you need and find out exactly how certain projects come together. They make great coffee table reads, you might even find friends and family becoming curious.
5 macrame tips
Must-know advice for macrame artists
Isabella Strambio is an absolute pro at macrame. You’ve probably seen her name before as she’s provided Gathered with loads of wonderful macrame tutorials. As if her patterns weren't enough, she’s also talked us through her top 5 tips for anyone starting macrame.
In the article, she’ll help you with how to start macrame, find your macrame tribe and even talk about the best macrame workshops (for those wanting to supercharge their skills).
Hashtags for macrame
Get inspired and show off your macrame
We know that once you’ve completed your first project you’ll want to show it off! And where better to do that than Instagram? It’s jam-packed with creatives just like you, and it’s wonderful to share ideas and get that boost of confidence you might need in your work.
That’s why we've put together this list of helpful macrame hashtags that you can add to your posts or explore through Instagram. This can be helpful if you’re looking for some ideas for your next project as you’ll often find projects you like the look of while scrolling through. Even if you’re not a fan of social media, you can find plenty of free macrame patterns here on Gathered.
Macrame: One of our favourite practical crafts
Macrame is one of the most versatile crafts available! It can be used to create both beautiful and practical items for the home and fashion. Starting macrame is easy too, as you only need a few basic knots to create your first project.
Time for your next macrame challenge
So you’ve got the hang of the basics and you’ve got a few projects under your belt? If you’d like your next challenge try this unique garden chair macrame.
Katie Dolan edits our needlework sections, focusing on our embroidery and cross stitch articles, as well as making videos for our arts and crafts projects. Katie runs her jewellery business, Ophelia Jewellery Art, on Etsy, where she sells beautiful resin-pressed flower earrings. She has a wide range of craft interests including embroidery – she particularly loves all things pop culture and a less traditional approach – The Simpsons and Rick & Morty are among her favourites to embroider. She has recently completed a silversmith workshop and hopes to expand her jewellery business with these new skills. When she’s not crafting, she’s usually fuelling her Harry Potter addiction with a Sunday film marathon and a couple of butter beers!
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