How to get started with macrame?
There is so much information out there and so many different knots to learn and cords to buy, it seems to be making beginners feel a bit overwhelmed and nervous to actually start their first macrame project.
Well, let me tell you that not so long ago I was exactly where you are now so I know precisely how you feel. Luckily, I’ve learned a lot about macrame and I feel confident that this post will help you pick the right beginner supplies to successfully start your first macrame project.
Is macrame easy to learn?
Yes, macrame is one of the easiest crafts to learn. Most macrame projects are created with just 5 basic knots, used in different pattern. This means that even when you only know how to do the square knot, you can still create countless different things such as wall hangings, jewelry, home decor, and hanging planters.
One of the bestsellers in my shop is the Bella Plant hanger. It´s a great macrame pattern for beginners because it uses only one knot: the square knot, in different variations!
How to get started with macrame as a beginner?
The best way to start with macrame is by first picking out an easy beginner project you would like to recreate, like a hanging planter or small wall hanging. You can find many beginner-friendly tutorials in my shop that show you exactly how to start with such a project, including what type of cord to buy and what length to cut them.
As a beginner, it can be a bit tricky to figure out and understand how to measure your macrame cords for a project. By simply following a macrame pattern you can easily prevent making any mistakes and stressing out about wasting your gorgeous supplies.
Learning by seeing someone else do it, with the added ability to see photos of each step, is the perfect way to get into the art of macrame and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll get the hang of the basic knots.
What are the basic Macrame knots?
Although this is not an official number, I would say there are about 5 basic knots. As two of them are just an easy variation, it’s actually only 3 knots that you have to master to get started with Macrame.
The basic knots
- Lark’s head knot > A simple knot used to attach your work to a dowel or hoop
- Square knot > A knot that you alternate by starting on the left and right side so it creates a square
- Spiral knot > A half square knot you don’t alternate but repeat on either the left or right side so it spirals
- Half hitch > A knot where you loop one cord over the other
- Double half hitch > A half hitch knot you simply loop twice to get a double one
Before you actually start a project, I recommend using some of your cords for practicing the basic knots. It will take some time before you know where to place your cords and fingers and speed things up. It’s sort of like learning how to play an instrument so patience really is key here.
Once you’ve started a project, make peace with the fact that you’ll be making many mistakes, especially in the beginning. Luckily, the best thing about macrame is that you can simply untie your knot(s) and start over. No one will ever know.
Once you know how to tie and recognize the basic knots, you’ll quickly realize that patterns that looked super complex to you at first, now are a piece of cake to recreate.
What tools do you need to macrame?
Besides macrame cords, you don’t need any specific tools for macrame. There are, however, some things that are good to have like a pair of sharp scissors for cutting cords, measuring tape, and a (pet)brush or comb to create a fluffy fringe.
What should I buy to start macrame?
What you need to buy to start with macrame totally depends on what type of project you want to start working on.
To make a macrame wall hanging, you’ll need to attach your work to a dowel which can be a plain wooden stick from a craft store or taken from your own garden. Other options are driftwood, which you can find for free on the beach.
To make a Macrame plant hanger, you’ll often need a wooden ring to start off your project with, but there are plenty of patterns that don’t require these. Metal and Golden hoops or squares are also very popular in modern macrame
How to build a macrame workstation?
When it comes to setting up your macrame workspace, I wouldn’t worry about it too much when you’re just starting out. I duct-taped dowels, hoops, and rings to tables, doors, and walls and my projects came out looking just fine!
There will, however, come a time that you’re done with taping things to the wall and you would like a bit of comfort while working on bigger macrame pieces.
In that case, I recommend getting yourself a cheap (or more expensive adjustable) clothing rack so you can hang up your work.
For smaller projects, such as macrame jewelry or bags, you can also get a macrame board on which you can easily pin your work.
What is the best cord for macrame?
When you’re a Macrame beginner it’s best to start with 4-5 mm high-quality soft cotton cords or ropes that are specifically designed for macrame.
Not only are thicker cords easier to knot and unravel when you make a mistake but this size is also perfect to create a gorgeous fluffy fringe.
What mm cord size do I need for my macrame project?
When determining the mm cord thickness for your project, the basic rule would be to use thin cords in small projects and thick cords in big projects.
When you use small cords in a big project, keep in mind that you will have to do a lot of knotting and that the knots will be less visible. Thicker cords will show off your knots a lot better, which is what you want in the end.
My recommendation per project type:
- Big wall hanging: 5-10 mm
- Small wall hanging 3-5 mm
- Planter: 4-5 mm
- Grocery bag: 3-5 mm
- Small purse: 2-3 mm
- Jewelry: 1.5-3 mm
- Key chain / Bookmark: 1.5-3 mm
Can I use regular yarn for macrame?
Although you can macrame with regular yarn, when you’re a macrame beginner it’s easier to start your projects with thicker soft-cotton cords.
Especially when you plan on creating a macrame wall hanging, you want to use 4 to 5mm cords that are designed for Macrame. Not only do they make it easier to practice your knots, but your projects will also look way more professional.
Yarn is, however, perfect for low budget macrame hanging planters that don’t require any fancy patterns. You can also use yarn to create tassels or you can incorporate it into your modern Macrame pieces (like the ones with metal hoops) and your Macraweaves.
Where to find free macrame patterns?
You can find free macrame patterns online. Since the information online can be quite overwhelming and is not always of great quality, I have put my favourite links together for you in a separate page: free macrame patterns online