Do It Yourself Macrame – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

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Learn how to macrame like a pro with my guide to beautiful DIY macrame! In this post you will learn all the basics, plus receive a tutorial to make your own DIY macrame wall hanging.

Have you been wanting to try out macrame but feel like it’s too complicated or think it might be a hard hobby to learn?

Let me be the one to tell you, macrame is actually quite simple and less complicated than it looks!

One thing I love about macrame is how diverse it can be!

There are so many fun things you can make with macrame.

Here are a few examples of what you can make with macrame:

  • Macrame wall hangings
  • Macrame table runner
  • DIY macrame coasters
  • Macrame plant hangers
  • Key chains
  • Jewelry
  • Decorative macrame garland

And so much more; you can even make a beautiful mirror like this!

I’m here to unlock the simplicity of macrame and teach you that you can do it!

My Macrame Experience

I actually had a few difficulties when I started out but it all had to do with what information I had.

You see, I tend to get a little information and then run with it; sometimes it works great, others not as much.

My first macrame project was one where it didn’t go as well…

Here is my first project:

You may think it looks fine but it was not at all what I was going for ๐Ÿ˜†

I had no idea how much cord to use, or what cord to use; all I looked up was how to do the knots!

I ended up feeling pretty frustrated with my first project because the rope I used didn’t look right and I had to make it so small because I ran out of rope!

However, once I decided to try again and learn a bit more about macrame, I went from my first project to this:

do it yourself macrame

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I am so excited to share what I have learned so you can create a beautiful macrame project on your first try!

Macrame truly is beautiful and so simple to do so let’s dive in and I can answer all the questions that I didn’t think about my first try at macrame!

small hanging macrame art on dark grey wall

Is macrame easy to learn?

Yes! When I first learned I was so surprised to realize, macrame is a giant friendship bracelet!

I used to make different kinds of friendship bracelets growing up and many of the knots are the exact same.

Once you know how to do the basic knots, you can follow any tutorial and even get to the point of creating your own patterns!

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How do you start macrame for beginners?

Starting something new can always feel a bit daunting but I am happy to say, macrame is such a simple and easy hobby.

It’s simply patterned knots!

My best advice for beginners starting out is to practice the basic knots to make sure you know how to do them.

Then, follow a tutorial, like the one I will include in this post!

How long does it take to make a macrame project?

I would say this depends a lot on the project.

If you want to make a macrame plant hanger, it only takes about an hour!

However a more intricate DIY macrame wall hanging could take 4+ hours.

Which still isn’t bad at all!

I must admit, I like instant gratification when I am making things and macrame is quite satisfactory for me ๐Ÿ˜†

I love that I can see the progress and even finish a project in one sitting!

What materials do you need for macrame?

Depending on the project you are making, the basic materials and tools needed for macrame include:

Where should I buy materials for macrame?

Your local craft store (mine is Michael’s) should have everything you need, however I have found that Amazon is a great resource for the supplies too!

When I first learned, the YouTube tutorial I watched used clothesline rope but I personally found it too thick and difficult to work with.

Plus, using clothesline, you can’t make the beautiful fringe ends you often see on macrame wall hangings and plant hangers.

Once I discovered this cord on Amazon I was hooked!

You can get a dowel to hold your macrame at a local craft or home improvement store.

However, I love the look of using driftwood or a branch for making wall hanging macrame or wall mounted plant hangers!

It’s great because you can find it right in your backyard.

What cord should I use?

You can use all different kinds of string or rope for macrame.

I have seen people use jute, clothesline, and even yarn!

My favorite cord to use for making macrame plant hangers and wall hangings is this 4mm 3 strand macrame cord.

I love using 3 strand cord because you can make pretty fringe ends by simply pulling the strands apart on the ends.

It is also so soft and easy to work with!

I also enjoy using a 3mm 3 strand cord, but it is a tad smaller.

How much cord do I need for a project?

The general rule of thumb is you want your cord to be 4 times the desired length of your finished project.

If you are folding the cord in half, you’ll want it to be 8 times the length.

In the tutorial I am including in this post, the finished project will be around 30″ so we will be cutting each strand of cord at 20 feet, as we will be folding the cord in half to connect it to the stick.

It seems like a lot, but when you are working with the project, you’ll notice how quickly some of the pieces shrink up!

In total we will use around 188 yards of macrame cord for this project.

5 Basic Macrame Knots to Learn

1. Lark’s Head

First, fold your sting in half, creating a loop.

Next, fold the loop over your stick so that the tails are in the front and the loop is in the back.

Now you will put the to tails through the loop in the back, pulling it tight to secure the cord to the stick.

2. Square Knot

For the square knot, you will start by attaching two stands of cord, side by side, using the lark’s head knot.

For this knot, you will only be using the two outer strands of cord, the two middle stands will work as a base for your work.

First, you will make a “4” with the left strand of cord, going over the two middle base strands, then under the far right strand.

Next, you will take the far right strand, keeping it over the tail of the left strand, go behind the two base strands and through the “4” loop that the left strand created.

Pull tight and repeat these steps, only start with the right strand of cord instead of the left, making a backwards “4”.

Pull tight to create your square knot.

3. Spiral Knot

The spiral knot is very similar to the square knot, however instead of alternating the “4” pattern between the left and the right strands, you continue working with only one of them!

As you go, pull the knots tight, and you will start to see your work spiraling.

4. Double Half-Hitch Knot (DHH)

For the double half-hitch knot, you will need to add a couple more cords to your stick to practice.

These knots are great for creating lines in your work.

First, take the far left strand and hold it diagonally across the others with you right hand.

This will be your holding cord, the others will be your working cords.

Take the next working cord under the holding cord in your left hand, you will then loop it around the holding cord.

Loop the working cord around the holding cord to where the loop is facing down and the the tail of the working cord is up.

Pull it tight up to the top and repeat the same loop around your holding cord.

You should now have two loops around your holding cord, with the tail of your working cord coming out the middle of the loops, from behind the working cord.

Continue the same knot on the following working cord, keeping your diagonal holding cord the same.

Stop once you get to the middle of your cords.

Repeat the same loop knots, but this time, you will be going diagonally to the left, using the far right cord as your holding cord.

Continue these knots until you use all the remaining working cords.

Now, you will create one last DHH knot to join the two sides by using the far right holding cord as your holding cord and the left holding cord as your working chord.

5. Berry Knot

I love this knot!

It’s a very cute, decorative knot that is so simple, which is my favorite part!

First, you will start by doing a three square knots in a row.

Be sure to leave a small space above your first square knot.

Next, take the tails of your knots and loop them through the middle of the space you left above the first square knot.

Pull the cord tails down behind your work, creating a little berry ball with the line of square knots you created.

We will use all of these knots in our tutorial at the end so be sure to practice them a little before we get started!

5 Common Macrame Mistakes to Avoid

1. Cutting Cord Too Short

As I mentioned before, one of my biggest problems was not cutting enough cord for my projects!

I was not able to make the wall hanging I was trying to because my cord ran out!

Make sure your cord is 4x the length or your desired finished project, and if you are folding your cord in half, 8x the length!

2. Not Buying Enough Cord

Again, similar to not cutting your cord long enough, you want to make sure you buy enough!

Not only did I run out of length for my project, I also didn’t have anymore to work with, so I ended up with a really small macrame wall hanging.

To make sure you buy enough, you might have to do some math.

For a wall hanging, I like to measure across the stick I’ll be using, then I account for each cord to take up about 1/2 inch-1inch across the stick.

This should tell you how many strands you need, then you measure out the length that each strand needs to be.

For example, with the project below, I was able to fit 28 strands of cord across my stick.

Because it is folded in half, I needed it to be 8x the desired length which was 30 inches.

Here is an example of how I did the math:

8 x 30 inches = 240 inches for each strand

240 inches / 12 inches = 20 feet for each strand (It’s just easier to know feet instead of inches.)

20 feet per strand x 28 strands = 560 feet of total cord needed.

560 feet / 3 yards = 187 yards of total cord need to make this project!

I go down to yards because often you’ll find macrame cord will be measured in yards.

3. Forgetting To Practice Knots

This one is super important!

If you don’t know how to do these knots and are just starting out, take your stick and a few 3 foot strands of cords and practice until you feel pretty comfortable with the knots!

Then, when you go to do your project, you aren’t trying to figure out how to do the knots, you can just make beautiful macrame!

4. Pulling Your Knots Too Tight Or Not Tight Enough

When doing macrame, you want to make sure you’re pulling your knots tight but sometimes, if you pull them too tight (especially on a double half-hitch knot) it can deform your macrame that is behind it.

I have run into this so many times and am still trying to figure this part out!

My advice for this is to try and keep the same tightness throughout your project and if it starts to curl at all, try to go a little looser.

5. Giving Up

If you first project doesn’t go your way, it can be tempting to just give up.

From when I tried my first unsuccessful project until my large successful project, there was a 2 1/2 year gap.

Once you have all the right info and techniques down, it really is an easy hobby!

So, don’t be like me…. if it doesn’t go your way at first, try again because I know you can do it!

Do It Yourself Macrame Wall Hanging for Beginners

For a printable copy of the materials and instructions, scroll down.

Materials Needed:

Tools Needed:

Time:

3 hours

How to Make a Macrame DIY Wall Hanging

STEP 1: Cut the Cord

First, you will need to measure out and cut all the cord for your project.

This step took me about 30 minutes.

Cut 28 strands or cord measuring 20 feet each.

When I cut mine, I measure one at 20 feet and us it to measure the rest!

You will also need one strand at 3 feet.

STEP 2: Attach Cord To Stick

Next you will attach all your cord to the stick, starting with the three foot piece.

This will be used to hang up your work.

Start by tying a knot on to one end of the stick, about an inch or so away from the end.

To tighten and further secure the cord, pull up on the long end of the cord.

Next, tighten the smaller end by pushing the top loop down and pulling the small end tight.

This ends up creating a nice, tight lark’s head knot!

Do the same thing on the other side with the other end of the cord.

Hang your stick up on the wall using a nail or hook.

Now, using the lark’s head knot, attach the 28 long cords evenly across your stick or dowel.

I like to alternate from side to side to keep the weight evenly distributed as I attach the cords.

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STEP 3: Create Triangle Using Square Knots and DHH

Now we start the macrame process! Are you ready?!

First, using two of the attached cords, four total strand, create a square knot.

Continue making square knots until you get to the end.

I like to work from left to right, but if it’s more comfortable you can go right to left!

Skip over the first two strands of cord.

Splitting the four strands from the first square knot in half and take the first two strands of the second knot.

You should have two strand from each of the above square knot, 4 strands total.

You will now make a square knot below and in between the above square knots.

Do this all the way to the end, leaving the last two stands of cord unused.

Continue decreasing by two on either end until you have one final knot at the bottom, creating a triangle.

Now, we will be doing DHH along the line of the triangle to create nice definition to the triangle

The far left cord will be your holding cord.

DHH until you reach the middle of the triangle

Your last DHH on the left side should use half of the last knot in the triangle; the other half will be used on the right side.

Now, DHH down the right side using the far right cord as your holding cord.

Once you get to the bottom and have used all the remaining working cords, used the right holding cord as your holding cord and the left holding cord as your working cord.

Create on last DHH to finish the triangle.

STEP 4: Spiral Knots

Create a line of spiral knots going down each side on the triangle.

Each spiral knot will have 10 total knots.

On the left side, have them be right spiraling knots by only doing the first part of a square knot, using the “4” method.

For the right side spiral knots, you’ll want them spiraling toward the left.

Do this by only using the backwards “4” knot, like you do on the second part of a square knot.

This will make the spiral go in the other direction.

Now we will close off this part of the triangle using the DHH.

Join the two ends together as you did the top part of the triangle.

STEP 5: Finishing Off With Square Knots and Berry Knots

First we will start off with doing a row a square knots all along the bottom of the DHH from the previous step.

Now, on to creating my favorite little berry knots!

Right in the middle, taking the two inner strands of cord from the two middle square knots, create a berry knot.

In the same way, using the next four, both to the right and left, make two more berry knots.

You should now have three berry knots in the middle of the triangle.

Close in the berry knots by making taking two strands from the middle berry and two from the left berry to create a square knot.

Repeat on the right side, using the other two strands from the middle berry and two from the right berry.

Using those new square knot tails, make another square knot in the middle; this will continue the triangle shape of our macrame wall hanging.

Next, create the alternating square knot pattern we used for the top triangle, leaving the two unused cords at both the left and right ends.

Last, you will finish off the project by closing in this section with DHH on either side.

Be sure that the first knot is below the last row of square knots.

All that is left it to cut the tails to your desired length and hang your DIY macrame wall hanging!

There you have it!

Once you know the knots, it really is so simple for such a lovely hobby!

I love the look of a light macrame against a dark statement wall too, it just pops and looks beautiful!

Do It Yourself Macrame Plant Hanger Ideas

DIY Macrame plant holders are very trendy right now – and they’re a great option for your first try at making a macrame project.

In an effort to help you find one that fits your style AND learning style, I’ve rounded up a few tutorials for you to check out.

Be sure to grab some cord so you can get started!

Blog Post Tutorials:

Video Tutorials:

Summary

After all this, what do you think? Are you ready to get started?

I feel confident that with all this information, you can make beautiful macrame projects from the get go!

I hope you enjoyed this guide to DIY macrame and happy knotting!

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